Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Weirton (WV) Madonna 41, Steubenville Catholic Central 0   

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 WRAP-UP from, published 9/16/2010

PREVIEW from, published 9/10/2010

Crusaders Face Defending West Virginia Class A Champs

Written by Mario Saggio

After an 0-2 start, things don’t get any easier for Steubenville Catholic Central, as the Crusaders return home to Harding Stadium this Saturday to take on defending West Virginia Class A Champion Weirton Madonna. The Dons are in the midst of a 27-game regular season winning streak, including last week’s 56-0 rout of Paden City.

The Crusaders, on the other hand, have had a hard time getting on track so far this season, managing only one touchdown in their first two games, committing four turnovers in each if those outings.

Freshman quarterback Brenton Colabella has completed 12 of 25 passes for 112 yards on the season, with junior wideout Brannt Pieniazek being his main target, latching onto a team-leading five passes, including four for 38 yards last week against Ridgewood.

The Crusader rushing game is led by junior tailback Jon Emmerling and senior fullback Cody Lynskey, while junior Jimmy Panella has the only Crusader touchdown and classmate David Bertoia led Central in rushing last week.

The Central defense has been vulnerable to the big play, which could spell trouble against a Blue Don attack that has scored on two runs, a pass, and a punt return all over 70 yards.

Madonna Head Coach Bob Kramer has compiled an impressive 104-32 mark during his career and resurrected a Blue Don program that has racked up a 39-3 record over the past three seasons. Despite the loss of 11 seniors from last year’s state title team, there are plenty of weapons on hand as the Dons attempt to repeat as state champions.

Among them are senior tailback Connor Arlia, who has two rushing and two receiving touchdowns, as well as a 182-yard rushing performance in the season-opening 42-13 win over Valley.

Senior fullback Chris Eloi has added two touchdowns on the ground, while fellow senior, quarterback Chris Perna, has rushed for a score and added four more through the air, including two to junior wideout Clay Rokisky.

Defensively, the Blue Dons have been just as impressive, holding Paden City to a mere three first downs and 51 total yards last week.

Saturday’s game will be the 11th meeting between the two cross-river rivals, with the Crusaders holding a 7-2-1 edge in the series, although Madonna won last year’s tilt, 33-8 at Weirton’s Jimmy Carey Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.



Written by Mario Saggio

The Steubenville Catholic Central Crusaders suffered their second consecutive shutout, and third loss in as many starts, Saturday night at Harding Stadium when they fell 41-0 to defending West Virginia Class A Champion Weirton Madonna.

The visiting Blue Dons jumped out to a 13-0 first quarter lead before putting the game away with four touchdowns in the second half en route to their third win of the season and 28th consecutive regular-season victory.

Senior tailback Connor Arlia led the way for Madonna, grinding out 199 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Defensively, the Blue Don defense held Central to three first downs, 56 yards total offense, and no pass completions, while forcing four turnovers.

After forcing a Crusader punt on the game’s initial drive, Madonna drove 58 yards in seven plays to open the scoring. Arlia rambling the final 20 yards with 6:58 left in the opening stanza. Joe McCombs added the PAT.

Madonna’s Christian Roe blocked a Central punt on the next possession, giving the visitors possession at the Crusader 27-yard line. Five plays later, Arlia got his second score of the night on a 1-yard run with 3:58 still to go in the first quarter.

The second quarter brought a heavy downpour but no further scoring as the half ended with Madonna leading 13-0.

After an exchange of punts to start the second half, Madonna marched 43 yards in five plays before senior fullback Chris Eloi punched it in from the seven-yard line and McCombs’ conversion upped Madonna’s lead to 20-0.

One play after the kickoff, Blue Don defender Hayden Greenlief intercepted a Central screen pass, setting Madonna up in excellent field position on the Crusader 13-yard line. Arlia rumbled down to the one on first down, before finding paydirt on the next play. McComb converted again to give the Dons a 27-0 advantage with 4:43 left in the third quarter.

The Crusaders went three-and-out on their next possession, and Madonna took over at the Central 37-yard line. Arlia would cap the 10-play drive, bulling in from the one-yard line for his fourth score of the night. McCombs’ conversion upped the lead to 34-0 with 9:59 left in the fourth quarter.

Minutes later, Madonna defensive back Marcello Biondillo’s interception return for a touchdown was called back on a penalty, but still gave the Blue Dons excellent field position at the Crusader 12. Roe’s seven-yard run two plays later, and McCombs’ kick, closed out the night’s scoring.

Blue Don quarterback Chris Perna hit all six of his passing attempts for 64 yards. Arlia was his main target, with four catches for 42 yards.

Junior tailback Jon Emmerling led the Crusader rushing attack with 35 yards on 11 carries, while fellow junior Jordan Piergallini added 19 yards on five carries.

Central returns to action Friday night at Clarke Hinkle Stadium to take on long-time rival Toronto. Madonna is idle this week before returning to action September 24 at Cameron.