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A doubleheader, then a tripleheader at Harding

June 28, 2010
By MIKE MATHISON, sports editor

Harding Stadium will see a lot of action starting in August.

In addition to the opening doubleheader on Aug. 26, there is a tripleheader slated on the turf Sept. 25.

As mentioned earlier in this column, Steubenville will host Inkster at 6 p.m. on Aug. 26 with Catholic Central taking on Bridgeport at approximately 8 p.m.

It is a $10 ticket for both games.

Look, folks, this is a great thing for the area.

Two games for one price.

This is not a Big Red thing.

This is not a Crusaders thing.

This is a Steubenville thing.

Big Red season-ticket holders get their seats for the Big Red game and Central season-ticket holders get their seats for the Crusaders game.

It's not hard to figure out and there sure better be no problems that night.

Adults, please.

There will be a game at Harding Stadium on Aug. 26, but the teams have yet to be announced.

The tripleheader on Sept. 25 - The Rally in the Death Valley - will start at noon with defending national champion Don Bosco Prep from Ramsey, N.J., taking on Cleveland St. Ignatius, the 2009 runner-up. It will be a nationally televised game on Fox.

Big Red faces Morgantown at 3:30 p.m.

Wheeling Central meets Bridgeport at approximately 6 p.m.

Tickets are $15.

Steubenville's game was slated to be in Morgantown, but was switched.

The Maroon Knights and the Bulldogs exited contracts with Fairview, Pa., and Valley (Wetzel), respectively.

In addition, Big Red will play its three scrimmages at home - Cambridge, Uniontown Lake and Wheeling Central.

Steubenville right now has nine scheduled home games - Akron Buchtel (Sept. 3), Brooke (Sept. 10), St. John's College (Sept. 17), Wheeling Park (Oct. 1), Youngstown Ursuline (Oct. 15), Buffalo St. Joseph's (Oct. 22) and Tonawanda O'Hara (Oct. 29).

Big Red will visit Massillon on Oct. 8.

The Crusaders will have games at Harding Stadium on Sept. 11 (Weirton Madonna), Oct. 9 (Barnesville), Oct. 16 (Weir High) and LaBrea (Oct. 30).

Catholic Central has road contests at Ridgewood (Sept. 3), Toronto (Sept. 17), Bellaire (Sept. 25), Wheeling Central (Oct. 1) and Oak Glen (Oct. 22).

As of now, that is 20 football games at Harding Stadium.

Indian Creek will host six home games - Cleveland John Hay (Sept. 3), Union Local (Sept. 17), St. Clairsville (Oct. 1), Harrison Central (Oct. 15), Bellaire (Oct. 22) and Edison (Oct. 30) and go to Weir (Aug. 27), Oak Glen (Sept. 10), Buckeye Local (Sept. 24) and Martins Ferry (Oct. 8).

Brooke, the West Virginia Class AAA state runner-up, has an interesting schedule. It opens with the two Parkersburg schools - home with the Big Reds Aug. 27 and at South on Sept. 3 - then heads to Big Red (Sept. 10) and Woodrow Wilson (Sept. 17). The Bruins host Wheeling Park (Sept. 24) and then has that stupid WVSSAC bye.

They come off the week off to visit University (Oct. 8) and Morgantown (Oct. 15) before spending the final three weeks at home like the Redskins - Weir (Oct. 22), John Marshall (Oct. 29) and Musselman (Nov. 5).

Weirton Madonna begins defense of its West Virginia Class A state championship at home Aug. 28 against Valley, then won't be back at Jimmy Carey Stadium for a month. It heads to Paden City (Sept. 3), Catholic Central (Sept. 11), has that dumb bye week and goes to Cameron (Sept. 24).

The Blue Dons, who are 38-3 during the past three years, host Bridgeport (Oct. 2), go to Clarksburg Notre Dame (Oct. 8), host Morgantown trinity Christian (Oct. 15) and toronto (Oct. 22), head to Bishop Donahue (Oct. 30) and entertain Clay-Battelle (Nov. 6).

More football schedules next week.

Congratulations to the Madonna family for a brilliant sports season - two team and one individual state championships is a great year for anybody's standards - football, baseball and Max Nogay in wrestling.

That's pretty darn good.

Look, I don't want to hear whining about Class A this or Class A that, the football schedule was easy, they didn't play anyone, blah, blah, blah.

The Blue Dons played who was on their schedule - all 14 of them, and beat them all.

They beat Wheeling Central.

Nuff said.

Although, to a man, they sure would have liked to beat the Maroon Knights at Wheeling Island Stadium for the state crown.

Be that as it may, Madonna dominated everyone.

I still say this all started way back when on a football field in Moundsville in the 2006 season when the guys who just graduated were seniors and won a football game against Bishop Donahue to finish the season at 5-5 and keep coach Bob Kramer's record of not having a losing season in tact.

The Blue Dons had a group of kids who refused to lose.

In fact, hated to lose.

The list of those kinds of kids on any team is not long.

And, the good thing is they have left a legacy on what it takes to be a champion.

The football team went 5-5, 11-2, 13-1 and 14-0 and has won 25 straight regular season games.

Steubenville Big Red coach Reno Saccoccia has said for years he does not schedule a regular season to win a bar fight. He does what he thinks is best for his team.

Why can't that be the same for Kramer?

Your schedule is your schedule because it is in the best interest of your program.

Kramer has not won 102 games in 12 years by accident.

The Blue Dons won their last seven baseball games, including a brilliant comeback against East Hardy, to raise the trophy.

They scored five in the bottom of the seven to extend the game and three more in the bottom of the eighth, capped by a Lou Comis bomb, to get to the state title game.

Madonna then beat Man to avenge last year's state semifinal defeat to claim the school's first baseball championship.

The fact the Dons lost regular season games to Toronto, Magnolia, Linsly and Wheeling Central helped their playoff run.

Playing better teams helps you get better.


You cannot run away from playing the best in the state.

So what if you play the best in the state during the regular season and get beat.

Your team is better for it.

Jeff Baire took over a baseball team that had the makings of something special.

His teams went 17-13, 22-4 and 25-7 and they will be good again next year.

State championship good - who knows.

You can say what you want about Nogay, but he is a pretty darn good athlete. He leaves Madonna with four state championships, winning the 171-pound wrestling title as a senior and the 160-pound crown as a junior and football and baseball.

Under no circumstances am I going to tell you he is the best athlete in school history. I have not been here that long, or alive that long.

But, I will tell you the roll call is over pretty quickly and his name is on it.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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