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Crusaders power past Wildcats 27-13

PREVENTING THE BIG PLAY — Catholic Central’s Cole Maragos tackles Edison’s Tyler Griffith on Saturday. Also shown are Central’s Anthony Simmons Jr., Matt Orsay and Mike Rook. -Joe Catullo

STEUBENVILLE — Jeffrey Dawson ran for three touchdowns Saturday, as Catholic Central celebrated homecoming with a 27-13 victory over Edison inside Harding Stadium.

The senior finished with 157 yards on 30 carries for the Crusaders, who improved to 2-2 and now hold a 6-1 series lead with their Jefferson County rival. Edison falls to 0-4.

“I’m happy for our boys and the school,” first-year Central coach Anthony Agresta said. “This is a great football town, and there’s a great football tradition at Central. I’m glad we could give the school community and the Central people a victory tonight.

“The last two weeks were tough (back-to-back road losses to Wheeling Central and Southern Local), but even in a 41-7 loss we saw some good things happening with our front five on offense, and that kind of played out tonight.”

Agresta used a little trickery to start the game, calling for an onside kick that was recovered by Daniel Kissinger at the Wildcat 46. Eight plays later, Dawson plowed into the end zone. Kissinger’s boot made it 7-0.

Late in the first quarter, Edison put together a scoring drive that covered 71 yards, all the yardage coming on the ground. The march consumed more than five minutes and was capped by Tyler Griffith’s 4-yard run. Carter Montgomery’s conversion kick tied things at 7-all.

Shane O’Brien’s club struck again with 2:52 remaining the quarter on a 1-yard Vinnie Marcino plunge. The Edison possession was set up by Griffith’s interception. The 52-yard march also consumed more than five minutes. The conversion kick was blocked.

Central took the lead for good on Dawson’s 4-yard run just before the half. Kissinger’s kick made it 14-13 Crusaders. The hosts began the drive with great field position thanks to a 29-yard kickoff return by Jayden Keeder.

“We battled hard in the first half, and I was really proud with how we played,” O’Brien said. “We executed our game plan well. In the second half, some of the guys we were relying on kind of got injured or started to cramp up. We had to change the game plan a little.

“What was working for us early we weren’t able to do effectively. We you get behind like we did, it’s tough to come back.”

Following a short Edison punt midway through the third quarter, the Crusaders went 36 yards for a touchdown, this time Dawson scored from 2 yards out. Keeder got the game’s final score on a 1-yard plunge.

Central finished with 213 rushing yards on 41 trips. Keeder supported Dawson with 34 yards on six carries.

“All along, we’ve been asking our young offensive line to keep improving and execute better,” Agresta said. “They are getting better every week. The line opened some creases for Dawson and, when he gets to the second level, he runs hard.

“Keeder ran well and our tight ends blocked well. Any time you run for 200 yards against a big physical football like Edison, you should feel good about it.”

Griffith had 59 rushing yards to lead the Wildcats, and Marcino finished with 57. Freshman quarterback Gage Cline completed 11 of his 19 passes for 74 yards.

UP NEXT

Central: Remains at home this week for its first meeting with Caldwell on Saturday.

Edison: Looking at three more games on the road. The Wildcats visit Beaver Local Friday, before traveling to Oak Glen and East Liverpool.

“We are on the road for next few weeks, and our biggest priority right now is getting guys healthy and getting them back on the field,” O’Brien aid. “We need to keep focusing on what we can do to get better.

“When we are healthy and executing our game plan, I think we are pretty efficient. It’s just about putting together a full game with everyone on the field, staying healthy and everyone doing their job.”

Catholic Central 27, Edison 13

Edison 0-13-0-0 — 13

CCHS 7-7-7-6 — 27

CENTRAL: Dawson 3 run (Kissinger kick)

EDISON: Griffith 4 run (Montgomery kick)

EDISON: Marcino 1 run (kick failed)

CENTRAL: Dawson 4 run (Kissinger kick)

CENTRAL: Dawson 2 run (Kissinger kick)

CENTRAL: Keeder 1 run (pass failed)

RUSHING: Edison 37-124-2 (Marcino 16-57-1; Griffith 13-59-1; Cline 8-8); Central 41-213-4 (Dawson 30-157-3; Keeder 6-34-1; Maragos 2-22; Gorman 3-0).

PASSING: Edison 11-19-74 (all by Cline); Central 3-9-39-2ints (all by Gorman).

RECEIVING: Edison 11-74 (Shrieve 3-13; Hanchin 3-42; Griffith 3-11; Hughes 2-8); Central 3-39 (LeFever 1-3; Sprochi 1-9; Keeder 1-27).

FIRST DOWNS: Edison 15; Central 15.

PENALTIES-YARDS: Edison 4-25; Central 7-71.

PUNTS: Edison 4-22; Central 2-35.

FUMBLES-LOST: Edison 0-0; Central 0-0.

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