A look back at the season that was
STEUBENVILLE — So, just like that — they’re gone!
With Big Red’s loss in the Division III, Region 9 quarterfinals combined with Brooke and Madonna falling short of earning spots in the West Virginia playoffs, the fastest weeks of the year (aka the high school football season) are over in The Herald Star/Daily Times coverage area.
It seems appropriate then to use this final football wrap-up story to take a look inside some numbers from the 2021 season.
Let’s start with this one.
When Big Red took down Tallmadge in its playoff opener, Reno Saccoccia earned coaching victory number 401. He and Jim France, who coached at Akron Coventry and Akron
Manchester, now are the winningest coaches in Ohio high school football history. It took France 49 years to reach that mindboggling mark. Saccoccia did it in 39 seasons.
“It takes a village,” Saccoccia said after earning his 400th victory. “It takes players and we have had great players. It takes great kids and great parents and we’ve had that. It takes a community that backs everything we are doing.
“It takes support from the administration and that support has been given especially in tough times. It takes buy in from the families of assistant coaches because assistant coaches give so much time.
“I’m thankful for my family and my close friends because they allow me to do what I love doing. If one of those ingredients is missing — it’s like the garlic missing from the Sunday sauce, it’s not going to work.”
2,123 and 29
Santino Arlia’s career as Madonna’s quarterback came to an end with the loss to Morgantown Trinity. His playing days may be over but his accomplishments might stand for many years to come.
With his showing against Trinity, Arlia ended his senior campaign with 2,213 passing yards and 29 touchdowns.
He now holds all Madonna passing records for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns for a single game, a season and a career.
His 2021 totals came in nine games. The Blue Dons collected a forfeit win over Pittsburgh Carrick early in the season.
464 and 9
Those numbers represent Spencer Ostovich’s two-game total for the playoffs. The Steubenville junior ran for 207 yards and four scores against Tallmadge. He then ripped off 257 yards against Kenston and collected five additional touchdowns.
Ostovich, who also had a stellar season on the defensive side of the football, finished the year with 1,128 yards on 165 carries, averaging nearly 7 yards a trip. He found the end zone 15 times.
His rushing total and touchdowns both were the best in The Herald Star/Daily Times coverage area.
5 and 4
With its 14-7 win over Preston, Brooke finished its season at 5-4, giving the Bruins their first winning season since 2015. Brooke had won just nine games combined over the previous five seasons.
“I know it’s not a state championship but finishing with a winning record is something that hasn’t happened here in a while,” said Brooke coach Mac McLean. “Give all the credit to our staff and these kids, we only have four senior starters so there will definitely be high expectations coming into next season.”
Two of the Bruins who will be returning — Jace Campinelli and Braelyn Sperringer, had stellar games against Preston. Campinelli ran for 94 yards and a score while Sperringer ran for 64 yards and passed for 83 and a score.
431 and 3
In Big Red’s two playoff games, Phaeton Hill threw for 431 yards and three touchdowns.
Against Tallmadge, he passed for 224. He then threw for 217 in the Kenston game.
Hill, a junior and a first year starter for Steubenville, finished his season with 1,979 passing yards and 17 touchdowns.
Five for a grand
Five area quarterbacks ended their seasons with more than 1,000 passing yards.
In addition to Arlia and Hill, Edison’s Gage Cline, Harrison Central’s Hayden Cassidy and Toronto’s Aiden Mick also joined the grand club.
Cline finished with 1433 passing yards, Cassidy had 1,288 and Mick put up 1,067.
Hill, Cline and Cassidy all will be returning in 2022.
49 for 931
Given the season Arlia had, it makes sense that one of his receivers would be the area’s receiving leader.
That teammate is Evan Quering. He finished with 49 catches for 931 and 13 touchdowns. All three numbers were the best in the area.
The number of total points scored in Big Red’s playoff games. Steubenville downed Tallmadge 41-35 before falling to Kenston 49-42.
That number becomes even more noteworthy when you consider only 7 points were scored during the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for Big Red, those points were scored by Kenston.
Not a number associated with the 2021 season but the year I began writing this weekly roundup story.
For 12 seasons, I have received plenty of assistance. I want to thank all current area coaches and those who formerly coached in the area. In addition, I want to give a shout out to the folks who provided me with updated statistics.
It’s been an enjoyable ride.
• 257, Spencer Ostovich, Steubenville, 5 touchdowns
• 121, Seth Humberson, Madonna, 2 touchdowns
• 106, Matt Greenlief, Oak Glen, touchdown
• 94, Jace Campinelli, Brooke, touchdown
• 217, Phaeton Hill, Steubenville, 13 of 20, score
• 169, Santino Arlia, Madonna, 11 of 27
• 6, Isaac Hill, Steubenville, 126, touchdown
• 5, Gavin Moore, Brooke, 42
• 5, Inky Jones, Steubenville 39
• 4, Chase Littleton, Madonna, 66
• 3, Dylan Conley, Oak Glen 80
• 3, Evan Quering, Madonna, 50