Victories came in a variety of ways in a wet, stormy Week 5

RUNNING — Steubenville’s Tayveon Crawford takes a handoff from Clayton Criss and looks to elude a Pittsburgh USO defender during the Friday’s game at Harding Stadium. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

Victories came in a whole bunch of categories as the high school football season hit the halfway point.

Big Red recorded what could be its first “24 minute” win on Friday, thumping Pittsburgh USO 35-8. Reno Saccoccia’s crew scored on five of its six possessions and compiled 256 rushing yards, running its winning streak to four.

Because of heavy rain and lighting, the teams never took the field for the second half. Caleb Mitchell (119 rushing yards) and Tayveon Crawford (94 yards on the ground) each scored a pair of touchdowns in the homecoming triumph.

“Our backs were running hard tonight,” Big Red coach Reno Saccoccia said. “They are beginning to understand that they have to finish on their runs and that’s another area that we keep working on and improving.”

According to Joe Eitel, Big Red should move up to second place in the Division IV, Region 13 computer standings just behind Perry and just ahead of Hubbard. After its tough loss to St. Clairsville, Indian Creek, now 3-2, will be 10th in the region.

Thanks to Justin Hartzell’s huge night, Catholic Central rolled to a 48-14 streak-snapping win at Warren JFK. The Crusaders hadn’t defeated the Eagles in Warren since 1973.

Hartzell, now the top rusher in the Herald Star/Daily Times coverage area, ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns (his scores came on gallops of 51 and 60 yards) and threw for 128 yards and another score.

“Their quarterback is really good,” JFK coach Jeff Bayuk said.

The now 4-1 Crusaders finished with 514 yards of offense.

Central, Eitel predicts, will remain eighth in Division VI, Region 21, just a few percentage points behind Creston Norwayne. Steve Daley’s club will play its final road game of the season (the Crusaders finish with four straight at home) this week, visiting Barnesville for the annual Pumpkin Bowl.

Donavan Kirby ran for 178 yards and all three touchdowns as Weir pocketed a 25-15 bounce-back road victory at previously unbeaten Petersburg. Reed Reitter aided Weir’s cause by nailing a 33-yard field goal. The senior now has crossed the goal line 14 times this season.

The Red Riders stand at 4-1 and rebounded from a tough home loss to Keyser, which overcame a 26-point halftime deficit.

“A football game got away from us last week and that happens and our kids came out and responded very well,” Weir coach Tony Filberto said. “They hit some adversity and handled it very well, so we’re proud of them.”

Weir, according to www.wvtailgatecentral.com , is ranked eighth in West Virginia Class AA. The Riders host Union Local this week before a huge road date with top-ranked Fairmont Senior.

Caleb Leasure threw for 122 yards and a pair of scores in Toronto’s 28-14, 19 hour win over Leetonia.

The game began at 7 p.m. Friday and took 19 hours to complete. It was suspended due to lighting at 8:34 p.m. on Friday and resumed at 1 p.m. Saturday at Clarke Hinkle Field. The actual time of the game was just under two hours.

“We talked to the kids about coming out and having the same momentum we left with Friday night,” said Toronto coach Josh Franke. “That is hard to do. That is asking a lot of out these kids coming back on Saturday afternoon where they were not used to playing.”

The Red Knights are now 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference.

Edison improved to 3-2 under first-year coach Shane O’Brien with its delayed 14-7 triumph over Beaver Local.

The game was delayed for two hours and 20 minutes by weather late in the first quarter.

What proved to be the winning score came on a fourth down pass from Anthony Sinicropi to Noah Woods. Beaver Local came close to knotting the score in the final minute of the game, moving to the Wildcat 12. On fourth down, however, the Edison defense rose up and recorded a huge stop.

“Our defense really stepped up,” O’Brien said. “That goal-line stand was really important. They have really been able to come up big in some clutch moments this season.”

Eitel has Edison ranked ninth in the Division V, Region 19 standings following the win. The Wildcats entertain Oak Glen this week.

A funny side

In its win at Petersburg, Weir forced its host into six second half turnovers.

“Defense is a funny side of the ball because it’s about 5 percent technique and 95 percent desire to get to the football,” Filberto told West Virginia Metro News. “Our kids just wanted to get to the football. We didn’t do a whole lot of things different. We just kept coming and kept coming and it worked for us.”

The Red Riders clinched the victory thanks to Sebastian Spencer’s interception with 1:15 left to play. Filberto’s defense came through with seven total turnovers.

First to 1,000

Oak Glen sophomore quarterback Nick Chaney connected on 13 of his 28 passes in Friday’s 47-21 loss to East Liverpool for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

In doing so, the Golden Bear signal caller became the first quarterback in the Herald Star/Daily Times coverage area to surpass the 1,000 yard mark for the season.

Hunter Patterson hauled in seven Chaney aerials for 72 yards and a pair of scores.

The game did get to halftime without a weather delay and the score was tied at 14. Heavy rain and lightning forced an extended break and the contest wrapped up around 11:15 p.m.

A good one

Big Red’s last two opponents in a state championship game (Clarksville Clinton-Massie and Columbus Bishop Hartley) got together for a Week 5 showdown on the Falcons’ home turf.

When it was all said and done, the Falcons escaped with a 34-31 victory. Clinton-Massie, which was ranked sixth in last week’s Ohio AP Division IV poll, trailed 17-10 at halftime but grabbed the momentum in the third quarter on its way to improving to 4-1.

Hartley, which was ninth in Division III, fell to 3-2.

Stat leaders

As noted, Hartzell leads area rushers after five weeks with 610 yards on 75 carries, an area best 8.13 yards per attempt.

Weir’s Kirby is next with 563, followed by Tyler West of Harrison Central with 533. Thomas Sessi of Madonna stands fourth with his 517 yards, followed by Indian Creek’s Trevor Fante with 464. Chaney’s 1,063 passing yards is the best among area quarterbacks. He also has thrown for 15 touchdowns, again the top mark.

Harrison Central’s Kobe Mitchell has thrown for 846 and six scores, while Hartzell has 557 passing yards and seven scores. Big Red senior Clayton Criss is fourth with 551 yards (his completion percentage of 65.4 percent is tops among area starters) and Edison’s Sinicropi has tossed for 538.

Caden Dalton of Harrison Central leads area receivers with 23 grabs for 383 yards and a pair of six-pointers. He is followed by Oak Glen’s Hunter Patterson (20 receptions), Edison’s Bryce McAfoose (19 catches), Sessi (also 19 catches) and Zach Taylor of Oak Glen with 16 catches. Taylor has turned his grabs into an area best eight receiving scores.

‘No mas’ time

Kirtland, the Northeast Ohio Division IV powerhouse, remained unbeaten through five games, but the Hornets didn’t get in much work on Friday.

Richmond Heights opted to forfeit midway through the first quarter, giving Kirtland a 13-0 victory. Players and coaches from Richmond Heights walked off the field with 6:27 remaining in the opening quarter. That action came after a Spartan player was injured, placed on a stretcher and transported from the field.

The Spartans dressed fewer than 20 players for the game and their coach expressed concern about the impact additional injuries could have on the remainder of his team’s season.

Kirtland conducted an intra-squad scrimmage following the forfeit.


Big Red football lost a true fan last week with the death of Chuck Robinson.

A 1966 Big Red graduate and a Weirton resident, Robinson, 70, was a fixture at Steubenville football games, usually arriving early at Harding Stadium.

In 2003, he took over as the OVAC soccer director and implemented the system the conference now uses for its annual soccer tournament. He spent most of his adult life volunteering his time for various organizations around the area.

Condolences are extended to his family. He will be missed.

Ifft gets 200

Alec Sayre rushed for three touchdowns and passed for three more as Dover whipped Tallmadge 42-8 for its fourth victory in five starts.

The triumph also gave veteran coach Dan Ifft his 200th career victory.

Sayre, the senior quarterback, recently announced he will play baseball at Wright State, He and his Dover teammates will invade Harding Stadium Friday to test Big Red. The Tornadoes own victories over Cleveland JFK, Wooster, Akron East and Tallmadge. The loss came in Week 2 to Uniontown Lake.

Dover, according to Eitel, is the fourth ranked school in Division II, Region 7.

Top stats

Running wild

¯ 178, Donavan Kirby, Weir High, 3 touchdowns

¯ 171, Justin Hartzell, Catholic Central, 2 touchdowns

¯ 135, Trevor Fante, Indian Creek, touchdown

¯ 119, Caleb Mitchell, Big Red, 2 touchdowns

¯ 113, Tucker Coultrap, Harrison Central, 2 touchdowns

¯ 105, Tyler West, Harrison Central, touchdown

¯ 94, Tayveon Crawford, Big Red, 2 touchdowns


¯ 170, Nick Chaney, Oak Glen, 13 of 28, 3 scores

¯ 141, Kobe Mitchell, Harrison Central, 8 of 23, score

¯ 128, Justin Hartzell, Catholic Central, 9 of 12, score

¯ 123, Logan Williams, Brooke, 10 of 20, 2 scores

¯ 122, Caleb Leasure, Toronto, 10 of 14, 2 scores

Hands team

¯ 7, Hunter Patterson, Oak Glen, 72, 2 touchdowns

¯ 7, Thomas Sessi, Madonna, 35

¯ 5, Camden Bates, Brooke, 90, touchdown

¯ 5, Brian Palmer, Buckeye Local, 29, touchdown

¯ 4, Caden Dalton, Harrison Central, 128, touchdown

¯ 4, Jake McCoy, Weir High, 52


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