STEUBENVILLE - Bishop Timon-St. Jude, Big Red's Week 3 foe, jumped out to an early lead in its opener against Williamsville South and hung on for a 21-14 victory.
That's the good news for the Tigers, members of the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association along with Buffalo St. Joe's and Tonawanda Cardinal O'Hara, previous Big Red opponents.
The bad news is Timon's huge victory in the marquee matchup of Western New York's opening weekend was tempered by injuries. Senior quarterback Ryan Dougherty reportedly tore his ACL while senior receiver Bryant Fulton, suffered a season-ending leg injury.
"We'd be a lot happier if we came out of here with our guys being able to walk," Timon coach Charlie Comerford told The Buffalo News. "With Ryan going out, it changes the whole mood of the team and myself. Ryan's worked so hard for this moment."
The Tigers, based in Buffalo, entered the season minus the services of running back Adam DiMillo, a University of Maryland-bound lacrosse player. He will miss about a month due to a lacrosse injury. J.D. Recor took over for DiMillo and made a name for himself by traveling 65 yards on the first offensive play of the South game.
"They're a spread team and they have some pretty good players," Big Red's Reno Saccoccia said of the Tigers. "Their receivers go 6-4 and 6-5 and the tailback is pretty good. Their offense is very good and defensively, they played solid in that first game.
(games at 7 p.m. unless noted)
28Woodrow Wilson 8
32 Benedictine 28
Sept. 7 Bishop Timon
Sept. 14 Brooke
Sept. 21 at Massillon
Sept. 28 Westinghouse Pa.
Oct. 5 Ursuline
Oct. 12 at Morgantown, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 Sir Wilfred Laurier
Oct. 26 Akron Buchtel
"They're a lot more solid of a team than I had given them credit for in the spring. They're very well coached and I'm sure they'll come to town ready to play."
Comerford, who's in his second season as head coach, guided the Tigers to an 8-3 victory a season ago. Timon scored a 42-6 victory over O'Hara but fell to St. Joe's 39-18. Friday's contest, set to start at 7 p.m., will be the first between the two schools.
All five offensive linemen returned from the 2011 club. Sean Murphy is a three-year starter up front and Ryan Byrne earned numerous post-season honors. Fullback Jackson Brown scored 14 touchdowns last year.
When looking at the keys to a Friday victory, Saccoccia indicated his Big Red needs to be solid "all around."
"We're not good enough yet to pick our poison," he added. "So we have to play solid football all around and hope our kids come ready to get after it."
Big Red is sitting at 2-0 following last week's 32-28 nail-biting win over a rugged Cleveland Benedictine club. Saccoccia's unit got the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter on a three-yard burst by junior Robert Hayden.
Hayden, who collected 56 of his 57 rushing yards in the final period, and the rest of Big Red's tailback by committee finished the night with 196 stripes. Senior Teshawn Luke compiled 91 and fellow senior Dashon Redman added 48.
"Luke performed well in the first half even though he wasn't at 100 percent," Saccoccia said. "Redman came in and did a good job. He's a different style runner than Luke. (Junior) Michael Jett showed some speed and Hayden added the finishing touches.
"It definitely was a gutty performance by our tailbacks. It may not have been a true athletic performance but they showed a lot of guts."
Big Red finished with 317 yards in total offense. Senior quarterback Corey Stinson had another respectable showing, passing for 90 yards and a score.
He has hit on 20 of 36 attempts for 279 yards and three scores. Senior receiver Matt Petrella has been on the receiving end of Stinson aerials for 103 yards and a score.
Luke has four catches and senior tight end Eric Robinson three (two have gone for scores).
Defensively, the Big Red held the Bengals to just five net rushing yards on 29 attempts.
Through two games, the Steubenville "D" has surrendered 65 yards via the ground.
When looking at his club, Saccoccia admitted he's "not sure where we are" after two weeks.
"We really haven't had a chance to settle in on specific people either offensively or defensively," he pointed out. "We were playing with a lot of young guys against Benedictine. We had guys in there that weren't really in the picture two weeks ago.
"Our kids are definitely battle tested. I'm not saying the teams we played were great, but both games were battles. Our kids have seemed to adopt a refuse to lose attitude. I'm not sure how good we are but our kids fight."