MORGANTOWN - The defense did its job, the offense had a huge second half and Big Red kept its Division III playoff hopes alive Friday.
Down 14-6 at the half, Reno Saccoccia's gridders came storming back to capture a 20-14 victory over Morgantown at Pony Lewis Field. Big Red now stands at 6-2 while the Mohigans fall to 5-2. Steubenville holds a 3-0 lead in the series between the two schools.
"It took us a while to get started but once we did, we really gave an outstanding effort," Saccoccia said. "I'm always proud of our players for all the work they put in but I'm extra proud of the way they played in the second half."
FOR A GAIN — Steubenville’s Dashon Redman gains a portion of his 177 yards during Friday’s 20-14 win over Morgantown.
Big Red started the third quarter with a 14-play, 65-yard drive. The march consumed 5:46 and ended when Dashon Redman plowed over from four yards out. Redman then sprinted in for the extra points to tie things up. Redman, who had a monster game for the Big Red offense, accounted for 32 of the 65 stripes.
The defense, which surrendered 139 first-half yards, came up big on the first Mohigan possession after the tying score. Torre Carter threw Chazzy Thomas for a two-yard loss then led the charge as Big Red stopped Morgantown's fake punt attempt several yards short of a first down.
That defensive gem gave Saccoccia's gridders a first down at midfield. The Big Red moved deep into Mohigan territory before Luke Smith was wide on a 37-yard field goal.
Big Red, 20, Morgantown 14
Big Red 6 0 8 6 - 20
Morgantown 7 7 0 0 - 14
BR: Petrella 9 yard pass from Stinson (kicked failed)
M: Commodore 26 pass from Johnson (Megan DeBastiani kick)
M: C. Thomas 16 run (DeBastiani kick)
BR: Redman 4 run (Redman run)
BR: Redman 1 run (kick failed)
RUSHING: Big Red 58-283-2 (Stinson 7-12; Redman 31-177-2; Jett 10-82; McClurg 1-6; Reed 1-2; Brown 2-0); Morgantown 28-142-1 (C. Thomas 16-88; Weidman 3-31; J. Thomas 3-5; Johnson 5-24; Team 1-(-6)).
PASSING: Big Red 8-14-51 (all by Stinson); Morgantown 9-9-83-1 (all by Johnson)
RECEIVING: Big Red (Petrella 5-43-1; Lawson 2-10; Reed 1-(-2); Morgantown (Stewart 5-41; C. Thomas 1-5; Wolfley 1-6; Commodore 1-26-1; Weidman 1-10).
FIRST DOWNS: Big Red 20, Morgantown 17.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Big Red 8-65; Morgantown 4-35.
PUNTS: Big Red 1-39; Morgantown 1-39.
FUMBLES-LOST: Big Red 1-0; Morgantown 1-0.
Morgantown was unable to get anything going offensively and Big Red started its next drive at the 50 again. Michael Jett broke loose for 45 yards, Redman pounded his way for four then rolled into the end zone to give Steubenville the lead for good. The extra point attempt failed.
John Bowers' club wasn't ready to concede things and mounted an impressive offensive drive late in the game. Starting at their own 25, the Mohigans moved to the Big Red 15. A key pass interference call against the offense cost Morgantown dearly on the march. It resulted in a loss of downs and lead to the drive stalling.
On fourth and long, quarterback Mark Johnson was stopped short. Big Red took over, picked up a few first downs and ran out the clock.
"We played with passion," Saccoccia said. "Everybody plays hard but you've got to play with a passion. In the second half, we played with passion. Everyone turned it up a notch. Morgantown is a good football team that is well coached. Tonight was our night."
Big Red got on the board first when Saccoccia gambled with an onside kick to the start the game. Manard Reed recovered at the Mohigan 46. The touchdown came on a nine-yard Corey Stinson to Matt Petrella pass. The extra point attempt failed.
Morgantown came right back, going 65 yards in just seven plays. Johnson hit Shane Commodore on a third and 14 for a 26 yard score. Megan DeBastiani nailed the extra point try.
The efficient Mohigans needed just six plays to go 70 yards on their second possession. Chazz Thomas scored from 16 yards away. DeBastiani again was perfect on her kick.
Big Red then chewed nearly eight minutes off the second quarter clock, starting at its own 35 and moving to the Morgantown 14. Redman ran for 32 yards before the scoring drive stalled.
On first down, Stinson fumbled the snap, resulting in a yard loss. Jett was stopped for no gain on second. A five yard motion penalty was followed by Stinson stumbling as he faded to pass, losing another seven stripes. All that left Big Red facing a fourth and 22 and Stinson's pass fell incomplete.
Morgantown held the halftime advantage despite running just 14 plays compared to Big Red's 37.
For the night, Big Red ran an incredible 72 plays from scrimmages for 334 yard (283 on the ground and 51 through the air). Redman had his best night of the season, collecting 177 stripes on 31 totes. Jett added 82 on 10 trips.
The Mohigans finished with 225, 142 coming on the ground. Going into Friday's contest, Morgantown was averaging 39 points a game and 327 rushing yards. C. Thomas, who had 1,103 rushing stripes in six games, was held to 88 yards. He collected 70 by the half.
Big Red will look to move to 7-2 next week when it entertains Sir Wilfrid Laurier from Toronto, Canada.