Saints keeping playoff hopes alive


By John Bombatch - jbombatch@aimmediamidwest.com



Everett Harding Jr. of the Ohio Valley Saints tries to spin out of the grasp of Jordan Masterson of the West Virginia Storm, during Saturday’s Premier Amateur Football League game at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia.

Everett Harding Jr. of the Ohio Valley Saints tries to spin out of the grasp of Jordan Masterson of the West Virginia Storm, during Saturday’s Premier Amateur Football League game at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia.


John Bombatch | Greene County News

Chris Martin (21) of the Ohio Valley Saints takes a handoff from quarterback Chris Blair, during a Premier Amateur Football League final regular season game July 27 in Xenia.


John Bombatch | Greene County News

Ohio Valley Saints defensive back Benji Anderson (19) goes up to snare an interception against the undefeated West Virginia Storm, July 27 at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia.


John Bombatch | Greene County News

West Virginia’s Joe Lawson makes an over-the-shoulder catch for a second-half touchdown in the Storm’s 34-14 win July 27 over the Ohio Valley Saints, in Xenia.


John Bombatch | Greene County News

XENIA — The much improved Ohio Valley Saints needed to pull off a big upset July 27 over the undefeated West Virginia Storm, and couldn’t. Now the team will have to patiently wait and see whether their 3-5 league record will qualify the second-year franchise into the Premier Amateur Football League’s Tier Two playoffs.

The two teams were all even at 6-all early on, but the Storm appeared to wear down their hosts for an eventual 34-14 win.

Storm coach Billy Cole addressed the Saints players at midfield after Saturday’s game, saying that the team was much improved. Last season, Ohio Valley won just one game in five tries.

Saints team owner and interior lineman Jordan Blair said greater discipline throughout the team and a good dose of determination led to a better outcome in the franchise’s second year.

“We didn’t put up with a lot of stuff like we did last year,” Blair said. “We had a different vision this year and we stuck to it.”

Chris Blair got off a short pass down the middle of the field to Everett Harding Jr. for the Saints’ first score of the day. The extra point conversion failed, but the score was 6-6 with 1:42 yet to play in the opening quarter.

West Virginia (9-0) reeled off 28 unanswered points to lead 34-6 after three quarters of play, however.

Ohio Valley’s Tyler Schenck snared an interception from about 16 yards out and returned the pick for a score with 1:53 left in the contest. Micheal Leavers then completed a two-point conversion pass to Wyatt Garabrandt for the final 34-14 outcome.

The PAFL customarily has a final week in its schedule for teams to get in any postponed contests from the season. As a result, Blair and the rest of the Saints won’t get the official word on whether the team will qualify for the Tier Two playoffs until the end of this week.

With the possibility of one division team folding, and another team potentially being disqualified from the postseason due to an off-the-field incident, there’s still an outside chance for the Saints to get into the playoffs.

“There are a lot of scenarios that are out there, so we’re not all too sure of whether we’re in or not. There are some makeup games that need to be played on Saturday, and we’ll know by then,” Blair said. “This is our last game here at Doug Adams Stadium though for this season, I know that.

“We may have finished at 3-5, but we never quit and we always kept fighting. We had a good year. … I’d go to war with these guys any day,” he said.

Everett Harding Jr. of the Ohio Valley Saints tries to spin out of the grasp of Jordan Masterson of the West Virginia Storm, during Saturday’s Premier Amateur Football League game at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/07/web1_Harding2WVA40_PS.jpgEverett Harding Jr. of the Ohio Valley Saints tries to spin out of the grasp of Jordan Masterson of the West Virginia Storm, during Saturday’s Premier Amateur Football League game at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia. John Bombatch | Greene County News

Chris Martin (21) of the Ohio Valley Saints takes a handoff from quarterback Chris Blair, during a Premier Amateur Football League final regular season game July 27 in Xenia.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/07/web1_O2144_PS.jpgChris Martin (21) of the Ohio Valley Saints takes a handoff from quarterback Chris Blair, during a Premier Amateur Football League final regular season game July 27 in Xenia. John Bombatch | Greene County News

Ohio Valley Saints defensive back Benji Anderson (19) goes up to snare an interception against the undefeated West Virginia Storm, July 27 at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/07/web1_19Pick_PS.jpgOhio Valley Saints defensive back Benji Anderson (19) goes up to snare an interception against the undefeated West Virginia Storm, July 27 at Doug Adams Stadium in Xenia. John Bombatch | Greene County News

West Virginia’s Joe Lawson makes an over-the-shoulder catch for a second-half touchdown in the Storm’s 34-14 win July 27 over the Ohio Valley Saints, in Xenia.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/07/web1_WVA27_PS.jpgWest Virginia’s Joe Lawson makes an over-the-shoulder catch for a second-half touchdown in the Storm’s 34-14 win July 27 over the Ohio Valley Saints, in Xenia. John Bombatch | Greene County News

By John Bombatch

jbombatch@aimmediamidwest.com

Host Ohio Valley falls to undefeated West Virginia, 34-14

Host Ohio Valley falls to undefeated West Virginia, 34-14