Farrell Blanks Previously Unbeaten Saegertown, 31-0Written by: William Albright on Saturday, November 15th, 2008
By BILL ALBRIGHT
Western PA Writer
MEADVILLE — The only thing certain when Farrell and Saegertown squared off in Friday’s District 10-A semifinal was that one of the team’s winning streak was going to end.
After the Steelers opened the 2008 campaign with a pair of losses, they strung together nine straight wins, while Saegertown was a perfect 10-0 entering the game.
Obviously not awed the impressive numbers of their opponent, the Steelers shook off a sluggish start as they rolled to a 31-0 win over the previously unbeaten Panthers.
With the win, Farrell (10-2) will meet Linesville (10-2) in the District 10 Class A title game next weekend. Linesville defeated Mercer 35-7 in the other semifinal game.
Through the first 10 games, the Saegertown trio of Keenan Ellison, Ian Price and James Chest had combined to rush for 3,277 yards while scoring 44 touchdowns.
However, so dominant was the Steeler defense that it held the trio of running backs to a collective 77 yards on 32 tries.
“Our defense stood tall once again tonight and I can’t say enough about our kids,” said a happy Farrell coach Jarrett Samuels. “Tonight was the first game where everyone was on the field, I was hoping this would happen and we got a great result tonight.”
The first 18 minutes of the game was dominated by defense with a comedy of errors at times thrown in before Farrell took over on its own 45 following a Panther punt.
Four plays later, Farrell quarterback Dan Odem called his own number as he ripped into the end zone from six yards out for the score. Ramone West’s PAT made it 7-0 Steelers at halftime.
“The start of this game was a nightmare,” Samuels said. “But again, our defense kept us in it, our guys made plays when they needed to and once we got up, it was full throttle.”
Holding the slim 7-0 lead, the Steelers exploded for three touchdowns in the third period for a 25-0 lead, and they never looked back.
“I knew our guys were ready because last night during film study, the guys told me to turn the film off they were ready to practice,” said Samuels. “I knew they were ready and I can’t say enough about their effort tonight.”
When asked what he said to his players at halftime, Samuels said, “There was not a lot of nice things said at halftime. I told the kids that they had to stay focused, I was excited, the coaches were excited and they had to calm me down at halftime. But the kids responded well, they came out and played hard and you can see what the result was.”
There were a lot of players who played major roles in the win as five different Steelers scored touchdowns, a group that included Dan Odem, Dion Eilam, Lamont Hailstock, Terrell Jackson and Malcolm Hailstock.
The workhorse on offense for Farrell was running back Terrell Jackson who carried the ball 16 times for 144 yards and one score, Lamont Hailstock chipping in with 52 yards on just six tries.
Odem completed four of 8 attempts for 114 yards including a 52-yard TD connection with Eilam. Eilam hauled in a pair of Odem tosses for 59 yards, while Norman Blue also caught a pair of Odem passes for another 55 yards.
“When we have a chance to take advantage of something we have, we have to keep climbing the mountain,” said Odem. “That is the main thing we stress in practice is climbing the mountain. As for the running backs, I have a lot of trust in them and they work hard every day. They stay after practice, running hills with full equipment on and they are the last ones to leave the field.”
Affectionally known as the ‘hogs’, Odem knows he and the other couldn’t do their job without the help of the offensive linemen.
“That (the line) is the whole heart and soul of our football program,” added Odem. “Every week, they put us on their backs and carry us to wherever we need to be. Without them, we are nothing.”
In addition to his offensive efforts, Odem also had a 52-yard punt return for an apparent touchdown called back due to a questionable flag at the 10-yard line.
“I didn’t expect that to happen,” Odem said. “I was just running as fast as I could and when I turned around, I saw the flag.”
Although the Steelers defeated Linesville 27-0 in the regular season meeting, Samuels knows it is going to be more difficult the second time around.
“Their (Linesville’s) passing game is much improved since we played them the first time,” noted Samuels. “They improved big-time and they are going to be a tough opponent for us. They are quick, but if our guys play the way they know how, we will get the job done again.”
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