By Ed Farrell
Herald Assistant Sports Editor
MERCER COUNTY AREA —
NEW WILMINGTON — Lakeview may have a long way to go to equal Sharpsville’s success in the sport of football, but the Sailors jump-started the process Friday night.
With Blake Reddick roaring into the record book, the Sailors shut out Sharpsville, 27-0, in the District 10 Class A championship game at Greyhounds Stadium.
While Sharpsville’s program has the pedigree — 8 championships and 14 title tilt appearances, plus the 1997 PIAA plateau — Lakeview launched its 1st crown since the district football playoffs’ 1985 inception.
“We’ve been there, and I remember our first one. ... They should be proud and enjoy the moment and enjoy next week. It’s what it’s all about,” gracious Sharpsville skipper Paul Piccirilli said regarding the Sailors.
“The first year I took over ... I think they had only about eighteen kids on the team,” recalled Lakeview Head Coach Dan York. “It took quite a bit of time before we started getting players out. Then you get a couple dedicated (classes) back-to-back, who’ll put the time in in the weight room in the offseason, and here’s what you have.
“But you don’t win these without good players,” the Sailors’ skipper emphasized.
Reddick rushed for a game-high 143 yards on 22 carries, including 25-, 24- and 15-yard scoring sprints. Unofficially, he is the reigning single-season and career rusher in Mercer County and District 10 annals with 2,738 and 6,312 yards, eclipsing Mercyhurst Prep’s Aaron Horton (2,444) and Sharon’s T.J. Phillips (6,241), respectively.
“It feels great, but it feels better winning District 10,” Reddick responded. “We had a lot cut out for us, but we knew at the beginning of the year we had something special, and we came through.”
A 2nd-stanza scoreless stalemate was shattered with 3:31 remaining to intermission when Reddick romped through the middle on a 4th-and-2 trap from Sharpsville’s 25. After Zach VanDusen drilled the first of his trio of PATs, Lakeview led 7-0 at intermission.
Sharpsville (8-5) self-destructed during the 2nd half, as a pair of fumbles allowed Lakeview to build a 20-0 bulge through 3 quarters.
Recoveries by VanDusen and Sam Breese set up Sailors’ scores of 24 and 15 yards courtesy of Reddick, who did not gain an inch on his evening’s initial trio of totes.
“It was a slow-starting game, both defenses were playing well; we just found some holes,” Reddick replied, citing his offensive line of center Austin Hostetler, guards George Hooker and Breese, tackles Marcus Bowser, Hunter Armstrong and Stan Mellott, and tight end Jarrett Troy, as well as blocking back Marquis Spence.
“They do everything,” Reddick praised.
Spence scored from 4 yards out in the 4th frame, culminating a 13-play, 76-yard, 8-minute, 39-second Sailors’ series.
“It’s the whole team. It’s not just Blake, it’s the guys up front, too. Everybody works real hard,” York said. “But Blake has dedicated himself to the weight room since he was in the eighth-grade.”
York admitted to some surprise schools have not yet begun recruiting Reddick to continue his career at the collegiate level. However the Sailors’ skipper said with a sly smile,
“Let’s wait and see. ... All I know is, he’s a heckava high school player.”
Lakeview (12-1) will meet the District 9 champion Clarion (13-0) in the PIAA quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Slippery Rock University.
A proud Piccirilli pronounced, “Even at full strength, it would’ve been tough beating (the Sailors). But we are very happy with the way our season turned out. Unfortunately, it’s not the way we wanted it to end. but we couldn’t be more pleased, really.
“I’m gonna tell you one thing,” Piccirilli continued. “All nine (seniors), what a heckava year. They gave everything they had. They won two titles (2011-12) and now they were runner-up. They will be very well missed. Before I choke up ... I just love ’em all, and I wish them well.”
Notes: Reddick, on a tip by Clayton Miller, and Miller himself recorded interceptions. Spence and Austin Rice recovered fumbles, also. ... Smith secured a sack for Sharpsville; Breese and Matt Sterling shared a Sailors’ sack. ... Piccirilli (162-55, 18 years) indicated he and his staff would be returning in 2014. ... Lakeview lost the 1986 Division II District 10 championship game to Reynolds (41-6) in the program’s only other appearance.
CLASS A CHAMPIONSHIP
LAKEVIEW 0 7 13 7 27
SHARPSVLE 0 0 0 0 0
L — Reddick, 25 run (VanDusen kick)
L — Reddick, 24 run (VanDusen kick)
L — Reddick, 15 run (kick failed)
L — Spence, 4 run (VanDusen kick)
10 First downs 7
168 Rushing yards 39
48 Passing yards 50
8-3-0 Att-comp-int 9-2-2
216 Total yards 89
1-0 Fumbles-lost 4-4
4-25 Penalties-yards lost 3-23
Rushing: LAKEVIEW — Reddick 22-143, Spence 12-29, Bigley 6-(-4); SHARPSVILLE — Popatak 12-47, Keck 13-16, Peavy 2-7, Eckles 1-2, L.Henwood 2-(-9), Team 1-(-24).
Passing: LAKEVIEW — Bigley 8-3-0, 48; SHARPSVILLE — L.Henwood 9-2-2, 50.
Receiving: LAKEVIEW — B.Rice 1-27, Spence 1-13, Reddick 1-8 ; SHARPSVILLE — Popatak 1-27, Eckles 1-23.