NEW PHILADELPHIA Missed opportunities are a killer.
Unfortunately for Steubenville Big Red Saturday at Woody Hayes Stadium in the Division III Region 11 semifinals West Holmes seemingly didn't miss any opportunities en route to a 35-7 victory.
"The key to a good team is taking advantage of opportunities," said Big Red head coach Reno Saccoccia. "The key to a bad game is giving opportunities. They took advantage of the opportunities. They're a good team and they are very well coached."
ON THE MOVE — Steubenville Michael Jett carries the ball during Saturday’s contest with West Holmes in the Ohio Division III Region 11 semifinals. He ran the ball three times for 27 yards as West Holmes ended Big?Red’s season with a 35-7 win at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium.
The Knights converted three fourth-down defensive stops and a recovered fumble on the second half kickoff into 29 points, and took advantage of several Big Red first downs being brought back due to penalties to turn a 7-6 Big Red lead into a victory.
With the score 7-6 Big Red was stuffed inches short on a fourth-and-2, setting up the Knights at their own 40. They took advantage with a drive that ended with a 14-yard Layne Perrone touchdown run.
The biggest smack to Steubenville's hopes was the second half kickoff. The Big Red return man was unable to field the short line drive, which bounced off his legs and was recovered by West Holmes at the 28-yard line and on the next play Gabe Snyder hit Brady Arnold for a score and a 21-7 lead.
"I felt the thing I liked best about that was the kid made a good return on the next one when it was 21-7," said Saccoccia.
"There's life, 21-7 is tough against a team like that, but I felt confident until we didn't make it on fourth-and-10. I felt confident in our kids because they fought through a lot of adversity this year. I thought they came out and it wasn't our night. West Holmes was part of the reason it wasn't our night."
The Knights again took advantage of a chance when it was presented to them taking over at their own 27 after the fourth down stop Saccoccia talked about. They traveled 73 yards on seven run plays capped by a seven-yard Garrett Mackey run to make it 28-7 with 3:18 left in the third quarter.
"We just gave them too many opportunities," said Saccoccia. "They took advantage of whatever we gave them. We felt at halftime we had a bad start.
"We had a bad start to the second half and they took advantage of it. That's the name of the game. No disrespect to them. That's what they're supposed to do."
Offensively Big Red was able to move the ball at times, but shot themselves in the foot to stall drives throughout the contest.
"I thought we moved the ball OK," said Saccoccia. "Our first three first downs in the second half got called back because of holds. We had two first downs called back in the first half because of holds.
"I thought we played tough and we played physical, but we didn't play smart on offense."
Trailing 28-7, Big Red was forced to go for another fourth down conversion, which fell short and gave the Knights the ball at the Big Red 29. And for one last time West Holmes took advantage, this time scoring on a 19-yard Grant Hay run.
"We didn't do the little things you need to do to be a champion," said Saccoccia. "I really wasn't disappointed in our offense and our defense.
"I was disappointed we didn't do the little things. That's why they're moving on. They did the little things and they took advantage of opportunities."