Colabella named to 1st team all-Ohio

COLUMBUS – Six players from the Steubenville Catholic Central football team were named to the Associated Press Division VII All-Ohio high school football team, which is based on the recommendations of a state media panel, on Wednesday.

Quarterback Brenton Colabella led the way with a first-team nod.

“I was shocked at first,” he said. “My freshman year, one of the goals I wrote down was to be first-team all-state by the end of my senior year. There is a sense of satisfaction that all the hard work throughout the four years at Central has paid off. I am really happy about it.”

Colabella finished the season 135-for-215 for 2,229 yards, 30 scores and 10 picks as the Crusaders under head coach Steve Daley went 8-2 and eventually lost in the regional semifinal to Glouster Trimble, which will play for a state championship on Saturday against Maria Stein Marion Local.

“I think there were four games where we didn’t throw a pass in the second half,” said Daley. “Some games he only threw the ball 12 or 14 times. With his completion rate, imagine what would have been if we throw the ball 20 or 25 times.”

He was 116-for-179 (64.8 percent) for 1,883 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions in the regular season.

“I really appreciate what coach Daley has done for me the past three years,” said Colabella, who finished his career with 7,780 passing yards. “He really opened the offense and trusted me and it was an honor to be trusted to make the checks at the line. That shows how much he trusted me with the offense.

“We really grew as a team throughout the four years and he’s been there every step of the way. I give him a lot of thanks.”

Colabella owns every passing record at Central and is the only four-year starting quarterback in blue-and-gold.

“Some of those numbers are pretty impressive,” said Daley.

Former head coach Gregg Bahen was the one who put Colabella behind center as a freshman.

“I have to give a lot of thanks to coach Bahen and coach Frank Spence,” said the senior. “They gave me a chance to play quarterback as a freshman and I am eternally grateful for that. They were always there for me and they coached me up all year.

“I have the utmost respect for them. Coach Bahen has been a role model my whole life. I just have to much love and thanks for them.”

Daley was on the staff Colabella’s freshman year.

“I think there was some hesitation to put a freshman back there, but once he went in and took the job there was no doubt he would be the quarterback at Central for four years,” Daley recalled.

“Midway through his sophomore year I really felt he understood what is was we were trying to do. Early in the year he was zeroing in on some guys. But, he really started to pick up and understand the different reads we wanted him to go through. Once he started to do that, I thought he had an excellent second half of this sophomore year and I knew we were heading in the right direction going into his junior year.

“I allowed him to do some checks at the line of scrimmage a the beginning of his junior year. It progressed throughout the year and by the end of the year he was doing the majority of it. This year, he did almost all of it.

“A lot of times he saw the same thing I saw. To be honest, there was a couple of times I called something and I should have gone with what he saw.”

And, although he didn’t really coach him, Colabella was able to go through the experience with his dad.

“I’m not going to lie, sometimes it was really hard, but I always knew it was for the better,” said the quarterback. “He’s always been the hardest on me, but I wouldn’t change a thing. He’s been there through the hard times and the great times. I know he was working to get me to fulfill my potential and I love him for everything he has done for me.”

Teammate Ryan Fletcher was named a second-team receiver. Khalil Jones (running back) and Aleks Porreca (defensive back) were selected to the third-team.

Louis Fallon, Marty Engle and Chris Murphy were special mention selections.

“It’s been a great pleasure playing with my seniors and my brothers for all these years,” said Colabella. “I was surrounded by a lot of great talent. My line (center Jonathan Shrieve, guards M.J. Marchetta and Jake Karovic, and tackles Engle, Jake McCann and Tony Godich) gave me time to throw all year and they were great at run-blocking. I did the easy part. I just threw it around and let everyone else make plays and those guys did a great job of making plays.”

“I want to congratulate all of our guys,” said Daley. “They did a great job representing Central and they deserve all their honors.”

Toronto sophomore linebacker Cody King received special mention honors.