Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Bellaire High 63, Steubenville Catholic Central 27   

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 WRAP-UP from, published 9/17/2011

PREVIEW from, published 9/10/2011

Crusaders, Bellaire Meet For 37th Time

Written by Mario Saggio

Two long-time rivals collide Saturday night at Harding Stadium when Steubenville Catholic Central hosts Bellaire. Both teams enter the game at 1-1. The home-standing Crusaders defeated Tuscarawas Central Catholic 35-12 in their opener before dropping a 28-7 decision last Saturday at Weirton Madonna. The Big Reds were defeated 31-13 in week one by Wheeling Central Catholic but bounced back with a 30-8 win over John Marshall.

Saturday night’s battle should fill the air with footballs as both squads like to sling the pigskin.

Crusader sophomore Brenton Colabella directs first-year head coach Steve Daley’s spread offense that struggled last week, but has the ability to put up big numbers, as evidenced the previous Saturday. After two games, the Crusader quarterback is 17 of 34 for 305 yards with four scores and one interception.

Senior slot Brannt Pieniazek leads the Crusaders in receiving with five catches for 118 yards and three touchdowns.

Classmate Jon Emmerling and junior wideout Zac Herrington have snagged three passes each, for 72 and 44 yards, respectively.

Senior fullback Jim Panella has added two receptions for 33 yards and leads a Crusader ground game that needs to be more productive to balance the Catholic Central attack.

Defensively, Emmerling has paced the Crusaders in tackles from his linebacker spot, tallying 23 stops, including three for negative yardage. Senior defensive end Joe Fallon is tied for second among Central tacklers with 19. Four of his tackles have been for losses, to go with two sacks.

Matching Fallon’s 19 tackles is Panella. The stalwart linebacker has garnered two tackles for loss and two sacks, and forced an interception against Weirton Madonna that resulted in a 50-yard touchdown return by junior linebacker John-Anthony D’Ulisse last week.

Pieniazek is the leading tackler among the Central defensive backs, followed by sophomores Aleks Porreca and Ryan Fletcher, and senior Stephen Mihalyo.

The progress of sophomores Louis Fallon and Khalil Jones has added depth to the Crusader secondary, which will be tested against Bellaire’s aerial attack.

Colabella has averaged almost 38 yards per punt, while junior Doug Maslowski has solidified the kicking game, converting four of five PATs.

The visiting Big Reds are under the direction of third-year head coach Jose Davis. After struggling to a 1-9 record in Davis’ first season, Bellaire improved to 6-4 last season.

For the second week in a row, the Crusaders will face an opponent also led by a sophomore quarterback. After two games, 5-9, 150-pound Spencer Badia has completed 34 of 53 pass attempts for 473 yards, six touchdowns and one interception.

He was especially impressive in last week’s dismantling of John Marshall, connecting on 21 of 27 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns.

The Big Reds boast a talented receiving corps, led by seniors Chuck Myers, a 6-1, 195 tight end, and wideouts Manny Ray (5-9, 140) and Juwan Whetstone (5-9, 160).

5-10, 150-pound sophomore Nick Patrone is the other starting wideout in Bellaire’s spread offense.

Explosive senior Josh Davis (5-9, 150) is a threat both running and receiving, as well as on special teams, having returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score in the season opener.

Another trio of seniors, tackles Storm Hocker (6-3, 250) and Nick McMahon (6-1, 195) and guard Christian Edmond (5-10, 190), anchor the Big Reds’ offensive line.

Junior center Vince Kolenich (5-10, 260) and sophomore guard Ryan Callarik (6-1, 195) round out the starting unit.

Defensively, Hocker, Edmond and McMahon man the defensive front, with help from Callarik and junior Jonathan Carter (5-10, 245).

Myers and junior Logan Koshenka (5-10, 160) roam the outside of the Big Reds’ linebacking corps while senior Anthony Vinka (5-10, 180) and junior Nick Maffe (5-10, 165) man the inside.

Whetstone and Patrone line up at the corners, while Ray and Davis patrol the secondary from their safety spots.

Saturday’s meeting is the 37th all-time between these two long-time OVAC rivals, with the Big Reds holding a 19-15-2 advantage, including a 32-13 victory at Nelson Field last year.

Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.

Second-Quarter Outburst Leads Bellaire Over Crusaders

Written by Mario Saggio

Fans expecting to see a high-scoring, pass-filled shootout Saturday night at Harding Stadium had to be scratching their heads at the end of a scoreless first quarter between Steubenville Catholic Central and Bellaire. By the end of the first half, they had to be shaking their heads in disbelief as the visiting Big Reds had put up 35 unanswered points. Both teams then put on an aerial display over the next 24 minutes as Bellaire left town with a 63-27 victory.

Sophomore quarterback Spencer Badia passed for a school-record 507 yards and seven touchdowns for the Big Reds, completing 29 of 42 attempts. The Bellaire signal-caller completed passes to five different receivers, connecting with four different teammates on scoring tosses.

Badia led his squad on an impressive opening drive, moving the Big Reds from their own 33 to the Central 20-yard line where they faced a third-and-three. What looked like a drive-sustaining completion turned into an interception as Crusader sophomore Aleks Porreca wrestled the ball away from a Bellaire receiver at the five-yard line.

Neither team was able to muster much offense throughout the first quarter before the Big Reds’ offense caught fire, needing only four plays to go 70 yards as Badia found Juwan Whetstone behind the Crusader secondary for a 42-yard score early in the second quarter. Tyler Conroy’s PAT gave the visitors a 7-0 lead.

After forcing a three-and-out by the Central offense, Bellaire struck again as Badia hit senior wideout Chuck Myers on a second-down slant for a 47-yard touchdown. Conroy again converted the PAT.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for Catholic Central, as Bellaire’s Manny Ray picked off a Crusader pass on the first play after the kickoff and returned it 43 yards for the score. Conroy’s conversion kick upped the lead to 21-0.

Another Central punt gave the visitors possession on their own 44. Five plays later, the Big Reds were on the board again as Whetstone hauled in his second scoring pass of the night, this one down the right sideline from 41 yards out. Conroy’s extra point attempt again split the uprights, making the score 28-0 midway through the second quarter.

The Bellaire defense forced another Crusader punt before Badia capped a six-play, 72-yard drive with a 19-yard scoring toss to Ray. Conroy’s fifth PAT of the half put the score at 35-0.

The Big Reds showed no signs of letting up after intermission as Nick Patrone’s interception on the first play from scrimmage gave Bellaire possession on their own 35. Eight plays later, Patrone found himself on the receiving end of Badia’s 13-yard scoring toss. The Crusaders blocked Conroy’s conversion attempt.

The Central offense finally got untracked as they needed only four plays to go 65 yards for their first score of the night. Sophomore quarterback Brenton Colabella hit Jon Emmerling on a screen pass that the senior back turned into a 30-yard gain. After a 10-yard run by fullback Jim Panella, Colabella found Brannt Pieniazek down the right sideline for a 25-yard score with 7:04 left in the third quarter. Doug Maslowski added the PAT for Central.

On Bellaire’s ensuing first play from scrimmage, Porreca picked off his second pass of the night, giving the Crusaders possession at the Big Reds’ 44-yard line. Three plays later, Colabella connected with Pieniazek again, this time from 35 yards out and Maslowski’s PAT cut the margin to 41-14.

Bellaire answered on their next possession, marching 65 yards in six plays for the score. Despite tight coverage by the Central defense, Ray hauled in Badia’s fourth-and-two pass for a six-yard score. Conroy’s kick made it 48-14.

The Crusaders came right back, going 84 yards in seven plays for their third score of the night. Colabella hit Emmerling twice for 39 yards, and Panella once for 13 before toting the ball himself for an 11-yard gain that gave Central a first down at the Bellaire 18. From there, he connected with junior Michael Carapellotti, who made a diving catch in the left corner of the end zone with 1:37 left in the third quarter. Maslowski’s conversion attempt was blocked.

Badia connected with Ray from 33 yards out for their third, and final, scoring combination of the night on Bellaire’s next possession, an eight-play, 72-yard drive. Conroy converted his seventh PAT of the night for a 55-20 Bellaire lead.

Keyed by a 22-yard pass from Colabella to junior wideout Zac Herrington, the Crusaders punched in their final score of the night with an eight-play, 63-yard drive that was capped by Panella’s five-yard scoring jaunt. Maslowski capped the Crusader scoring with his third successful PAT.

Bellaire tacked on another score with 2:21 left after recovering a fumble at the Crusader 20-yard line. Bruce Burger’s four-yard run upped the lead to 61-27 before the Big Reds threw for a two-point conversion to close the scoring.

Ray led the Big Red receiving corps with 11 catches for 177 yards and three scores. Whetstone grabbed four passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and Myers snagged five for 104 and a score.

Patrone added five receptions for 69 yards and a score, while Josh Davis hauled in four for 45 stripes. The latter paced the Bellaire rushing attack with 58 yards on 11 carries. Burger added 21 yards on five rushes.

For the Crusaders, Colabella finished the night with 304 yards and three scores on 19 of 31 passing.

Pieniazek was on the receiving end of five of those spirals, totaling 128 yards and two scores. Besides Carapellotti’s scoring catch, Emmerling added 76 yards on four catches, Herrington grabbed five passes for 51 yards, and Panella caught three passes for 29 yards.

Panella’s scoring run was part of a nine-carry, 26-yard effort. Sophomore Khalil Jones added 43 yards on two carries.

The Big Reds move to 2-1 on the season, and up their series lead over the Crusaders to 20-15-2. They will be on the road this Friday night against Buckeye Local.

Catholic Central falls to 1-2 with the loss. The Crusaders will try to even their record Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Homecoming opponent Toronto.