Saturday, August 25, 2012

    Bellaire High 44, Steubenville Catholic Central 42   

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 WRAP-UP from, published 9/1/2012

PREVIEW from, published 8/25/2012


Written by Mario Saggio

The Steubenville Catholic Central Fighting Crusaders open the 2012 season Saturday night at Harding Stadium versus long-time rival Bellaire. This year’s contest marks the 38th between the two OVAC schools, Bellaire holding a 20-15-2 edge in the all-time series, including a 63-27 win at Harding Stadium last season.

The home-standing Crusaders, under the guidance of second-year head coach Steve Daley, look to improve upon last year’s 3-7 mark.

Central will again air it out offensively, thanks in large part to the efforts of junior signal-caller Brenton Colabella, entering his third year as a starter. Last season, Colabella logged 18 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards through the air. Midway through his four-year stint, he has passed for nearly 3,000 yards.

In last year’s contest with the Big Reds, Colabella completed 19 of 31 attempts for over 300 yards and three scores.

Senior split ends Zach Herrington and Michael Carapellotti bring talent and experience to a receiving corps that should get plenty of opportunities. Herrington led the Ohio Valley in receptions last year, his 42 catches going for roughly 400 yards and four scores. Carapellotti snagged 16 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns as a junior.

Herrington totaled five catches for 51 yards against Bellaire in 2011, while Carapellotti added an 18-yard scoring reception.

Junior Aleks Porreca should also see action at split end.

Vying for time in the slot will be senior Kyle Laukert and juniors Ryan Fletcher (4 receptions, 111 yards and one score in 2011), Khalil Jones, and Johnny DiCarlantonio, along with sophomore Chris Murphy.

Crusader hopes of establishing a stronger running game to balance the offensive arsenal will depend on the efforts of seniors Doug Maslowski and John-Anthony D’Ulisse, and sophomore Stone Romano.

Junior Luke Potenzini will be called upon when Central employs a fullback or tight end in their offensive set.

The return of four starters along the offensive front should bode well for the Crusader attack. Senior Geno Taglione and junior Jake McCann return at tackle, while seniors Kevan Zapolnik and Harley Ehrman man the guard spots. Junior M.J. Marchetta will line up at center. Juniors Marty Engle, Jimmy Joe Mort and Tony Godich provide depth, along with sophomore Jonathan Shrieve.

Tightening up a defense that has struggled in recent seasons will be paramount for the Crusaders, especially against a potent Bellaire arsenal.

Senior Steve Butto and Shrieve will line up at tackle, with help from Ehrman and Mort. Getting the nod at the end spots are Taglione and McCann, with Potenzini and Engle in the mix.

Manning the second line of defense will be linebackers D’Ulisse, Zapolnik, Romano and Murphy.

In the secondary, Laukert, Jones and Carapellotti will rotate at cornerback, while Porreca, who picked off two passes in the loss to Bellaire last year, Fletcher, and junior Louis Fallon should see duty at safety, along with Herrington.

Colabella will again handle punting duties for the Crusaders, with Maslowski solidifying the place-kicking.

Bellaire mentor Jose Davis enters his fourth campaign at the helm of the Big Reds, who posted a 6-4 mark in 2011. The Big Reds are looking for even more success behind the arm of junior quarterback Spencer Badia. As a sophomore, the Bellaire field general threw for 28 touchdowns and nearly 2,400 yards, including a record-setting 507 yards and seven scores against the Crusaders.

Junior Nick Patrone, with 22 catches for 200 yards and one score in 2011, is the Big Reds’ most experienced returnee at wideout. In last year’s win at Harding Stadium, Patrone caught five passes for 69 yards and a score. He will be joined by sophomore returnee Hunter Westlake. Senior Quinton Crosby, junior Kenny Hess, sophomore Tyler West and Union Local transfer Bralen Snell should all see plenty of action, as well.

Seniors Logan Koshenka and Nick Maffe will line up in the backfield behind Badia.

Bellaire returns plenty of size and experience along the offensive front with juniors Ryan Callarik (6-1, 200) and Wyatt Back (5-10, 235), as well as seniors Vince Kolenich (5-10, 235), Dalton Conroy (6-0, 240), and Jonathan Carter (5-11, 230).

Defensively, Kolenich, Callarik, Conroy and Back will man the frontline, while Koshenka and Maffe bring experience to the inside linebacking positions. Snell, West and Hess will also see time at linebacker.

Patrone leads the secondary after picking off five enemy aerials a year ago, including one against the Crusaders. Joining him in the defensive backfield will be Badia, Crosby, and Westlake.

Strong-legged Conroy heads up the Bellaire special teams after nailing 29 PATs and five field goals in 2011. Westlake will handle the punting chores for Bellaire.

Kickoff for Saturday’s contest is set for 7 p.m.


Written by Mario Saggio

Midway through the third quarter of Saturday night’s contest at Harding Stadium, victory seemed well in hand for Steubenville Catholic Central. Leading Bellaire 42-19, the home-standing Crusaders looked as if they were going to start the 2012 campaign with a resounding victory.

The visiting Big Reds had other plans, though, as the Belmont County gridders rallied for 25 points - the last six on the game’s final play - to post a thrilling 44-42 opening night victory.

Spencer Badia’s four-yard hookup with Nick Patrone as time expired completed the incredible comeback that seemed unimaginable when Central’s Doug Maslowski busted off a 56-yard scoring jaunt that staked the Crusaders to a 23-point lead with 6:18 left in the third quarter.

Bellaire responded with a 12-play, 63-yard drive that culminated in a 11-yard scoring toss from Badia to Quinton Crosby at the 3:12 mark. Dalton Conroy’s PAT cut the margin to 16.

On the Crusaders’ first play from scrimmage after the ensuing kickoff, the Big Reds recovered a loose ball at the hosts’ 30-yard line. Nine plays later, Nick Maffe pounded over the left side from a yard out on fourth-and-goal. A failed two-point conversion left the deficit at 42-32 just 12 seconds into the final stanza.

After forcing a four-and-out by the previously potent Crusader offense, Bellaire took over on their own 40-yard line. Badia tried to strike deep on first down but Central’s Kyle Laukert picked off the attempt, giving the ball back over to the hosts at their own 33.

The Crusaders garnered one first down before being forced to relinquish possession again. Brenton Colabella’s well-placed punt pinned the Big Reds back on their own 10-yard line. Five plays later, the visitors struck again when Badia connected with Hunter Westlake for a 45-yard scoring pass. Conroy’s kick was wide of the mark, leaving Central a three-point lead with 5:51 still on the clock.

Zach Herrington’s 22-yard reception seemed to stem the tide, but only briefly as Bellaire would begin their game-winning 20-play drive moments later following a short Crusader punt.

Prior to the Bellaire rally, Central had built their big lead with a balanced attack that kept the Bellaire defense on their heels through the first 30 minutes of action. After forcing a punt on the game’s first possession, the hosts embarked on a seven-play, 62-yard drive, highlighted by a 35-yard toss from Colabella to Herrington. The Crusaders first tally of the night came on a fourth-down completion in the left corner of the end zone from Colabella to Fletcher from 16 yards out. Stone Romano’s PAT upped the margin to 7-0 just 2:44 into the contest.

Herrington stopped the next Bellaire drive with an interception at his own 28, but the Big Reds’ defense stiffened and foreced a Crusader punt. Taking over at their own 20, the visitors needed just seven plays to march 80 yards. A Badia to Tyler West connection covered the last 11 yards. Conroy’s failed PAT kept the Crusader lead at 7-6 with 3:09 to play in the first quarter.

Central responded with a 74-yard drive that took 10 plays to reach paydirt. The drive was highlighted by a 38-yard strike from Colabella to Herrington and Romano’s 21 yards on four rushes. Again, the Crusader score came on a fourth-down pass, this one a 20-yarder to Michael Carapellotti, who made a diving catch in the left corner of the end zone.

Romano’s PAT boosted the lead to 14-6 seven seconds into the second quarter.

After forcing a Bellaire punt, the Crusaders took over on their own 30. On first down, Maslowski rattled off a 58-yard run around the left side, hurdling a defender before being brought down at the Bellaire 12-yard line. Three plays later, Colabella hit Herrington on a fade in the right corner of the end zone. Maslowski’s PAT was blocked, leaving the Crusader lead at 20-6 with 9:17 left in the half.

Bellaire answered that Crusader score with one of their own, on a 14-play, 77-yard drive. Midway through the drive, Romano pounced on an apparent Bellaire fumble, only to have it ruled an incomplete pass. Tyler Koshenka ended up capping the drive with a two-yard scoring run. Conroy’s kick made it 20-13 with 5:06 remaining until intermission.

The momentum seemed to be in the Big Reds’ favor when they forced a four-and-out by the Crusaders, but things swung back the other way when Central’s Jake McCann forced a fumble that was recovered by Fletcher near midfield.

Another Crusader punt put Bellaire back on their 24. Several plays later, Laukert recorded the first of his two defensive thefts on the night when Badia went long down the left sideline.

Taking over on their own 28, the hosts needed only two plays to double their lead. Maslowski ripped off a 23-yard run on a sweep to the left before Herrington outleapt a Big Reds’ defender to haul in Colabella’s toss and then sauntered the rest of the way across the goal line.

Romano’s PAT upped the margin to 27-13 with 33 seconds left in the half.

Two plays after intermission, Bellaire recovered a Crusader fumble at the hosts’ 16-yard line. One play later, Nick Maffe trotted around the left side untouched. A failed conversion left the deficit at eight points.

Central moved from their own 21 deep into Bellaire territory, helped largely by Khalil Jones’ 38-yard reception, before turning the ball over on downs at the Bellaire 39.

McCann came up big again, forcing another Big Reds fumble that was recovered by teammate Chris Murphy. Six plays later, Fletcher used some fancy footwork, letting the defensive pursuit overrun him before cutting back against the grain, on an 11-yard scoring jaunt. A botched snap on the PAT led to Murphy’s ad lib, avoiding the rush and scooping the ball to Aleks Porreca, who scored for the two-point conversion.

Five plays into Bellaire’s next possession, Jones picked off a Big Reds’ pass, giving Central possession on their own 44, setting up Maslowski’s score that gave the Crusaders their biggest lead of the night.

Maslowski finished the night with 175 yards on 20 carries to pace Central’s rushing attack. Romano added 36 yards on 6 carries, while Fletcher picked up 22 yards on two rushes, to go with his two receptions for 26 yards.

Colabella connected on 14 of his 25 pass attempts for 266 yards and four scores.

Herrington reeled in seven passes for 155 yards and two scores. Five other players - Jones, Laukert, Carapellotti, Maslowski, and Luke Potenzini - caught one pass each.

Defensively, Jones paced the Crusaders with 10 tackles, while Porreca and Romano recorded eight stops apiece. Herrington and Laukert both notched six tackles. Murphy added two quarterback sacks.

For Bellaire, Badia completed 38 of 63 pass attempts for 407 yards and four scores. Patrone was his favorite target, nabbing 15 catches for 163 yards. Crosby caught seven passes for 74 yards, Kenny Hess five for 50, Maffe five for 46, West two for 17, and Westlake one for 45.

Koshenka’s 57 yards on six carries paced the Big Reds in rushing. Badia added 37 yards on 10 carries, while Maffe toted the ball nine times for 29 yards.

Bellaire’s win increases their all-time series lead to 21-15-2. The Big Reds return to action Saturday afternoon, hosting Glen Dale (WV) John Marshall at Nelson Field. The Crusaders return to Harding Stadium Saturday night at 7 to host New Matamoras Frontier.

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