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Lake County Sentinel
Blue Devils comeback falls short in 31-23 loss to Southeast 

Friday night was week one of the 2023 high school football season. The Wickliffe Blue Devils, coming off a couple tough seasons welcomed the Southeast Pirates to Wickliffe Memorial Stadium on the Campus of Wickliffe. Friday night the Pirates prevailed 31-23, but there were many encouraging things that happened for the Blue Devils.

The Pirates got on the board on the first drive of the game when junior running back Antonio Mejia led them on a 13 play 75-yard drive capped off by a five-yard touchdown pass from Mejia to senior Case Myers with 5:30 left on the first quarter clock. Senior Kicker Gavin Bertka converted the extra point giving Southeast a 7-0 lead.

After Southeast stalled on their second drive and Wickliffe’s offense could not get going on their first two drive the Pirates got the ball back and with 5:40 left on the second quarter clock Mejia scampered 46 yards and Bertka converted the extra point to give Southeast a 14-0 lead.

As the second quarter clock ran out the Wickliffe offense continued to sputter totaling only 59 yards in the first half.

The Pirates increased their lead to 17-0 with 8:40 left in the third quarter when Bertka hit a 27-yard field goal (do I hear the Browns calling?).

After the Blue Devils turned the ball over at their own 26 Southeast took advantage and five plays later Mejia hit Myers from one yard to give the Pirates a commanding 24-0 lead after Bertka converted the extra point with 5:56 left in the third quarter.

Wickliffe began their comeback. With just :29 left on the third quarter clock Blue Devils sophomore Jimmie Feaster took the ball to pay dirt cutting the Pirates lead to 24-8 after he also ran the ball in on the 2-point conversion.

The momentum Wickliffe had gotten quickly disappeared as on the first play of the 4th quarter Southeast Mejia took the ball 61 yards for a touchdown to extend the Pirates lead to 31-8.

The Blue Devils continued to fight back and just 3:48 later Feaster scored his second touchdown and his second 2-point conversion pulling the Blue Devils to with 15 points at 31-16 with 7:59 left on the game clock.

After two failed Southeast drives and a drive where Wickliffe turned the ball over the Blue Devils regained possession and with :14 left on the game clock Blue Devils senior EJ Mester hit sophomore Frankie Bucar in the corner of the endzone and senior Eliza Wills converted the extra point to pull the Blue Devils to within eight points at 31-23. Game over, right? Not so fast.

The Blue Devils executed a perfect onside kick and recovered the ball at the Southeast 49-yard line with :11 on the clock. After a bad snap on first down and an incomplete pass there was 8 seconds left on the clock. On second down another incomplete pass intended for Bucar that sailed out of his reach. With :03 left in the game Mester hit senior Noah Dohm, a two-way starter with a pass. Dohm bulled his way for 24 yards but was taken down at the Southeast 27 as time ran out and the Wickliff comeback fell short.

The Blue Devils were led by Feaster who ran the ball 15 times for 98 yards and two TD’s. Mejia led the Pirates with 26 rushes for 149 yards and also ran for two TD’s.

Next week the Blue Devils will try and pickup their first victory when they host the St. John Heralds on Friday at 7 pm.
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com follow Tim on Twitter @TBBucsTim or follow us on Twitter @LCSentinelcom 
​POSTED 08/19/2023 01:02