Four Homecomings are on the docket tonight as Week 6 of the high school football season kicks off tonight
Steubenville Big Red hosts Westinghouse, Pa., at 7 p.m. at Harding Stadium in one of the Homecoming games. Westinghouse has already lost to Buckeye Local and Wheeling Central.
Steubenville is coming off its first loss of the season and looks to get healthy.
"This team is absolutely ready to move forward," Saccoccia said. "The kids we have here want nothing more than to get back on the field, get into another big game and improve what we did last Friday."
Big Red, coming off a 24-7 loss to Massillon, stands at 4-1. The Bulldogs, who compete in the Pittsburgh City League, are 0-4. Friday's meeting will be the first between the schools.
The Tigers, thanks to several big plays, jumped on Big Red for 21 points during the first nine minutes last week. After that, Saccoccia's club settled in and outscored Massillon 7-3 the rest of the way.
"I feel very comfortable with the attitude of our coaches and players," Saccoccia indicated. "We accept we got beat, we accept the sun came up the next day, we accept the fact that we have to work harder on the little things and we know we have to get off to better start the rest of the way."
Union Local (1-4) at Indian Creek (4-1), 7 p.m.
The Redskins had a huge shutout win at Bellaire a week ago, which was a nice rebound after a loss to St. Clairsville.
This is also Indian Creek's homecoming. The run game will get more work for the Redskins tonight.
"It means a lot to get that win," said Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor. "First of all we thought there were a lot of mistakes made the week before against St. Clairsville.
"Our team felt like they had a lot to prove not only to other people, but to themselves. They came out and played with a chip on their shoulder, and that attitude carried them to a big win.
"We stressed (that) we have a lot of things to get better. Things that we've stressed need fixed are we had 10 penalties, we turned the ball over and we missed assignments.
"We need to work on these things and get better this week. This game is not so much about what Union Local does but about us getting better this week."
Oak Glen (2-3) at Weir (0-5), 7 p.m.
This Hancock County rivalry goes to the new Jimmy Carey Stadium for the first time. Plus, Red Riders coach Tony Filberto will be looking across the field at the team he coached the previous four seasons.
Both teams have had their troubles recently, but the Golden Bears' lines should make an impact.
The teams have played each other since 1965, two years after the schools were built. Weir High has the edge in the 48 games played to date, winning 33 of them.
"Yeah, the Carl Hamill Trophy is important to us. We have a lot of pride," said Filberto. "A lot of these kids know each other. They go to school together at the John D. Rockefeller Career Center.
"We made a lot of progress in the first four games, but there was no progress last week. We had nobody on the field but young kids. We were forced to play four freshmen and three sophomores.
"I've always been opposed to starting freshmen in varsity games until I started Preston Murray at Oak Glen. He's so good that he was third in the balloting last year as a junior for the Hunt Award, which is emblematic of the best lineman in West Virginia."
Meanwhile, Ian Whittington, who took over the reigns at Oak Glen when Filberto moved south, also feels it is a "huge rivalry game."
"I think perhaps it is a little more so this year because of coach Filberto," Whittington said. "We're taking this week seriously. Of course, we don't want to get so high that we can't play the game. We've been telling the kids that every game is important, but this one is special.
"We'd love to restart the new Hamill Trophy with a win and Oak Glen's name engraved on it. Also, we want to respond to the challenge and get back on the winning track."
Martins Ferry (4-1) at Buckeye Local (3-2). 7 p.m.
The fourth homecoming tonight is in Yorkville as the Panthers host the Purple Riders, a team that has fits year in and year out with Buckeye Local. Expect nothing different tonight.
"This is always a good game for both schools and communities," said Purple Riders' head coach Dave Bruney. "It's become a game that both teams really look forward to, especially in the last six or so years.
"They use a lot of different stunts and blitzes and they get a lot of people near the ball to stop the run. Coach (Phil) Pest has done a good job getting his team on track. They're well coached and their kids work hard at what they're coached to do."
"We're going to have to fight for every win we get," said rookie Panthers' head coach Phil Pest. "Martins Ferry is a good team and this game is always fun for both schools because most of the kids know each other and will be up for the game.
"They're very impressive, especially along the line. They've had some injuries, but they're very quick and athletic. Plus, Schau is a really talented receiver and they're running some good schemes to get their playmakers the ball."
Harrison Central (4-1) at Edison (1-4), 7:30 p.m.
The Wildcats always play the Huskies tough and it should be no different tonight as Edison celebrates its homecoming.
Harrison Central can score from anywhere on the field now with the run or pass. The Wildcats' defense really needs to give its offense a short field once or twice.
Edison coach Mike McKenzie believes the challenge lies beyond just Mitchell and Hython as the balance Harrison has goes well beyond its two main offensive stars.
"They run and pass equally well," he said. "They can come out and run pro/con two back sets and then come out in an empty backfield. I really like (Nick) Pelegreen at tight end. He can line up there or they move him out to wing. This gives them the option to run several different sets with the same personnel."
The Edison defense surrendered 344.4 yards and 31 points per game over the first half of the season.
"I don't care what Edison's record is, they are going to give us everything they have and then some more," said Harrison Central mentor Justin Kropka.
The Harrison Central defense has been stout this season, giving up 268.6 yards and 15 points per game. The Huskies have given up just 8.25 points a game in their four wins.
Brooke (0-5) at Point Pleasant (4-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Bruins haven't won a game and the Big Blacks haven't lost one. Brooke needs to believe in every member of the program to have a chance tonight. Point Pleasant was a Class AA semifinalist a year ago.
"I told everyone that we are going down there as the underdogs and there is no reason why we can't leave there with a win," said first-year Brooke coach Seam Blumette. "We still have to go out and believe in the system, the coaching staff and each other. We aren't throwing in the towel. We aren't working any less. We still take the field at 3:30 p.m. and leave at 6.
"We have to play with pride and redeem ourselves and that starts this week. No one thought we would be 0-5, but here we are and I can count the reasons why we are 0-5.
"No one is giving us a chance on Friday. We just have to go down there and compete and do what we know is right. No one is feeling sorry for us. No one said this was going to be easy and it hasn't been. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to get into the playoffs. We still have a chance of doing that if we finish 5-5 and I?believe that we can win our last five games."
Point Pleasant is in its first year as a West Virginia Class AAA school. It was a Class AA semifinalist a year ago.