BAKER, W.Va. — Class A defending state champion and No. 5 St. Marys muscled out a 27-21 win over No. 1 and previously unbeaten East Hardy on Friday night for a return trip to the Super Six.
It was a rematch of last year’s Class A state championship game.
“It was just an unbelievable game,” said St. Marys coach Jodi Mote. “It’s a whole team effort from our kids and from our staff.
“It’s our whole staff working together for our young guys and for our young guys buying in,” he continued. “I’m just thankful for that and thank God to have the opportunity. Our fans were great over here and it was a great night to be a Blue Devil.”
Running back Jaiden Smith led the Blue Devils with three touchdowns on the night, while Dylan Gray also added a score in the win for St. Marys (11-1).
East Hardy led 13-7 at the half as the two teams traded the lead throughout. A 12-yard run from Blue Devils running back Jaiden Smith early in the fourth quarter tied the game up at 21-21.
A 17-yard run from Smith with just 1:25 remaining put the Blue Devils in front 27-21.
The Cougars (12-1) drove to midfield on their ensuing possession, but failed to convert on a 4th-and-10 with under 30 seconds remaining.
“Our defense stepped up tonight at the end,” Mote said. “That’s a credit to our coaches who work with these guys – I truly believe that. It’s a credit to our kids and the toughness that they have, being able to hold on and allow us to win.”
It’s the third trip in four years to the Super Six for St. Marys, looking for its second straight title.
“East Hardy hasn’t been beaten over here since 2014 – Wheeling Central has tried twice and Williamstown has tried twice,” Mote said. “Our kids just fought and that in itself was more than just getting back to the Island. I was wanting to do something that hadn’t been done since 2014 and our kids did that tonight.”
The Blue Devils will face either Wheeling Central or Summers County in the title game on Saturday, December 2 at 7 p.m. from Wheeling Island Stadium.
“It’s a true blessing just to be able to go back to the championship game,” Mote said. “We’re thrilled to do that and Pleasants Count will be up there supporting these young guys. We’re looking forward to it.”
MetroNews will have a full HD video broadcast, streaming live at the MetroNews Channel of WVMetroNews.com for all three Super Six title games.
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