Steubenville too much for Linsly
STEUBENVILLE – Steubenville stayed unbeaten Friday with a 35-21 homecoming, senior-night victory over Linsly inside Harding Stadium.
In staying perfect in their all-time series with the Cadets (Big Red now leads 7-0), Reno Saccoccia’s charges compiled 426 yards (285 on the ground and 141 via the air) of offense and sprinted to a 28-7 lead at the intermission.
“We’re 3-0 and record-wise, that’s the best we can be right now,” Saccoccia said. “But, going forward, we still have a lot of work to do, and we have to keep improving in a lot of areas.
“We had some good moments tonight, and we’ve had good moments throughout the first three weeks. We have also had some bad moments, and we have to fix those. Great teams just don’t have bad moments.”
The opening offensive drive was one of the good moments for Big Red. Taking over at its own 34, Steubenville marched 66 yards for a touchdown. It came on a 13-yard pass from Cade Kernahan to Brandon Kinney, who now has three catches on the season, all producing scores.
Big Red’s defense delivered a good moment to start the game, stopping Linsly cold on its first three plays and getting a quarterback sack from linebacker Kyjhaun Hopkins.
The defense came up big again on Linsly’s next possession thanks to Nasari Jackson’s one-handed interception of a Hunter Kelley pass. This time, the offense traveled 44 yards to make it 14-0. Isaiah McCartney plowed his way through the Linsly defense to score from 11 yards away.
Linsly was quick to answer, as Kelly and Luca DiLorenzo connected for a 58-yard touchdown. Joao Lima’s kick made it 14-7.
Steubenville would score two more times before the half. Spencer Ostovich bulled over from a yard away, and Aaron Ferguson caught a 15-yard scoring strike from Kernahan. The big play leading to Ostovich’s scoring plunge came through a 36-yard pass from Kernahan to Ivan Buggs. Ferguson’s TD catch capped a 61-yard march.
The defenses dominated play in the third quarter. Big Red’s final six-pointer came with 8:25 left to play on a 3-yard run by Tylik Sims.
Coach B.J. Depew’s Cadets didn’t go away without a fight, scoring twice in the final quarter. Steven Felton found the end zone from 7 yards out, and Kobe Hill took a Kelley pass 34 yards for a touchdown.
“That’s definitely a characteristic of these guys – I never thought they would quit,” Depew said. “We’ve been in situations in the past where we were playing a stronger opponent and had teams lay down. But, not these guys, and I am proud of them.
“I thought we played great defense in the second half, and we made some plays, but that wasn’t enough against a really good Steubenville team.”
Sims, who is just a sophomore, led Big Red’s rushing attack with 108 yards on 17 carries. Ostovich, the leading rusher in last week’s victory over Dover, finished with 85 and Nate McShan 55.
Kernahan threw for 127 yards and two scores. Buggs had three receptions to lead the Big Red.
“Steubenville is great at running the football, and we know they have great athletes,” Depew said. “They threw the football tonight in an attempt to stay balanced and keep us off balance. They were difficult to stop.
“In the second half, it was a matter of us manning up, playing tougher and going toe to toe with them. I was proud of how our guys performed.”
Kelley threw for 143 yards but was picked off twice. Buggs got an interception on the final play of the game.
Jared Roberts successfully converted all five of his conversion tries for the winners.
“Linsly’s a good football team, and we have gone against good football teams the first three weeks of the season,” Saccoccia said. “Right now, we’re just not playing to the best of our ability and we have to improve in all areas.
“We are a better team than we have been playing. We’ll work and we’ll get better. We don’t believe in ourselves yet. We don’t believe we are a good team yet. Nothing good can happen if you don’t believe in yourself.”