Catholic Central takes care of business

NEW MATAMORAS – Frontier never stopped battling, but ultimately, Steubenville Central Catholic was able to run away with a 48-19 victory over the Cougars Friday night behind the right arm of quarterback Brenton Colabella.

Colabella completed 15-of-23 pass attempts for 207 yards and three touchdowns. The Cougars did manage to pick Colabella off twice and recover two Crusader fumbles, but it just wasn’t quite enough.

Central Catholic accumulated 347 total yards of offense compared to 217 for Frontier.

Ryan Fletcher paced the Crusader ground game with 93 yards on 10 carries. Khalil Jones rushed the ball seven times for 45 yards while Stone Romano took three hand-offs in the game, all for scores.

Colabella connected with seven different receivers in the contest. Jones led the way, catching three passes for 52 yards. Fletcher caught two touchdowns passes for 43 total yards while Johnny DiCarlantonio hauled in a 45 yard throw for a TD.

The Cougars were led by Rodney Barnes, offensively. Barnes ran the ball 15 times for 91 yards and a touchdown while Jared Howell and Dakota Welker ran for 16 yards and 18 yards, respectively, each scoring once.

Frontier quarterback Mitch Reynolds completed 8-of-17 passes for 65 yards. Reynolds was picked off three times in the game, twice by Fletcher. Welker had a game-high six catches for 50 yards.

Colabella completed eight of his first 11 throws for Central Catholic en route to building a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

On its opening drive, an 18-yard pass to Jones and a 12-yard pass to Aleks Porreca from Colabella set up a 7-yard touchdown strike to Fletcher to begin the scoring.

Frontier went 3-and-out on its next drive, and after Jones returned the Cougars’ punt to the Frontier 36-yard line, Colabella immediately hit Fletcher again for a score. John Paul McNamara put the PAT through the uprights to make it a 14-0 Central Catholic lead.

On Frontier’s ensuing drive, a Reynolds pass was intercepted by DiCarlantonio and returned to the Frontier 8, setting up Romano’s first touchdown of the evening from a yard out. McNamara’s kick made it 21-0.

Frontier began to battle back, though.

Central Catholic’s fourth drive of the game was the first that did not results in points, as a Colabella pass was picked off by Barnes and returned to the Crusader 18-yard line.

Reynolds hits Welker on a 13-yard pass before Howell ran it the rest of the way for a Cougar touchdown. Garrett Buegel added the PAT to make it 21-7.

The momentum continued to swing Frontier’s way on the ensuing kick-off, as Fletcher fumbled on the return. The ball was recovered by Frontier’s Josh Saunders at Central Catholic’s 41-yard line.

The Cougars pounded the ball with Barnes all the way down inside the 1. On 4th-and-goal, Welker punched it in for the score. The kick was blocked to make it 21-13.

A turning point in the game came on Central Catholic’s next possession. On 2nd-and-9 at the Frontier 45, Colabella threw a pass deep down the right sideline for DiCarlantonio. A Frontier defender appeared to have it measured, but mistimed his leap and the ball into the receiver’s hands for the score. The PAT made it 28-13 at halftime, and drastically changed the momentum that had been going Frontier’s way.

To open the second half, Frontier recovered another Central Catholic fumble on the kick return, but immediately gave it back on an interception.

From there, it was all Crusaders. Romano ran for two scores and Jones for one in the third period to make it 48-13 going into the fourth quarter.

Barnes ran for a 40-yard touchdown up the left sideline in the final quarter to fill out the scoring.

Frontier fell to 1-1 with the loss while Central Catholic remained undefeated with the win at 2-0.

Central travels to Columbiana next Friday.