Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Bellaire High 32, Steubenville Catholic Central 13   

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 WRAP-UP from, published 9/30/2010

PREVIEW from, published 9/24/2010

Crusaders Look To Make It Two In A Row vs. Bellaire

Written by Mario Saggio

Coming off of their initial win of the season, a 26-6 victory at Toronto, the Steubenville Catholic Central Crusaders look to make it two in a row when they take to the road again this Saturday, this time heading South on Route 7 to face the Big Reds of Bellaire.

Big plays were instrumental in the Crusaders’ victory last Friday night, as junior Jon Emmerling returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for one score, freshman quarterback Brenton Colabella hit junior wideout Brannt Pieniazek on a 56-yard scoring connection, and senior safety Vince Parise returned an interception 24 yards for another touchdown. Central also scored on junior tailback Jordan Piergallini’s six-yard run.

Colabella finished the night eight of 14 passing for 138 yards, while Emmerling and senior fullback Cody Lynskey rushed for 37 yards apiece to pace the Crusader ground game.

Another key to the Central victory was limiting turnovers. After four giveaways in each of their first three games, the Crusaders only turned the ball over once at Toronto.

The Crusader defense was stellar against the Red Knights. In addition to Parise’s score, Central held Toronto scoreless until less than three minutes remained in the contest.

Bellaire, on the other hand, is coming off a 54-7 defeat at the hands of Belmont County rival St. Clairsville last Friday, squaring their season record at 2-2. After a 56-7 loss to Wheeling Central in the season opener, the Big Reds garnered wins against John Marshall (38-29) and Buckeye Local (43-36 in overtime).

Head coach Jose Davis is in his second year as mentor at his alma mater. The former Kent State star led Bellaire to playoff appearances twice as a player, including a berth in the 1995 Ohio Division IV state title game.

Quarterback Anthony Rocchio leads this year’s Bellaire offense, having completed 54 of 99 passes for 658 yards and 10 touchdowns, while only being intercepted four times so far this season. The 5-10, 170-pound senior has also added 43 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Devin Ward, a 5-10, 140-pound senior, has been Rocchio’s main target. snaring 26 passes for 360 yards and seven touchdowns. Juniors Kirk Ray (5-9, 140) and Charles Myers (6-0, 185) have also been instrumental in the Big Reds’ passing attack. Ray having snagged 11 aerials for 120 yards and one touchdown. while Myers has caught six passes for 117 yards and a score.

5-9, 140-pound junior Josh Davis leads Bellaire with 107 yards rushing, on 34 carries, while Logan Koshenka, a 5-10, 155-pound sophomore, has scored twice and added 58 yards on the ground in 21 attempts.

Bellaire’s offensive line is headed by senior tackles Josh Tolliver (6-2, 210) and Pete Wiggins, (6-2, 215), along with junior guard Storm Hocker (6-3, 295) and senior Mike Wallace (6-1, 210).

Defensively, Bellaire’s 5-3 defense is paced by Tolliver, who led the team in tackles last season. The stalwart end again leads the Big Reds in tackles, as well as tackles for loss, sacks and fumble recoveries.

Other notables up front include Wiggins, and juniors Christian Edmund (5-10, 180) and Nick McMahon (6-0, 182).

Senior Ryan Marling (5-10, 150), junior Anthony Vinka (5-10, 165), along with Myers and Koshenka, anchor the linebacking corps.

The secondary is led by Ward, Davis, Ray and Rocchio.

Ray and Davis are the Big Reds’ main kick returners, while Ward handles punt return duties for Bellaire.

Sophomore Dalton Conroy (5-11, 195) handles the placekicking and punting duties.

Saturday will mark the 36th meeting between the two programs, with Bellaire holding an 18-15-2 advantage in this long-standing series. Catholic Central won last year’s tilt 34-27 at Harding Stadium.

Kickoff for Saturday’s matchup at Nelson Field is set for 12:30 p.m.



Bellaire Aerial Attack Too Much For Crusaders

Written by Mario Saggio

The Bellaire Big Reds used a potent passing game to defeat Steubenville Catholic Central 32-13 Saturday afternoon at Nelson Field. Senior quarterback Anthony Rocchio completed 19 of 33 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns to lead Bellaire to the victory that improves their record to 3-2, while the defeat drops the Crusaders to 1-4.

After forcing a Crusader punt on the initial series of the game, Bellaire moved deep into Central territory before a fourth-down end zone pass attempt was broken up by Central junior cornerback Brannt Pieniazek.

Unable to move the ball, Central punted again on their next series, giving Bellaire possession on their own 36-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Rocchio hit Devin Ward in the left flat and the fleet-footed senior picked up a key block before racing past the Crusader defense for the score with 4:24 left in the first quarter.

While the Central offense continued to struggle, the combination of Rocchio to Ward, this time on a 31-yard connection across the middle, put Bellaire on the board again with 7:34 remaining in the half. A two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the lead at 12-0.

The visiting Crusaders cut the lead in half on their next possession, marching 67 yards in 11 plays before junior tailback Jon Emmerling capped the drive with a 1-yard jaunt on fourth down just 1:41 before halftime. The conversion attempt failed.

Bellaire took the ensuing kickoff and drove from their own 35-yard line to the Crusaders’ 25 before another fourth-down pass attempt failed to connect.

The Big Reds’ opened the second-half with a five-play, 65-yard scoring drive that culminated in the third Rocchio-to-Ward scoring pass of the day. This one from eight yards out on a spectacular leaping grab in the left corner of the end zone, extending Bellaire’s lead to 18-6. A completed two-point pass attempt was stopped short of the goal line.

Catholic Central came right back with a scoring drive of their own, going 58 yards in eight plays. Freshman quarterback Brenton Colabella connected with junior wideout Collin Valero for 21 yards and Pieniazek for 23 yards before junior tailback Jordan Piergallini’s two-yard burst and Alex Bednar’s extra point pulled the Crusaders within 18-13 with 6:37 remaining in the third quarter.

Bellaire would answer just 3:16 later with a seven-play, 66-yard drive of their own to increase the margin to 25-13 after Rocchio hit junior wideout Chuck Myers from a yard out and Josh Tolliver added the PAT.

Central went three-and-out following the kickoff before Bednar’s punt gave Bellaire possession on their own 33-yard line. The hosts mounted a 10-play drive that took them deep into enemy territory before the Crusader defense stiffened and sacked Rocchio on fourth down.

Another exchange of punts presented Catholic Central with a golden opportunity to get back in the game. An intentional grounding penalty and a shanked punt gave Central the ball at the Bellaire 25-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Colabella then hit a wide open Emmerling over the middle for a first down at the six-yard line.

On first-and-goal, Colabella looked to connect with Pieniazek on a slant, but Bellaire’s Josh Davis stepped in front of the pass, evaded the Central pursuit and rambled down the left sideline for a 103-yard score. Josh Tolliver’s PAT gave the Big Reds their final point of the day with 8:31 remaining in the contest.

Central was forced to punt on their next possession and Bellaire drove from their own 40 again deep into Crusader territory before Pieniazek’s interception in the end zone stopped the drive.

A Crusader fumble gave the ball right back to Bellaire, but the Big Reds ran out the clock to end the game.

Ward led the Big Reds with seven receptions for 163 yards, while Myers had three catches for 43 yards.

In addition to his interception return, Davis paced the Bellaire ground attack with 58 yards on 14 carries. Rocchio added another 30 yards on seven rushes.

For the Crusaders, Colabella finished 10 of 24 passing for 110 yards, with Pieniazek and Valero snagging three passes each.

Emmerling was the Crusaders leading rusher with 32 yards.

Both teams return to action Friday night at 7:30.

Bellaire travels to Cadiz to take on Harrison Central, while the Crusaders head to Wheeling Island Stadium to face the Maroon Knights of Wheeling Central Catholic.