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Simmerman, Musgrave lead Irish

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Just in case his players forgot, Notre Dame coach Sam Alvaro had a short, simple message scribbled on the chalkboard of the Irish's locker room wall -- 34-7 -- the score of last year's loss to South Harrison.

After Friday night, that memory will likely seem long gone.

The Class A No. 12 Irish rolled up 453 yards of total offense to defeat the Hawks, 32-8, at Hite Field. The victory improved Notre Dame to 7-1 and gave the Irish their first victory over a Harrison County opponent since 1986.

"I think more than just ending that streak we just wanted to beat them," said Irish receiver Jon Thomas, who accounted for three touchdowns. "They put it on us pretty good last year. They come at you and they hit hard, but we just wanted to beat them."

Thomas caught a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Tyler Musgrave, who accounted for 240 yards of total offense. Tailback Trey Simmerman rushed for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 carries.

"They've got a nice team," South Harrison coach Brad Jett said. "We had a couple of turnovers and didn't do a real good job of containing (Musgrave), but the one thing I'll say is that our kids didn't quit."

The Irish speed was too much for the Hawks to match.

Simmerman got the ball on the first play of Notre Dame's second possession and went 51 yards for a touchdown and 7-0 lead after his successful PAT kick.

Notre Dame put the game out of reach with a 25-point second quarter. Musgrave threw a pair of touchdown passes of 14 and 35 yards to Thomas, who also added a 35-yard interception return for a score.

Musgrave then set up the final Irish touchdown with a 47-yard scramble to the Hawks 6. On the next play, Simmerman scored to give Notre Dame a 32-0 lead with 46 seconds left in the first half.

"Tyler's just an incredible athlete," Notre Dame coach Sam Alvaro said. "He's most dangerous when we can roll him out like that. He's got that option. I've told him if it's there, tuck it and go. He's probably the fastest guy we've got on our team."

Musgrave was 5 of 11 for 145 yards and carried five times for 95 yards. Junior Josh Johnson, Notre Dame's leading receiver, caught two passes for 83 yards.

The eight points were the first allowed by the Irish at Hite Field this season. Senior lineman Jonathan Harris finished with 20 tackles, while Joey Brunetti, Tyler Vincent and Simmerman each added 13.

The Hawks (2-7), who had rushed for more than 300 yards in each of their previous two games, finished with 238 yards rushing. Nathan Nutter and Roy McIntyre each had 86 yards. McIntyre accounted for South Harrison's lone score on a 1-yard run with 5:45 remaining in the game, set up by his 56-yard run.

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at mnutter@exponent-telegram.com