Friday's win over Oak Glen put Catholic Central back in the playoff hunt heading into the second half of the season. According to Joe Eitel's unofficial computer standings, the Crusaders are seventh in the Division VI's Region 21.
Mogadore leads the region followed by Malvern.
Big Red stands fifth in Division III, Region 11. Millersburg West Holmes is the new leader with Alliance Marlington second.
CARRYING THE BALL — Steubenville Catholic Central’s Brenton Colabella carries the ball during Friday’s 28-6 win over host Oak Glen. The Crusaders are 3-2 and in the playoff hunt.
-- Courtesy Jamie Olmstead
Indian Creek, thanks to Saturday's 28-0 shutout of Bellaire, occupies the eighth spot in the region. The Redskins blanked the Big Reds for the second consecutive year. The Creek D scored a touchdown (Monty McClelland rumbling 35 yards with a fumble recovery).
In addition, the defense forced two other fumbles (one coming via an outstanding play by Logan Woods) and came up with an interception in the end zone courtesy of Frank Kamarec.
Meanwhile, the Redskin rushing game was clicking on all cylinders, getting 373 yards and two scores. Woods collected 136 on 21 totes.
Harrison Central stands fifth in Region 15 of Division IV.
Ironton is No. 1 with St. Clairsville in second.
Madonna made a statement Friday night by scoring 60 at Cameron.
The West Virginia Class A ranks are rather tight this season with Magnolia, Wahama, Wheeling Central, Clay-Battelle, Williamstown all battling it out with the Blue Dons.
The interesting thing will see what the numbers shake out to be at the end of 11 weeks and which team is in which side of the bracket.
And, do not count out Oak Glen.
Quarterback Ross Comis' performance in Madonna's 60-14 drubbing over Cameron nearly overshadowed the impressive showing of teammate Elliott Nero. Comis rushed for 124 yards and threw for 120 more. He was involved in four Blue Don touchdowns.
Nero, however, was just as impressive. He ran for 126 stripes and a pair of touchdowns. In addition, he took a Dragon kickoff 85 yards for a score.
The first half of the 2012 football season is in the books and six of the 11 teams in The Herald Star/Daily Times coverage area are residing above the .500 mark.
Big Red, Harrison Central and Indian Creek all stand at 4-1. Madonna, which already has survived the state mandated bye week, is 3-1. Catholic Central and Buckeye Local are 3-2.
From a statistical standpoint, some large numbers were posted during the initial five weeks.
Catholic Central's Brenton Colabella leads the area in passing yardage with 1,300. He has completed 60 percent of his passes for an area best 16 touchdowns. Brooke's Alec Buchmelter is second with 759 yards. Comis has connected on 65 percent of his passes to pace that category.
Zach Herrington has been on the receiving end of 23 Colabella passes for 428 yards and six scores. He leads the area in all three categories. Brooke's Hunter Wallace is second in receptions with 16. Harrison Central's Nate Olmstead averages 31 yards a grab and has the lead in that category.
Olmstead's teammate, Maurtice Hython, tops the area in rushing yardage with 741. Weir's William Larch is next with 593. Comis and Edison's Chris Graziani both have seven rushing touchdowns. Comis averages 10 yards per trip and ranks as the area leader.
Graziani is the individual scoring with 50 (eight touchdowns and a two-point conversion). Comis is second with 44.
The defenses of Madonna and Big Red share the honor of allowing the least yards per game. Both surrender 202. The Blue Dons have held their foes to 12 points an outing, the best at this point in the season.
Central's offense has compiled the most yardage (1,810) with Harrison Central right behind at 1,809. Madonna averages 419 yards a game and 45 points to pace both categories.
Who are those guys?
The Valley Lumberjacks probably won't soon forget the night they met the Glenn brothers from Toronto.
Freshman Blaze and junior Chez combined for 398 of Toronto's 413 total yards as the Red Knights cracked the win column with a 28-14 victory.
Blaze, the Red Knight quarterback, went 11 of 14 for 135. Nate Stewart was on the receiving end of eight of Blaze's passes for 88 yards. He also collected 164 rushing yards on 13 trips and scored once.
Chez had 99 yards rushing and scored twice. Just for good measure, Blaze also had a pass interception.
10 key snaps:
There were 127 snaps of the football in the Big Red-Massillon game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium Friday. Just 10 played a relevant role in the 24-7 Tiger victory.
Massillon used half of those 10 on its opening drive, which produced a 70-yard scoring drive. Critical snap six came on Big Red's first punt. Tiger Marcus Whitfield took that kick back 81 yards for a touchdown.
Snap seven was linked to Massillon's fake punt, Brady Tonn passing instead of kicking and finding Ryan Rambo for 31 yards and a first down. Two snaps later (number eight) Kyle Kempt tossed a scoring strike to Tonn.
The final two snaps involved plays by the Massillon. One resulted in a 12-yard Big Red loss on a key possession following Steubenville's lone score of the evening. The other came when Big Red was unable to convert a fourth and two at the Tiger 19 late in the first half.
Big Red ran 58 offensive plays compared to 47 for the Tigers. In addition, Steubenville won the time of possession battle (29:59 to 18:01). Also Reno Saccoccia's club converted five of 15 third down opportunities while the winners were just one of nine.
The final game stats also reveal just how tough Massillon's defense was. Big Red was credited with 50 net rushing yards. They actually lost more yards rushing (51) than they gained. The Steubenville ground attack was hampered by injuries to Robert Hayden and Teshawn Luke. Hayden went out early in the game and Luke was limited to mostly defensive duty.
Plenty of O:
Buckeye Local and Edison made sure their 20th overall meeting was one to remember. The teams combined for 783 yards of offense as the Panthers held on for a 30-26.
Buckeye Local had 424 (194 on ground and 230 through air). Edison finished with 359 (211 running and 148 passing).
Nathan Kirk had a monster night for coach Phil Pest's club. He threw for 230 yards and two scores and added 62 more on the ground as Buckeye Local moved to 3-2.
Shane Duncan and Devan Pyciak had five receptions each. Caleb Agnew got into the act by returning a kickoff 80 yards for a score.
For Edison, Graziani had another productive evening, gaining 126 on 16 carries and a score. Nolan Marcus passed for 148 and ran for 68 and a couple of six-pointers.
"It feels really good to be 3-2 at the midway point," said Pest, "but we got some tough ones coming up starting with Martins Ferry next week."
A new balance:
After two weeks on the road, Catholic Central will return to the friendly confines of Harding Stadium for Saturday's homecoming battle against Conotton Valley.
In Friday's 28-6 victory over Oak Glen, Steve Daley's club showed some new offensive balance, running for 115 yards and passing for 132.
"The run game really came through for us tonight," Daley said following the battle with the Golden Bears. "Those were two things we knew coming into this season, we were going to need to play defense and we were going to need to run the ball to win key games and we did those things tonight."
The Crusader D held Oak Glen to 106 on the ground and 61 in the air. It also accounted for a touchdown when Herrington sprinted 39 yards with a fumble recovery.
Doug Maslowski paced the Central ground game, getting 101 yards and a score on 13 carries. For the season, he's recorded 381 stripes on 53 trips. Maslowski already has compiled 130 yards more in five weeks than the top Crusader rusher did in the entire season last year.
Running wild: 164, B. Glenn, Toronto, touchdown; 136, Woods, Creek; 126, Graziani, Edison, touchdown; 126, Nero, Madonna, two touchdowns; 124, Comis, Madonna, touchdown; 101, Maslowski, Central, touchdown; 99, C. Glenn, Toronto, 2 touchdowns; 90, Hython, Harrison Central.
Gunslingers: 230, Kirk, Buckeye Local, 16 of 27, two2 scores; 148, Marcus, Edison, 9 of 18, score; 135, B. Glenn, Toronto, 11 of 14; 132, Colabella, Central, 12 of 26, two scores; 128, Rashaen Mitchell, Harrison Central, 6 of 12, score; 120, Comis, Madonna, 12 of 15, three scores; 100, Buchmelter, Brooke, 11 of 20, score.
Hands team: 8, Stewart, Toronto, 88; 5, Duncan, Buckeye Local, 116, touchdown; 5, Pyciak, Buckeye Local, 59; 4, Wallace, Brooke, 32; 4, Evan Westlake, Big Red, 47; 4, Herrington, Central, 40, touchdown; 3, Thomas Cole, Brooke, 18; 3, Joey Chadwick, Toronto, 47; 3, Austin Marshall, Buckeye Local, 49; 3, Chris Virtue, Edison, 48; 3, Garrett Hypes, Madonna, 38, touchdown; Marcello Biondillo, Madonna, 19, touchdown; 2, Olmstead, Harrison Central, 89, touchdown;