STEUBENVILLE - Something had to give here Saturday night when a pair of 4-2 squads aspiring to earn OHSAA playoff berths met on the Reno Field turf at Harding Stadium.
Barnesville and Steubenville Central have had similar seasons as both dropped their season openers. However, the Shamrocks and Crusaders have both bounced back.
Steubenville Central's Brenton Colabella entered the weekend as the Ohio Valley's top passer with just under 1,600 yards. The strong-armed senior did nothing to tarnish that mark as he threw for 201 yards and a touchdowns in a dominant 63-14 Crusader victory over the suddenly struggling Shamrocks of first-year head coach Matt Johnson.
BARNESVILLE’S Colton Pritchard looks to get outside during Saturday’s game at Harding Stadium in Steubenville against Catholic Central.
Barnesville found itself facing an early three-touchdown deficit before the western Belmont County club rallied for a pair of second quarter touchdowns to trail by 28-14 at halftime.
Any momentum the Rocks may have generated, however, was quickly shattered in the third quarter when two pass thefts were turned into Crusader touchdowns. Additionally, Barnesville was guilty of intentional grounding in its end zone, handing SCC an additional two points.
By third quarter's end, the Green had fallen behind by 50-14.
"Basically, we were outmanned at every position by a very good Central team," Johnson remarked afterward. "I was very proud of our kids' hard work all night. They fought hard four quarters. Unfortunately, the third quarter was simply a disaster for us."
In addition to Colabella's performance, Crusaders' 5-10, 195-pound senior Doug Maslowski ran with reckless abandon, piling up 193 yards and five touchdowns, a result of 16 carries.
Central registered a trio of opening period six-pointers with Colabella finding Zach Herrington from eight yards out. Maslowski then scored on runs covering 47 and 10 yards and the hosts were 21-0 leaders after 12 minutes.
Barnesville displayed second quarter charter, twice finding the end zone. Colton Pritchard's 10-yard TD romp and David Brown's ensuing PAT made for a 21-7 lighting.
The Rocks later used a time-consuming 14-play, 87-yard scoring march, capped by a six-yard Kyle Yaquinta-to-Brandon Burkhart scoring aerial.
In between, however, the Crusaders' Ryan Fletcher pilfered a Shamrock pass and dashed 16 yards to the house for the 28-14 intermission count.
Central returned to tally 35 unanswered second half points with Maslowski accounting for three additional TD runs.
Saturday night's victory sends Central to 5-2 heading into a Friday week eight road test at Weir High. Barnesville, falling to 4-3, remains on the road with a Friday evening visit to Monroe Central.
Colabella finished 10-of-22 through the air. The winners' Kyle Laukert landed four receptions, totaling 106 yards.Yaquinta's 10-of-25 aerial output was good for 117 yards but with three costly picks. The Rocks' signal caller added 42 rushing yards off 18 carries.