Big numbers paved the way during Week 3

ARMS UP — Indian Creek’s Klay Cottis celebrates his teammates’ touchdown against Indian Valley on Friday. -Joe Catullo

STEUBENVILLE — When it comes to scheduling Ohio opponents, more is better as far as veteran St. Francis coach Jerry Smith is concerned.

Friday’s visit to Harding Stadium was the first of three-straight dates with Buckeye State foes for Smith and his now 1-1 Red Raiders. They will host Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit this week, then welcome Mentor Lake Catholic on Sept. 28. On Oct. 11, St. Francis will travel from Hamburg, N.Y., located near Buffalo, to Dover.

“One of the things we have always tried to do is play the best schedule we can,” said Smith, who is in his 32nd year with St. Francis. “We have 36 guys on the roster this year, so we can’t go play teams likes St. Edward or St. Ignatius. We haven’t been on that level in a while. I thought we could come here and compete, and I think we did that.

“High school football means something in Ohio. It’s taken seriously, and we want to be part of that because we take our football seriously, too. Our guys have to learn that. They have to learn what pain is, what suffering on the field is and how to recover from those things. I think they are learning that from the competition we face.”

Big Red coach Reno Saccoccia actually played a role in St. Francis getting on Dover’s schedule. Dan Ifft, the veteran coach of the Tornadoes, said Saccoccia was aware that St. Francis and another New York school (Bishop Timon-St. Jude) were in need of games and helped Ifft get in contact with them.

Like St. Francis, Bishop Timon-St. Jude competes in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association.

“We’ve been playing Walsh Jesuit for a few years, and it’s a pretty competitive game for us. We have Dover, which I understand is a powerhouse like Big Red, and we also have Lake Catholic, which is about our size,” Smith said. “We’ll see how things turn out, but we’re looking forward to the challenges.”


Prior to Friday’s opening kick, Big Red took the time to remember Perry “Jet” Jeter, the Steubenville High School graduate who competed with and against some of football’s most revered players and coaches.

Born in 1931, Jeter, who retired from the city school system after a lengthy career, died in May of this year.

He attended San Bernardino Valley College in San Bernardino, Calif., and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He was inducted into the Cal Poly Hall of Fame in 1987, along with John Madden.

Jeter was drafted by and played for the Chicago Bears from 1956-1957. In a game against the Los Angeles Rams in 1956, Jeter scored two touchdowns to help secure a come-from-behind victory, launching the Bears on a run that ended with a berth in the NFL championship game against the New York Giants.

In his weekly football program message, Saccoccia wrote “With his passing earlier this year, he will be forever missed. However, the legend of Perry ‘Jet’ Jeter from Steubenville Big Red should never be forgotten.”


Oak Glen is 3-0 for the first time in 49 years after its huge 59-12 triumph over Buckeye Local.

In the win, the Golden Bears scored in nearly every way imaginable. There were scoring runs, touchdown passes, a field goal, a punt return and even a safety.

Gage Patterson caught two scoring strikes from Nick Chaney, one covering 45 yards and the other 5 yards. Just for good measure, he sprinted 55 yards with a Buckeye Local punt. Hunter Patterson found the end zone on runs of 28, 19 and 40. Matthew Wright booted a 32-yard field goal.

Hunter Patterson finished with 156 yards on the ground, while Chaney passed for 161.

Oak Glen’s fast start has landed the Bears in the top 10 of the Metro News Class AA power rankings. The Bears, who will look to go 4-0 when they host Pittsburgh Perry Friday, are rated ninth.


¯ Big Red will honor its 1984 Ohio Division II championship team prior to Friday’s highly anticipated contest with 3-0 New Philadelphia. The Quakers are coming off a 49-22 thumping of Alliance Marlington. In that game, running back John Sciarretti rushed for 111 yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Baron May ran for 105 yards and threw for 239 more. Big Red senior tailback Tayveon Crawford had another big night in the 43-31 win over St. Francis, rushing for 134 yards and a pair of scores. Senior signal-caller Randy Mitchell passed for 168 and two touchdowns.

¯ Cleveland St. Ignatius clawed back from a 25-point deficit to shock Akron Hoban, 42-41. The loss snapped Hoban’s 31-game winning streak. Hoban has captured four-consecutive state championships. The last team to beat Hoban was Ignatius in the 2017 season opener. Ignatius utilized the big foot of junior kicker Declan Mangan in the victory. He connected on field goals of 53 and 56 yards.

¯ Toronto spotted Edison a 6-0 lead early, then came storming back to earn a 48-6 victory. The Red Knights exploded for 23 third-quarter points, as they moved to 2-1. Caleb Leasure had a huge game for Toronto, throwing for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Zack Stackhouse had four catches for 104 yards and a score. Meanwhile, for the second-straight week, Garrett Dozier ran for 97 yards.

¯ Linsly, Big Red’s Week 10 opponent, has people in the valley talking after its 31-7 beat down of Wheeling Central, West Virginia’s top-ranked Class A squad, on Saturday. Before visiting Harding Stadium, the 3-0 Cadets will be tested by Morgantown and Point Pleasant, a Mountain State Class AA power. Linsly is considered a Division VI school by Ohio standards.

¯ Three weeks in and the area has a pair of teams occupying top eight spots in playoff rankings. According to Joe Eitel, Big Red is seventh in Division III, Region 9. New Philadelphia is third and Dover sixth. Indian Creek is sixth in Division IV, Region 13. Toronto stands 14th in Division VII, Region 25.

¯ Canton McKinley, a former longtime Big Red rival, lost a heartbreaker to Euclid, 49-48, on Friday. The Bulldogs scored with 1:02 left and opted to go for two. The conversion pass was batted away. The game still wasn’t over, however, because on the ensuing kickoff, McKinley recovered an onside kick to get one last chance. Euclid’s defense stiffened up, recorded a stop and grabbed the victory.

¯ Kobe Mitchell did all he could for Harrison Central in Friday’s 27-19 loss to Bellaire. The talented quarterback threw for 234 yards and a touchdown. Trevor Carmen had eight catches for 126 yards and the six-pointer.

¯ Pittsburgh University Prep is off to a 4-0 start. The Panthers own victories over Farrell, Laurel Highlands, Pittsburgh Westinghouse and Pittsburgh Perry. University Prep will play Allderdice, Steubenville’s Week 1 foe, before coming to town on Sept. 27.

¯ After two tough weeks on the road, Central will return to Harding Stadium Saturday for its annual homecoming game. Edison’s Wildcats will provide the opposition. On Thursday, CCHS will induct six individuals into its hall of fame. The inductees are Tito Carinci, Ken Mannie, Tom Bartemes, David Jedneski, Bill Reinacher and Dina (Bartemes) Cooney.

¯ Three crucial plays proved to be Indian Creek’s undoing in dropping a 14-13 decision to Indian Valley on the new turf field at Kettlewell Stadium. Sam Mazar had a solid outing for the Redskins, throwing for 127 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Fleming hauled in six Mazar passes for 112 yards and the score. He now has 14 catches in three games for 152, an average of 10.8 yards a game.

¯ Sophomore tailback Rodney James Jr. has electrified Big Red’s Harding Stadium crowd twice in three games. In the opener against Allderdice, James broke off a 66-yard touchdown run. On Friday against St. Francis, he sprinted 60 yards to the house. James has 11 carries on the season for 192 yards, an average of 17.4 yards per touch.


It’s unusual in today’s high school football world to be primarily a running team. Weirton’s two schools, however, ran into opponents during Week 3 that did just that and did it successfully.

Even though the Red Riders made a spectacular comeback and defeated Frankfort, 28-27, in overtime, the Falcons presented a stern test for Tony Filberto’s defense. Running out of the old-school Wing-T formation with two running backs, Frankfort trampled through the Red Rider defense for 485. The visitors passed just twice without a completion.

Sebastian Spencer keyed Weir’s victory, as he ran for 97 yards and three touchdowns. He also passed for 89 yards. Spencer had scoring jaunts of 11, 33 and 6 yards.

The Red Riders will face their second-straight ranked opponent this week when they travel to 3-0 Keyser, which is ranked fourth in Class AA by Metro News.

Meanwhile, Darrin Hicks’ Madonna Blue Dons were completely overwhelmed by Strasburg-Franklin’s running game in their 52-6 road defeat.

The Tigers also used an old school power T-formation with the quarterback under center, backed by a fullback and a halfback. They rushed for 424 yards. Strasburg did attempt four passes, completing two for 45 yards.


Vienna Mathews will help Madonna celebrate homecoming Friday at Jimmy Carey Stadium. The Mustangs are 1-2 and have dropped consecutive 35-0 verdicts.

Mathews started its season with a 40-22 victory over Ashtabula St. John in an 8-man football game. St. John, a Division VII playoff qualifier in 2018, was one of several Ohio schools to go with the 8-man game this season due to low roster numbers.

Instead of canceling the game, Mathews decided to switch from 11-man to 8-man for the opener. The victory does not count in computer ratings for the Mustangs.


Running wild

156, Hunter Patterson, Oak Glen, 3 touchdowns

134, Tayveon Crawford, Big Red, 2 touchdowns

108, Rodney James Jr., Big Red, touchdown

97, Sebastian Spencer, Weir, 3 touchdowns

97, Garrett Dozier, Toronto, touchdown

95, Gage Patterson, Oak Glen, touchdown


234, Kobe Mitchell, Harrison Central, 20 of 35, score

233, Caleb Leasure, Toronto, 10 of 17, 3 scores

168, Randy Mitchell, Big Red, 11 of 17, 2 scores

161, Nick Chaney, Oak Glen, 10 of 16, 2 scores

155, Joshua Shorts, Brooke, 10 of 28, 2 scores

140, Ryan Gorman, Catholic Central, 10 of 14

127, Sam Mazar, Indian Creek, 7 of 12, score

Hands team

8, Trevor Carmen, Harrison Central, 126, touchdown

6, Brandon Fleming, Indian Creek, 112, touchdown

6, Stone Biacco, Big Red, 93, touchdown

6, Elijah Gillette, Weir, 43

5, Camden Bates, Brooke, 119, touchdown

5, Cale McAfee, Harrison Central, 36

4, Zack Stackhouse, Toronto, 104, touchdown

4, Logan Hanchin, Edison, 42, touchdown

4, Anthony LeFever, Catholic Central, 40

4, Jonathon Vermillion, Harrison Central, 35

4, Joseph Fuscardo, Brooke, 21, touchdown

4, Brennan Secrist, Madonna, 27


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)