STEUBENVILLE - Nine Steubenville players reached the end zone Friday as Big Red rolled to a 68-13 victory of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute at Harding Stadium.
The win moves Reno Saccoccia's gridders to 7-2 and keeps them squarely in the hunt for a Region 11 playoff berth. Big Red was ranked sixth entering the contest with the Blue Devils, who hail from Toronto, Canada and are considered a Division I school by Ohio standards.
Early indications are that Steubenville moved to No. 4 in the region.
GAINING YARDS — Steubenville Big Red’s Cody Saltsman gains yards after catching a pass during Friday’s 68-13 win at Harding Stadium over Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
"It was a good team win, everyone had fun including our opponents," Saccoccia, who began removing his first team late in the first quarter, said. "Originally, we had a nice game scheduled for this week but it fell through. So I'm glad they (Laurier) came down and played us.
"We were able to get all our seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen some playing time."
The Big Red running attack had its best night of the season, grinding out 555 yards on 49 carries and scoring eight touchdowns. Junior Garon Lytle came off Saccoccia's bench to collect 168 on just six trips. Freshman Johnny Blue added 130 on seven totes and junior Donte Brown contributed 104 via his 11 tries. All three also crossed the goal.
Big Red 68, Sir Wilfrid Laurier 13
Laurier 0 0 6 7 - 13
Big Red 21 14 20 13 - 68
BR: Reed 3 run (Smith kick)
BR: Redman 18 run (Smith kick)
BR: Luke 47 yard interception return (Smith kick)
BR: McClurg 31 run (Smith kick)
BR: Brown 2 run (Smith kick)
BR: Sherrill 1 run (Smith kick)
BR: Lytle 55 run (Stover kick)
BR: Sherrill 20 run (kick failed)
L: Downey 63 yard kick return (kick failed)
BR: Herrington 9 pass from Collaros (Stover kick)
BR: Blue 65 run (kick failed)
L: Debeau 30 pass from Torres (Archer kick)
RUSHING: Big Red 41-555-8 (Redman 3-58-1; Lytle 6-168-1; Jett 1-2; Stinson 3-(-14); McClurg 1-31-1; D. Brown 11-104-1; Reed 1-3-1; Lawson 1-17; Agresta 2-4; Blue 7-130-1; Sherrill 2-21-2; Collaros 1-0; Davis 1-23; Ellis 1-10); Laurier 31-104 (Simeon 10-79; McPherson 12-16; Carluccio 3-14; Team 1-0; Torres 1-(-5)).
PASSING: Big Red 3-9-31-1 (Stinson 2-6-22; Collaros 1-2-9-1; Agresta 0-1); Laurier 7-18-94-1-3 (Mancev 6-16-64-0-3; Torres 1-2-30-1)
RECEIVING: Big Red (Saltsman 1-16; Pierro 1-6; Herrington 1-9-1); Laurier (Balfour 1-1; Archer 1-18; Debeau 2-32-1; Downey 1-23; McPherson 1-23; Simeon 1-(-3)).
FIRST DOWNS: Big Red 25; Laurier 11.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Big Red 6-70; Laurier 1-5.
PUNTS: Big Red 0-0; Laurier 4-30.
FUMBLES-LOST: Big Red 3-2; Laurier 4-3.
The hosts needed less than three minutes to start putting the game away. After the defense stopped Laurier cold on its first possession (Charlie Keenan and Manard Reed combined on a huge tackle for a loss), Big Red went to work.
Dashon Redman, the hero of last week's victory at Morgantown, collected 40 yards on his first two attempts. Reed then rumbled to pay dirt from three yards away. Following a Cameron King fumble recovery (the Big Red defense recovered three Laurier fumbles and recorded a trio of interceptions), Redman sprinted 18 yards for the second touchdown.
On the next Devil possession, Teshawn Luke stepped in front of a Damjion Mancev pass then raced 47 yards for the third score. Kai McClurg turned his only carry of the evening into a 31-yard scoring burst. Brown capped the first-half scoring, going over from the two. Luke Smith nailed five straight extra points to help Big Red build a 35-0 lead at the intermission.
The second half began with Matt Sherrill scoring from a yard out. Juwan Williams' interception stopped a Laurier march and Lytle made the visitors pay when he broke loose and scooted 55 yards. Ethan Stover came on to nail the conversion.
Blue got credit for Big Red's third interception and Sherrill recorded his second touchdown one play later, motoring 20 yards.
Laurier, now 3-2, finally scored late in the third quarter, Shaqeem Downey returning a Big Red kickoff 63 yards.
The score in the first meeting between Big Red and Laurier moved to 62-6 when freshman Dimitris Collaros hit Lucas Herrington from nine yards out. Blue added the final Big Red points, traveling 65 yards.
Seldon Debeau got credit for the game's final touchdown, scoring on a 30-yard pass from Khourtney Torres. Troy Archer nailed his conversion try.
Big Red will close its regular season next week when Akron Butchel invades Harding Stadium. The Griffins, coached by Ricky Powers, were 4-4 heading into today's game with Akron Kenmore. Big Red and Butchel have played eight times in the past, Saccoccia and company holding a 6-2 series lead.
"We have a big game next Friday," Saccoccia noted. "There's a lot riding on the Butchel game as far as the playoffs are concerned. We have to make sure our kids are ready.
"I love the attitude our kids have right now. We've overcome a ton of adversity this season and the attitude has been improving every week."