STEUBENVILLE - One score came via a pick six and a second following a fake field goal as Big Red held off Buffalo Bishop Timon-St. Jude 21-7 at Harding Stadium Friday.
Reno Saccoccia's gridders, winners of 15 straight regular season contests, are now 3-0 and will entertain Brooke next week in the seventh Battle of the Bridge.
Senior defensive back Tajuan Lawson electrified the home crowd when he stepped in front of a Derick Simpson pass and returned it 62 yards for a third quarter score. His interception was one of three recorded by the Big Red defense (Bryan Pierro and Michael Jett had the others).
MAKING A RUN — Steubenville Big Red’s Dashon Redman runs the ball during Friday’s 21-7 victory over BishopTimon-St. Jude at Harding Stadium.
The score off the fake field goal came late in the second period. Taking over at its 28, Big Red moved to the Tiger 15 where the drive appeared to stall. Saccoccia sent senior kicker Luke Smith in for what would have been a 32-yard attempt.
Instead, Evan Westlake, the holder, turned quarterback and found fellow senior Matt Petrella for six points. The 13-play march included a key fourth down conversion, senior quarterback Corey Stinson hitting Petrella for 13 stripes. The ball was spotted at the Big Red 34 when Saccoccia decided to roll the dice.
The game's initial touchdown came in the first stanza when senior LeShawn Luke traveled seven yards on one of Big Red's patented stretch plays. His run capped a 12-play, 54 yard drive. Westlake's grab of a tipped Stinson pass gave Saccoccia's crew a key first down just two plays before Luke found the end zone.
Big Red 21, Bishop Timon 7
Bishop Timon 0 0 0 7 - 7
Big Red 7 7 7 0 - 21
BR: Luke 7 run (Smith kick)
BR: Petrella 15 pass from Westlake (Smith kick)
BR: Lawson 62 interception return (Smith kick)
BT: Harris 13 pass from Giola (Giola kick)
RUSHING: Big Red 44-173-1 (Stinson 12-15; Luke 3-13-1; Hayden 14-55; Redman 12-86; Jett 3-4) Bishop Timon 27-39 (Brown 7-17; Recor 10-24; Giola 4-8; Simpson 6-(-10).
PASSING: Big Red 12-21-94-1-1 (Stinson 11-20-79-0-1; Westlake 1-1-15-1); Bishop Timon 7-16-103-1-3 (Simpson 3-10-30-0-2; Brown 2-3-30-0-1; Giola 1-1-13-1; Recor 1-2-30).
RECEIVING: Big Red (Petrella 4-49-1; Saltsman 1-9; Westlake 5-41; Redman 1-(-4); Hayden 1-(-1); Bishop Timon (Vacarro 2-45; Harris 2-38-1; Brown 1-11; Recor 1-4; Giola 1-5).
FIRST DOWNS: Big Red 15; Bishop Timon 9.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Big Red 11-83; Bishop Timon 8-53.
PUNTS: Big Red 2-34; Bishop Timon 4-39.
FUMBLES-LOST: Big Red 0-0; Bishop Timon 2-0.
Smith was a perfect three for three on conversion tries.
Bishop Timon, now 1-1, got its score in the fourth period on a 13-yard pass from Tom Giola to Demone Harris. Giola, who also handled all the kicking duties for the Tigers, was one of four quarterbacks used by coach Charlie Comerford in the contest.
Derick Simpson got the start in place of Ryan Dougherty, who went down with an ACL injury in week one. Simpson was knocked out in the third period, Giola taking over. JD Recor and Jackson Brown also took snaps for the Tigers.
Comerford's squad appeared to have a touchdown in the third quarter when Recor sprinted 95 yards with a Smith kick following Lawson's interception. That score was nullified, however, by a penalty, giving the Tigers a first down at the Big Red 30. Bishop Timon moved to the Big Red five before the defense stiffened and the drive stalled.
For the game, Big Red managed 267 yards in offense (173 on the ground and 94 through the air). Redman bulled his way for 86 rushing stripes and Hayden added 55. Westlake had five receptions for 41 and Petrella four for 49.
"I didn't coach well and our coaches didn't coach well," Saccoccia said. "Our seniors didn't lead and our team didn't play well.
"It was a win against a good football team. Tomorrow we'll go to work on what we need to fix and we'll continue working to be a better football team."