Big Red, Oak Glen still rocking after Week 3
By ED LOOMAN
STEUBENVILLE — “Next man up” is an adage that has become common in the sports world. A player goes down. and it is assumed the next man will jump off the bench and go to work.
Through its first three games (or half of the six-week regular season), Big Red has demonstrated the next-man up concept works, at least as far as the tailback position goes.
During the preseason, Reno Saccoccia said his squad had “four or five solid candidates at tailback.” These young men, of course, were looking to replace 2,000-yard rusher and first-team All-Ohioan Tayveon Crawford.
Rising junior Rodney James, Jr. emerged from summer camp as the starter. He made his debut one to remember — rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns in Steubenville’s victory over Youngstown Cardinal Mooney.
James, unfortunately, went down with an injury early in Big Red’s 28-7 win against Dover. So did his primary backup, sophomore Joshua Boffman.
Not to worry: Sophomore Spencer Ostovich, the next man up, took over and compiled 143 yards on the ground and found his way to the end zone. Senior Nate McShan chipped in 71 yards and a couple of scores.
Fast forward to Week 3 — Big Red’s final regular season home game against Linsly. Ostovich went for 84 yards on 10 trips before leaving with an injury. McShan continued to produce, contributing 54 yards.
Tailback No. 5, sophomore Tylik Sims, stole the spotlight. All he did was collect 105 yards on 16 carries and scored through a 3-yard run, as Big Red posted a 35-21 triumph over the Cadets.
In going 3-0, Big Red has rushed for 785 yards and 10 touchdowns. The five tailbacks mentioned have accounted for 682 of those yards and nine scores.
Ostovich leads the way with 304. James has 126, while Sims and McShan have 123 each.
Big Red finished the Linsly game with 427 yards of offense (280 running and 147 passing). Senior quarterback Cade Kernahan was extremely efficient, throwing for 133 and two scores. He connected with junior Brandon Kinney on a 13-yard score, then found senior Aaron Ferguson from 15 yards-out. Kinney and Ferguson have rare streaks going. Kinney has three catches, covering 49 yards and all resulting in touchdowns. Ferguson is two for two — two catches for 37 yards and two scores.
Saccoccia and company will make a rare Thursday night appearance this week, traveling to New Philadelphia. The Quakers are off to a 2-1 start. New Philadelphia holds a 6-5-1 lead in its all-time series with Big Red.
IN OR OUT
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, all Ohio schools are eligible for the playoffs this season. Schools, however, must opt in by Thursday.
Modified regions (there will be no changes in previously announced divisions) will be drawn Friday based on those schools opting in. Coaches then will vote to seed teams in the regions during the week of Sept. 28, after Week 5. The opening round of the playoffs begins Oct. 9. Teams may schedule regular season games after elimination. A maximum of 10 games can be played, and those games can’t be played any later than Nov. 14. Schools opting not to participate in the playoffs also can schedule additional regular season contests. Since computer points will not be used this year, Joe Eitel is putting out unofficial rankings of entire divisions. This week, he has Big Red as the 11th best Division III squad. Bellbrook is No. 1, followed by Hamilton Badin and Chardon.
≤ Hunter Patterson again put up Madden-like numbers, as Oak Glen rolled past Keyser, 35-12. He carried the football nine times for 97 yards and two touchdowns (scoring on runs of 34 and 12). He also caught 11 Nick Chaney passes for 200 yards and a score. Patterson has 16 receptions in just two games for 344 yards. For his part, Chaney completed 18 of his 25 attempts for 274 yards and a score. Paxton Shuman contributed 85 yards and two touchdowns. The Golden Bears will face another stiff test this week when unbeaten John Marshall travels north. The Class AAA Monarchs own victories over Weir High (48-6) and Preston (46-13).
≤ Kobe Mitchell accounted for 332 yards of offense Saturday, but his efforts were not enough, as Harrison Central dropped a 33-21 verdict at Bellaire. The senior quarterback carried the football 18 times for 124 yards and scored twice. He also completed 15 passes for 208 yards and another score. H.C. tailback James Brooks was hurt early in the game and did not return. Trevor Carman caught seven Mitchell passes for 108 yards.
≤ Santino Arlia threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns in Madonna’s 38-20 road loss at Class AA Scott. He completed 27 of his 43 passing attempts. Lucky Pulice had nine receptions for the Blue Dons, while Thomas Sessi and Michael Burdine grabbed seven apiece. The Skyhawks ran for 397 yards in helping coach Shane Griffith earn his 100th victory.
≤ In Weir High’s 37-26 road defeat at Frankfort, the two teams combined for 49 points following intermission (the Falcons scoring 30 and the Red Riders 19). They also put up 411 yards of offense after the break, with Weir tallying 254 and Frankfort 167. Weir quarterback Anthony DiMatteis threw for 135 yards and a touchdown. He also added 65 yards on the ground.
≤ Catholic Central’s Isaiah Mullins put together the best individual rushing performance of Week 3, going for 136 yards and a touchdown in Thursday’s loss to Conotton Valley. Mullins did some damage taking direct snaps in the wildcat formation.
≤ Toronto and Buckeye Local staged what had to be the most exciting game of Week 3. It ended with the Red Knights rallying for a 27-20 victory. Coach Josh Franke’s club scored the game winner with 1:05 left to play on a 65-yard pass from Caleb Leasure to Devin Corrao. Toronto was down, 20-6, before scoring 21 unanswered points. The rally started when Leasure connected with Shane Keenan for a 48-yard touchdown. Garrett Dozier then scored from a yard away.
≤ 136, Isaiah Mullins, Catholic Central, touchdown
≤ 124, Kobe Mitchell, Harrison Central, 2 touchdowns
≤ 105, Tylik Sims, Big Red, touchdown
≤ 97, Hunter Patterson, Oak Glen, 2 touchdowns
≤ 88, Jamari Bass, Weir High
≤ 85, Paxton Shuman, Oak Glen, 2 touchdowns
≤ 84, Spencer Ostovich, Big Red, touchdown
≤ 326, Santino Arlia, Madonna 27 of 43, 2 scores
≤ 274, Nick Chaney, Oak Glen, 18 of 25, score
≤ 221, Caleb Leasure, Toronto, 13 of 22, 2 scores
≤ 208, Kobe Mitchell, Harrison Central, 15 of 34, score
≤ 187, Trey Hoover, Buckeye Local, 8 of 20, score
≤ 135, Anthony DiMatteis, Weir High, 14 of 26, score
≤ 133, Cade Kernahan, Big Red, 11 of 24, 2 scores
≤ 102, Gage Cline, Edison, 7 of 20
≤ 11, Hunter Patterson, Oak Glen, touchdown
≤ 9, Lucky Pulice, Madonna 55
≤ 7, Thomas Sessi, Madonna, 11 touchdown
≤ 7, Trevor Carman, Harrison Central, 108
≤ 7, Michael Burdine, Madonna, 76, touchdown
≤ 6, Gage Reitter, Weir High, 73. touchdown
≤ 4, Colten Littleton, Madonna, 52
≤ 4, Brayden Mineard, Oak Glen, 50
≤ 4, Jonathon Vermillion, Harrison Central, 45
≤ 4, JoJo Savage, Toronto, 19