STEUBENVILLE - Six people were honored for their support of Big Red football and the Steubenville City School District during the 14th-annual Appreciation and Football Kickoff Dinner held Sunday in the high school commons area.
Pete Barren and Richard Delatore, who shared duties as masters of ceremonies, thanked the honorees for their support not only of the football program and the high school but the community as a whole.
The first honoree introduced Sunday was Jerry Barilla, owner of Frank and Jerry's Furniture Store in downtown Steubenville.
HONOREES — Six people were honored for their support of Big Red Football during the 14th-annual Appreciation and Football Kickoff Dinner held Sunday at the high school. The honorees included, from left, Rich Ranallo, Jerry Barilla, Perry Jeter, Art D’Anniballe and John Hedmond, son of Robert Hedmond. Joe DiAlbert also was honored.
-- Jess Looman
"There is that old saying, 'nice guys finish last', but that does not apply to Jerry Barilla," Delatore said. "Jerry is one of the nicest men you could ever meet and he always finds a way to finish first. He is involved with the Historic Fort Steuben, the Steubenville Revitalization Group, the Jefferson County Library, The Steubenville Convention and Visitor's Bureau and now the effort to save the Grand Theatre. Thank you for all you do for this community."
Perry Jeter, a standout player for the Big Red in the 1950s, was honored for his commitment to the high school.
"Perry was a great athlete for Big Red in the 1950s, he still holds the record for the longest touchdown (a 109-yard trip to the end zone) in the history of Harding Stadium," Barren stated. "He went on to play college ball in California and in 1955, he was drafted by the Chicago Bears. After his time with the Bears, he came back to the Valley to play for the Wheeling Ironmen."
Jeter served as a coach at the former Grant Junior High School.
Coach Reno Saccoccia called Jeter one "of the top 10 players ever to wear a Big Red uniform."
Art D'Anniballe, a 1944 graduate of Big Red, has been a season ticket holder for more than 50 years.
"Section E, Row S is where you can find Art during the Big Red football games," Delatore said. "He has been a ticket holder since the 1950s and still to this day sits in the same seats. He is an avid Big Red fan.
"He founded the accounting firm D'Anniballe and Co., and served as board chairman for the Jefferson Community College (now known as Eastern Gateway Community College.) He has been involved with many community organizations, including the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. His dedication to this area is second to none."
Rich Ranallo was introduced to the crowd as "Mr. Big Red."
A graduate of Big Red and a standout football player, Ranallo returned to the district to become a teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent and finally superintendent. He retired as the district's superintendent two years ago.
"Rich is one of the biggest Big Red supporters you can find," Barren noted.
"He brought this school through a lot of tough times and helped mold it into what it is today."
Robert Hedmond, a longtime coach at the high school, guided the Big Red football team to an undefeated season in 1981.
"Mr. Hedmond started coaching at Big Red in 1964, coaching football, wrestling and track," Barren said. "He came back to the school after some time spent at Brooke High School (he was the first football coach for the Bruins) and became the athletic director as well as football coach. He led the 1981 team to an undefeated season before turning over the reins to coach Saccoccia."
Joe DiAlbert, a graduate of Steubenville Catholic Central and owner of the Spot Bar in downtown Steubenville, was unable to attend the event.
He was honored for his support of the school and the community.
"Thank you so much for your dedication and support to the community and school system and for believing in and supporting this football program and booster club," Delatore said.
Each honoree received an autographed football as well as a lifetime membership to the Big Red Boosters.
(Looman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org).