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Big Red bulldozes Linsly, closes home slate perfect

SACKING — Steubenville’s Kyjhaun Hopkins sacks Linsly quarterback Hunter Kelley on Friday. Also shown is Big Red’s Spencer Ostovich and Cian Montgomery. -Joe Catullo

STEUBENVILLE — Big Red stayed unbeaten Friday with a 35-21 homecoming, senior-night victory over Linsly inside Harding Stadium.

In staying perfect in their all-time series with the Cadets (Big Red now leads 7-0), Reno Saccoccia’s charges compiled 426 yards (285 on the ground and 141 via the air) of offense and sprinted to a 28-7 lead at the intermission.

“We’re 3-0 and record-wise, that’s the best we can be right now,” Saccoccia said. “But, going forward, we still have a lot of work to do, and we have to keep improving in a lot of areas.

“We had some good moments tonight, and we’ve had good moments throughout the first three weeks. We have also had some bad moments, and we have to fix those. Great teams just don’t have bad moments.”

The opening offensive drive was one of the good moments for Big Red. Taking over at its own 34, Steubenville marched 66 yards for a touchdown. It came on a 13-yard pass from Cade Kernahan to Brandon Kinney, who now has three catches on the season, all producing scores.

Big Red’s defense delivered a good moment to start the game, stopping Linsly cold on its first three plays and getting a quarterback sack from linebacker Kyjhaun Hopkins.

The defense came up big again on Linsly’s next possession thanks to Nasari Jackson’s one-handed interception of a Hunter Kelley pass. This time, the offense traveled 44 yards to make it 14-0. Isaiah McCartney plowed his way through the Linsly defense to score from 11 yards away.

Linsly was quick to answer, as Kelly and Luca DiLorenzo connected for a 58-yard touchdown. Joao Lima’s kick made it 14-7.

Steubenville would score two more times before the half. Spencer Ostovich bulled over from a yard away, and Aaron Ferguson caught a 15-yard scoring strike from Kernahan. The big play leading to Ostovich’s scoring plunge came through a 36-yard pass from Kernahan to Ivan Buggs. Ferguson’s TD catch capped a 61-yard march.

The defenses dominated play in the third quarter. Big Red’s final six-pointer came with 8:25 left to play on a 3-yard run by Tylik Sims.

Coach B.J. Depew’s Cadets didn’t go away without a fight, scoring twice in the final quarter. Steven Felton found the end zone from 7 yards out, and Kobe Hill took a Kelley pass 34 yards for a touchdown.

“That’s definitely a characteristic of these guys — I never thought they would quit,” Depew said. “We’ve been in situations in the past where we were playing a stronger opponent and had teams lay down. But, not these guys, and I am proud of them.

“I thought we played great defense in the second half, and we made some plays, but that wasn’t enough against a really good Steubenville team.”

Sims, who is just a sophomore, led Big Red’s rushing attack with 108 yards on 17 carries. Ostovich, the leading rusher in last week’s victory over Dover, finished with 85 and Nate McShan 55.

Kernahan threw for 127 yards and two scores. Buggs had three receptions to lead the Big Red.

“Steubenville is great at running the football, and we know they have great athletes,” Depew said. “They threw the football tonight in an attempt to stay balanced and keep us off balance. They were difficult to stop.

“In the second half, it was a matter of us manning up, playing tougher and going toe to toe with them. I was proud of how our guys performed.”

Kelley threw for 143 yards but was picked off twice. Buggs got an interception on the final play of the game.

Jared Roberts successfully converted all five of his conversion tries for the winners.

“Linsly’s a good football team, and we have gone against good football teams the first three weeks of the season,” Saccoccia said. “Right now, we’re just not playing to the best of our ability and we have to improve in all areas.

“We are a better team than we have been playing. We’ll work and we’ll get better. We don’t believe in ourselves yet. We don’t believe we are a good team yet. Nothing good can happen if you don’t believe in yourself.”

UP NEXT

Big Red: Will finish its six-game regular season on the road. Saccoccia’s crew will travel to New Philadelphia next week for a Thursday night contest.

Linsly: Now 1-1, will stay on the road, visiting Weir High Friday.

“I’m hopeful we can keep playing,” Depew said. “This season, tomorrow is never promised. I’m proud of our guys, and I hope we get a chance to play next week after learning what we did tonight.”

Steubenville 35, Linsly 21

Linsly 7 0 0 14 — 21

Big Red 14 14 0 7 — 35

BIG RED — Kinney 13 pass from Kernahan (Roberts kick)

BIG RED — McCartney 11 run (Roberts kick)

LINSLY — DiLorenzo 58 pass from Kelly (Lima kick)

BIG RED — Ostovich 1 run (Roberts kick)

BIG RED — Ferguson 15 pass from Kernahan (Roberts kick)

BIG RED — Sims 3 run (Roberts kick)

LINSLY — Felton 7 run (Lima kick)

LINSLY — Hill 34 pass from Kelley (Lima kick)

RUSHING: Linsly 29-106-1 (Kelley 12-48; Knight 7-19; Simmons 6-23; Felton 3-15-1; Hill 1-1); Big Red 50-285-3 (Ostovich 10-85-1; Sims 17-108-1; McShan 16-55; Kernahan 2-5; McCartney 1-11-1l Thorn 3-20; Demitras 1-1).

PASSING: Linsly 10-29-146-2td-2int (Kelley 9-28-143-2-2 int; Hill 1-1-3); Big Red 13-28-141-2td (Kernahan 11-25-127-2; Hill 2-3-14)

RECEIVING: Linsly 9-143-2 (Felton 3-17; Hill 2-39-1; DiLorenzo 2-59-1; Kelley 1-3; Lyck 1-28); Big Red 13-141-1 (Jones 1-24; Ferguson 1-15-1; Roberts 2-23; Kinney 1-13-1; Buggs 3-48; Hopkins 2-18; Thorn 2-14; Sims 1-(-6)).

FIRST DOWNS: Linsly 11; Big Red 21.

PENALTIES-YARDS: Linsly 4-20; Big Red 6-51.

PUNTS: Linsly 3-41; Big Red 5-35.

FUMBLES-LOST: Linsly 2-0; Big Red 1-1.

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