Crusaders roll over the ’Rocks

BARNESVILLE – The crowning point in Friday night’s game for Barnesville was when Shelby Wells selected the odd-colored rose at halftime in earning Homecoming Queen honors.

It was that bad for the Shamrocks as state-ranked Steubenville Catholic Central steamrolled its way to a convincing, 56-0, victory before a nice crowd at Shamrock Stadium.

“They are head and shoulders above where we are right now,” Barnesville head coach Matt Johnson said of the Crusaders. “That’s where we want to eventually get some day. We keep plugging away and we will get there. We just have to stay positive and keep working hard.”

The Crusaders (7-0) scored touchdowns on eight of their nine first-half possessions, the lone exception being the only incomplete pass by senior Brenton Colabella – which was nicely intercepted by David Stewart.

Colabella, a four-year starter, accounted for five of the six-pointers with four through the air where he was a sizzling 12-for-13 for 158 yards.

He also ran in from 4 yards outs, all those statistics coming in the first half.

“The kids came out a did what we asked them to do,” Steubenville Catholic head coach Steve Daly said. “We told them we wanted to get off to a fast start, and we were able to do that tonight.”

Indeed Steubenville Catholic, ranked third in Division VII, Region 25 and sixth in the latest Associated Press poll, did as it reached the end zone twice in the first 1:51 to take a 14-0 lead.

Khalil Jones took a pitch right and zig-zagged his way to paydirt from 62 yards out on the second snap of the game. Along the way, he left several would-be tacklers in his wake with a handful of stop-and-go moves. John Paul McNamara tacked on the first of his eight conversion kicks.

On the Shamrocks’ second play from scrimmage, Kyle Fletcher picked off an Austin Hannahs’ pass, returning it 31 yards to the Barnesville 1. On the next play, Colabella, after a nifty play-fake, found Jones all alone in the left side of the end zone.

Barnesville (1-6) picked up a first down on its next series of downs, but an ensuing fourth-and-2 carry by Dylan Burkhart was just shy of the first-down sticks.

Steubenville Catholic gave the ball right back as Colabella was looking deep for a receiver when Stewart went high into the air to make a leaping interception.

“The kid made a good play on the ball,” Daly noted. “He went up and got it at its highest point. Brenton’s been efficient all year. He did a nice job tonight.”

Three plays later, Jones showed his defensive skills when he pilfered a Hannahs pass. It took the Crusaders seven plays to reach the promised land as Colabella’s pass to Fletcher down the right hashmarks turned into a 45-yard scoring connection for a 21-0 reading.

Things got worse for the hosts as the ensuing kickoff was fumbled and Steubenville Catholic’s Jacob Borden pounced on it at the Shamrocks’ 26. Colabella called his own number from the 4 three plays later.

Colabella, who is one of two active quarterbacks to have surpassed the 6,000-yard mark for his career (the other being Bellaire’s Spencer Badia), tossed a pair of second-quarter TDs. He found Fletcher all alone in the right corner of the end zone from 5 yards out, and then delivered a strike to Johnny DiCarlantonio down the middle of the field from 29 yards out.

Sandwiched in between was a 37-yard ramble by fullback Storm Romano. Tony Barber concluded the scorefest with an 11-yard sprint up the middle on fourth-and-6 late in the first half.

Neither team threw a pass in the second half, which was rapidly played.

“Steve is a classy guy,” Johnson said of his counterpart. “It (the score) could’ve been a lot worse, but he called off the dogs at halftime. He runs a class program.”

Steubenville Catholic piled up 407 total yards, with 374 of that coming before the intermission break. Jones amassed 151 yards on half-dozen carries. Fletcher and Luke Potenzini each caught three passes, and Colabella completed his final 10 attempts.

Louis Fallon also picked off a pass for the Crusaders, who forced seven turnovers.

“A lot of those mistakes had to do with who we played,” Johnson admitted. “Steubenville Central is a very aggressive team. Our kids are not going to quit. We’ve got to keep our heads up. That’s what you do in life. We’re going to represent our team and our community the way we should. We did that in the second half and I’m proud of them for that.”

Barnesville remains home next week as Monroe Central pays a visit. Steubenville Catholic hosts Weir a week from tonight.