Saturday, September 1, 2012

    Steubenville Catholic Central 23, New Matamoras Frontier 8   

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 WRAP-UP from, published 9/8/2012

PREVIEW from, published 9/1/2012


Written by Mario Saggio

Steubenville Catholic Central will look to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss against Bellaire in last Saturday’s season opener when they host Frontier, a 20-14 winner over Shenandoah last week. It is the first matchup between the two schools since 1980, when the Crusaders took a 48-0 decision.

Last Saturday, the Crusaders had built up a 42-19 lead against the visiting Big Reds, who rattled off 25 consecutive points, securing the win on the game’s final play.

Despite the setback, Steve Daley’s young charges surprised many with their effort, giving rise to hopes of better things to come. Junior quarterback Brenton Colabella began his third season at quarterback with another impressive effort, completing 14 of 25 passes for 262 yards and four touchdowns.

Senior wideout Zach Herrington was his favorite target, snagging seven passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Fletcher added two catches for 26 yards and a score, while five other players were targeted once. Senior Michael Carapellotti was one of those, hauling in a 20-yard touchdown.

Senior Doug Maslowski was impressive in his first start at running back, piling up 175 yards and a score on 20 carries. Fletcher contributed 22 yards and a touchdown on just two carries.

Defensively, several players stood out for the Crusaders. Kyle Laukert picked off two Bellaire passes to go with his six tackles. Fellow defensive back Khalil Jones led the squad with 10 tackles and an interception.

Fletcher, Stone Romano, and Aleks Porreca chipped in with eight tackles each, with the first two adding fumble recoveries. Herrington added another pass theft to the Crusaders’ defensive effort.

Sophomore Chris Murphy also turned in a stellar effort with four tackles, including two sacks, and a fumble recovery.

Romano was perfect on four conversion attempts, while Colabella averaged nearly 36 yards on six punts. Fletcher totaled 90 yards on five kickoff returns.

Frontier, under seventh-year head coach Todd Bradford, came from behind to secure last week’s win on the road. Two second-half scores keyed the effort that snapped a 10-game losing streak.

Lining up in a traditional wing-T, the Cougars rarely throw the ball, preferring to keep it on the ground. 6-0, 165-pound senior Jordan Jefferson is the triggerman for the Frontier attack.

He is joined in the backfield by 6-1, 180-pound senior Taylor Merckle and 5-11, 170-pound junior Jared Howell. Quinton Humphrey, a 6-0, 180-pound freshman, and Eddie Salazar, a 5-5, 140-pound senior, also will be called upon to carry the ball.

Merckle and Humphrey tallied rushing touchdowns last week.

On the rare occasions that the Cougars do throw, 6-0, 165-pound junior Dylan Ashbar and 5-10, 170-pound senior Dusty Wright will be the primary targets.

The Cougars do boast some size along the offensive front. Senior Cole Farley (6-4, 255) and junior Austin Kimble (6-3, 270) are the tackles. Seniors Kris Comstock (6-0, 220) and Takoda Boley (6-0, 185) line up inside them at guard, while 6-1, 230-pound senior Tyler Hunt is at center.

Defensively, the Cougars five-man front is flanked by Merckle and 6-1, 175-pound senior Josh Kirkbride. The interior line is manned by Farley, Comstock, and Kimble. The latter returned an interception 15 yards for the winning score late in the third quarter of last week’s game.

Wright and 5-10, 175-pound junior Dakota Welker hold down the linebacker spots while Salazar, Jefferson, Ashbar and 5-6, 140-pound senior Jared Irvin patrol the secondary.

Kickoff for Saturday’s contest is set for 7:00 p.m. at Harding Stadium.


Written by Mario Saggio

Steubenville Catholic Central’s high-powered offensive attack struck for three scores in limited duty Saturday night as the Crusaders captured a 23-8 victory over Frontier in a game that was called with 8:39 remaining in the second quarter because of powerful storms that moved through the area.

Steve Daley’s Crusaders took the opening kickoff and marched from their own 31 to to the Frontier 34, aided by a 33-yard connection from Brenton Colabella to his favorite target - Zach Herrington, before a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

The visiting Cougars moved into Central territory but sophomore Stone Romano’s sack halted the drive and forced a Frontier punt that rolled into the end zone for a touchback.

Six plays later, the hosts were on the scoreboard by virtue of senior Kyle Laukert’s 26-yard scoring grab from Colabella, who also hit Ryan Fletcher for 32 yards and Michael Carapellotti for 13 during the drive. Chris Murphy connected with Fletcher for a two-point conversion that staked Central to an 8-0 lead with 4:01 left in the opening quarter.

On Frontier’s second play following the ensuing kickoff, heavy pressure forced an errant pass that was picked off by Aleks Porreca at the Cougar 23-yard line.

The Crusaders extended their lead just three plays later when Colabella and Fletcher hooked up again from 25 yards out. Murphy again took the snap and rolled right on the conversion, this time hitting Luke Potenzini for the two points that increased the margin to 16-0 with 2:24 remaining in the first quarter.

The Cougars cut the deficit in half when Taylor Merckle slipped through a hole in the right side of the Crusader line, and broke a tackle en route to a 54-yard scoring run just 1:09 into the second stanza. Jared Howell added the two-point conversion run.

Central wasted no time regaining the momentum. Taking over on their own 37, consecutive completions to Fletcher and Herrington netted 20 yards before the Colabella to Laukert combination struck pay dirt from 43 yards out. Romano’s successful PAT made it 23-8 with 9:33 to play before what normally would be intermission.

Moments after Frontier began their next possession, lightning strikes precipitated numerous delays before a torrential downpour led to the game being called.

Colabella was stellar in victory, connecting on 10 of his 13 pass attempts, totaling 193 yards and three scores. Laukert (two catches)and Fletcher (four catches) each notched 69 yards receiving, while Herrington and Carapellotti both caught two passes for 42 and 13 yards, respectively.

Central hosts Columbiana Saturday night at 7, while Frontier returns home against Buckeye Trail Friday night.


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