No. 1 Big Red rolls past Irish for 7th victory

Steubenville’s Jacob Bernard fights for yards against Youngstown Ursuline on Friday. (Photo by Michael D. McElwain)

STEUBENVILLE — Big Red was dominate on both sides of the ball Friday, cruising to a 37-6 victory over Youngstown Ursuline inside Harding Stadium.

Ohio’s top-ranked Division IV club rolled to 336 yards on offense, while holding the now 2-5 Irish to 69 (the visitors were in the negative yardage category before Big Red began to substitute freely in the fourth quarter).

“I thought it was a beautiful effort on both sides of the ball,” Big Red head coach Reno Saccoccia. “Our defense gave us another great performance, and we showed improvement on offense. We prepared well this week, and I thought we were ready to play from the start. I’m happy with the effort our players gave us tonight.”

Big Red, which now owns an 11-4 lead in its all-time series with Ursuline, turned its first possession into points, marching 53 yards and using 6:27 of the opening quarter clock. The score came on a 4th-and-goal from the Ursuline 6. Quarterback Javon Davis rolled to his left, stopped, turned to his right and found DaJuan Jones alone in the end zone.

On its second touch, Steubenville traveled 50 yards for a score, Caleb Mitchell doing the honors from 5 yards away. The drive featured a 37-yard Davis to Jones connection. Davis’ pass was tipped by an Ursuline defender. Jones grabbed it and sprinted down the sidelines.

Saccoccia’s crew got the ball right back when Ursuline fumbled Ian Phillips’ ensuing kickoff, Taveon Crawford recovering at the Irish 15. On the first snap of the second quarter, hard-running Jacob Bernard fought his way in from the Ursuline 4.

Ursuline, which played without starting tailback Joe Floyd, finally recorded a first down with 3:38 left in the half. It came thanks to a nice run by Trezahn Donlow. During the opening 24 minutes, the Irish ran 20 plays for a minus-nine yards.

“I think we played very well, but when the score got to 21-0, I think there was a little bit of a letdown,” Saccoccia said. “All in all, though, we gave a championship effort tonight.”

Big Red took the second half kickoff and marched 66 yards for its fourth touchdown, Bernard scoring from a yard out. The hosts recorded a safety with 5:47 left in the third when Ursuline quarterback Jared Fabry couldn’t handle the snap from center and kicked the bouncing ball out of the end zone. Those two points kept the clock running for the remainder of the contest.

Steubenville took the ensuing free kick and quickly moved for another touchdown, which came on a 9-yard run by Mitchell.

Ursuline’s touchdown came on a 5-yard run by Mario Fusillo.

Bernard paced Big Red’s run game with 83 yards on 22 trips. Crawford contributed 53, and Mitchell finished with 46. Davis completed 13-of-17 passing attempts for 116 yards. Johnny Agresta had four catches.

Steubenville will host New Philadelphia next Friday in a Week 8 meeting of the unbeaten. The Quakers improved to 7-0 with a 37-14 victory over Zanesville.

Steubenville 37, Ursuline 6

Ursuline 0-0-0-6 — 6

Big Red 14-7-16-0 — 37

BIG RED: Jones 6 pass from Davis (Phillips kick)

BIG RED: Mitchell 5 run (Phillips kick)

BIG RED: Bernard 4 run (Phillips kick)

BIG RED: Bernard 1 run (Phillips kick)

BIG RED: Safety, ball kicked out of end zone

BIG RED: Mitchell 9 run (Phillips kick)

URSULINE: Fusillo 5 run (run failed)

RUSHING: Ursuline 20-67-1 (Fabry 9-17; Fusillo 1-5-1; Jones 5-13; Donlow 4-46; Freer 1-(-14); Big Red 50-220-4 (Davis 3-15; Bernard 22-83-2; Mitchell 10-46-2; Blackmon 4-6; Montgomery 3-15; Crawford 7-53; Rice 1-2).

PASSING: Ursuline 1-8-2 (all by Fabry); Big Red 13-17-116-1-1x (all by Davis).

RECEIVING: Ursuline 1-2 (Johnson 1-2); Big Red 13-116-1 (Jones 2-43-1; Pierro 3-14; Agresta 4-49; Taylor 1-5; Blackmon 1-1; Bernard 1-2; Mitchell 1-2).

FIRST DOWNS: Ursuline 4; Big Red 22.

PENALTIES-YARDS: Ursuline 1-10; Big Red 3-30.

PUNTS: Ursuline 4-28; Big Red 1-35.

FUMBLES-LOST: Ursuline 4-2; Big Red 0-0.