Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Sports

Clay-Battelle falls to Belpre (Oh.) 31-13

BLACKSVILLE – It has been so long since the Belpre football team won a game that as the closing minutes of Friday’s game against Clay-Battelle faded from the scoreboard, the Golden Eagles weren’t quite sure what was going on.

Even after CB quarterback JC Spears took one final kneel to end the game, the Belpre team was looking around unsure of what to do next.

Belpre, an Ohio school, ended a 22-game losing streak with a 31-13 win over the Cee-Bees. It was the first win for the Golden Eagles since a 31-0 with over South Gallia on Sept. 24, 2021.

“I told the team at the beginning of the season it was going to be interesting to watch them win because they have never done it before,” first-year Belpre head coach Kevin Welsh said. “Hopefully this can be a building block heading into next year. I think our younger kids now are gonna start believing that what we do works and just keep working hard.”

Belpre (1-9) started the game strong as it scored on its first possession of the game. It took just six plays – the first two of which were fumbled snaps — before quarterback Luke Davis scored on a 24-yard run for a 6-0 lead.

The Cee-Bees (2-6) were able to tie the score at 6-6 as they took their first possession and went 76 yards on 16 plays and finished when Maverick Gum scored from three yards out.

Long scoring drives were a common theme on the night for Clay-Battelle as both of its scores came on long, time-consuming drives.

However, the Cee Bees struggled to find explosive offensive plays with their longest plays of the night covering just 12 yards.

“We were trying to do whatever we were having success with,” CB coach Ryan Wilson said. “We have had some success this year running and throwing the ball, but we just couldn’t get anything going for long gains.”

Belpre grabbed a 12-6 halftime lead with 1:25 remaining in the second quarter when Davis connected with Blake Church for a 23-yard scoring strike.

But the Cee-Bees answered right back out of the locker room as they once again put together a long scoring drive. This one went 65 yards over 16 plays and took all but two minutes off the third quarter clock.

Gum once again found paydirt as he scored from two yards out and Kooper Statler added the extra point for a 13-12 Clay-Battelle lead with 1:56 left in the third quarter.

“We were really controlling things on that drive,” Wilson said. “Unfortunately, it was just a few plays later and we were down again.”

Wilson hit the nail on the head as Belpre needed just four plays to grab the lead, 18-13, back. Aedan Mullens scored on a two-yard run to give the Golden Eagles the lead for good.

Belpre turned to a couple of unconventional running backs wearing No. 50 and No. 60 to salt the game away.

“Injuries made two of our better running backs into guards,” Welsh said. “We knew we weren’t going to throw the ball after getting the lead, so when we get the opportunity to put them in the backfield, we try to do that.”

No. 50 Willis Starcher finished with 59 yards on six carries with a touchdown while No. 60 Keegan Strode added 55 yards including the final 30-yard touchdown run.

Clay-Battelle returns to action next Friday when it hosts Paden City at 7 p.m.


Belpre (Oh) 31, Clay-Battelle 13
              1            2            3            4            F
BHS       6            6            0            19          31
CB          6            0            7            0            13

First Quarter
B – Luke Davis 7 run (kick fail)
CB – Maverick Gum 3 run (kick fail)
Second Quarter
B – Blake Church 23 pass from Davis (run fail)
Third Quarter
CB – Gum 2 run (Kooper Statler kick)
Fourth Quarter
B – Aedan Mullens 2 run (kick fail)
B – Wilis Starcher 6 run (run fail)
B – Keegan Strode 30 run (Jayden McFadden kick)

RUSHING: BHS – Davis 14-74, Landon VanFosson 7-30, Brody Hilland 1-3, Starcher 6-59, Strode 3-55. CB – Zachary Hall 14-51, Maddox Shriver 3-16, Gum 11-29, JC Spears 1-(-1).
PASSING: BHS – Davis 1-4-0 23. CB – Spears 12-25-0 72, Hall 0-2-0.
RECEIVING: BHS – Church 1-23. CB – Hall 6-32, Gum 2-18, Josiah Morgan 4-20, Shriver 1-2.