Steubenville extending its streak to 36 consecutive victories Friday. It
wasn't easy by any means, but in the end Big Red found a way to make
enough big plays to secure a 23-14 triumph over Columbus Bishop
Watterson. Watterson entered the game ranked No. 1 in Division II in the Ohio High/ONN Power Poll. Steubenville is No. 3 in D-IV.
Watterson entered the game ranked No. 1 in Division II in the Ohio High/ONN Power Poll. Steubenville is No. 3 in D-IV.
Before a packed house at “Death Valley,” Big Red extended its home winning streak to 45 games and its regular season streak to 46.
For Steubenville standout Steve Davis, it was just another night at the office. The senior has made a career out of making big plays, and when his team needed him most he came through once again.
With the game tied 14-14 late in the third quarter, Davis completely changed the complexion of the contest. The playmaker picked off a Mason Takacs pass on his own 30 yard line and proceeded to return the ball to the Watterson 31. The Eagles were then flagged for a late hit at the end of the play giving Steubenville the ball at the 16.
Big Red needed just four plays to reach pay dirt. Sophomore quarterback Dwight Macon capped off the drive from 5-yards out diving over the left pylon. Sophomore Brennan Stover's point after was good giving coach Reno Saccoccia's squad a 21-14 advantage.
After a Watterson punt, and Big Red expending its three plays, Davis would strike again. This time it was via the punt, and it all but sealed the win. Davis launched a booming, spiraling punt that rolled out of bounds at the Watterson 1-yard line. The Eagles never recovered.
The first half featured most of the scoring.
Steubenville received the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 12 plays for the first score of the evening. The Crimson and Black used three carries by junior Branko Busick to lead the way. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder churned out runs of 21, 12, and 1-yard, respectively. The latter was a touchdown.
The drive also featured a good bit of Macon. The slick sophomore completed two passes to senior Anthony Gossett covering nine and eight yards, respectively. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder also galloped for 29 yards on six carries.
After a three and out for the Eagles, Davis got started by blocking a Watterson punt that gave Steubenville the ball at the Eagle 30-yard line.
From there, the Big Red used seven plays to reach the end zone. Demetrius Brandon took the second play from scrimmage 13 yards around the left end followed by a 7-yard scamper from Macon and then two more carries by Busick. The bull-like junior walked into the end zone from 5 yards out. Stover's point after was good, pushing the Big Red lead to 14-0 with a 1:28 to play in the first quarter.
Watterson was forced to punt again, and the rout appeared to be under way.
However, the Eagles had different ideas. Senior Ralph Farina intercepted a Macon pass and returned it to the Steubenville 30-yard line.
On third down, Takacs hooked up with senior Kevin Kabelac on a 29-yard fade route. The ball was thrown perfectly into Kabelac's arms hitting him a yard deep in the end zone. Ring's extra point split the up rights.
Disaster struck once again on Steubenville's ensuing possession. After a Davis return of 69 yards, Big Red proceeded to go in reverse. Finally, after three plays of negative yardage the Crimson and Black elected to punt. The snap was errant and Davis took a 22-yard loss setting the Eagles up at the Red 29-yard line.
Six plays later the game was tied 14-14. The drive featured a nifty 16-yard run from junior Jordan Gelhaus. It ended with a 1-yard plunge from senior Michael Mahaffey. Ring's point after tied the game.
The turnover bug continued on the ensuing kickoff as the Eagles recovered their own kick at the Red 25-yard line. However, Steubenville’s defense stepped up to the challenge holding Watterson to a field goal attempt from 43 yards out. The try was no good.
The final points of the night were attributed to senior Rolland Owens bringing Takacs down in his own end zone for a safety with 1:39 to go in the contest.
For the game, Steubenville was guilty of five turnovers, while Watterson gave it away twice.
Davis intercepted one Eagle aerial, and Gossett recovered a fumble late in the fourth chapter.
Farina picked off two passes and junior Matt Schmitt had one theft. The Eagles recovered two fumbles.
Steubenville grounded out 87 yards on 45 carries, led by Busick’s 75 yards and two TDs on 20 carries.
Macon completed 5-of-11 passes for 49 yards and three interceptions. Gossett hauled in four catches for 50 yards.
Watterson churned out 71 rushing yards on 29 attempts. Junior Kevin Obyc led the way with 10 carries for 37 yards.
Takacs was 4-of-16 for 76 yards. He also had a TD and an interception. Senior John Passen was Watterson’s leading receiver with two catches for 33 yards.
Both defenses played exceptionally well considering each was playing with its back to the wall on several occasions.
Defensively Steubenville was led by Busick, Owens, Gossett and senior James Montgomery.
The Eagles got outstanding efforts on the defensive side of the ball from seniors Anthony DeMaria, Drew Dabbelt, Nick Murnane and Mahaffey.
It is doesn't get an easier for Watterson as it travels to undefeated Columbus DeSales next Friday. Steubenville hosts Mt. St. Joseph out of Maryland.