DIVISION IV SEMIFINAL: BIG RED 35, SHELBY 22
AKRON — Thanks to a huge fourth quarter comeback, Big Red punched its ticket to the Division IV championship game with a thrilling 35-22 victory over Shelby in the semifinals on Nov. 24 at the University of Akron.
Reno Saccoccia’s club was down 22-21 at the half and still trailed by one after three, but it took control during the final 12 minutes to stay unbeaten at 14-0. Shelby, making its first ever appearance in the Final Four, finished at 13-1.
After failing to capitalize on a third quarter scoring opportunity, Big Red scored with 11:17 to play on a 36-yard screen pass from Javon Davis to Johnny Agresta.
The Steubenville defense then delivered a key stop. Agresta and Kwadre Williams combined for a huge sack of Shelby quarterback Brennan Armstrong, forcing a turnover on downs.
Taking over at its own 40, Big Red moved 60 yards for the game’s final score. All the yardage came via the ground. Jacob Bernard found pay dirt on a 9-yard sprint. Agresta, who took several direct snaps on the march, and Davis also contributed key gains.
Alec Taylor ran for the two-pointer to finish the scoring.
Big Red jumped out to a quick 21-6 lead, but Shelby scored 17 points during the final 6:57 of the first half to lead 22-21. Ten points came off Big Red turnovers. It marked the first time all season that Big Red trailed at the intermission.
Davis had a solid night for Big Red, completing 12-of-15 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns. His first scoring toss went to DaJuan Jones and his second to Jonathon Blackmon. Bernard collected 154 rushing yards and scored twice.
Steubenville 35, Shelby 22
Shelby 6-16-0-0 – 22
Big Red 7-14-0-14 – 35
BIG RED: Jones 40 pass from Davis (Phillips kick)
SHELBY: C. Brooks 18 pass from Armstrong (kick failed)
BIG RED: Blackmon 5 pass from Davis (Phillips kick)
BIG RED: Bernard 1 run (Phillips kick)
SHELBY: Armstrong 6 run (Schwemley kick)
SHELBY: Armstrong 20 run (pass failed)
SHELBY: Schwemley 18 field goal
BIG RED: Agresta 36 pass from Davis (pass failed)
BIG RED: Bernard 9 run (Taylor run)
RUSHING: Shelby 33-133-2 (Armstrong 21-90-2; D. Brooks 10-52; Hill 2-(-9); Big Red: 50-264-2 (Bernard 28-154-2; Davis 12-32; Blackmon 3-41; Petteway 1-6; Agresta 6-31.)
PASSING: Shelby 9-16-183-1-1x (all by Armstrong); Big Red 12-15-166-3-1x (all by Davis)
RECEIVING: Shelby 9-183-1 (Hill 2-47; C. Brook 3-114-1; D. Brooks 3-22; Schwemley 1-0); Big Red 12-166-3 (Jones 4-39-1; Pierro 1-7; Agresta 2-53; Taylor 1-15; Blackmon 3-38-1; Zane 1-14).
FIRST DOWNS: Shelby 13; Big Red 21.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Shelby 7-53; Big Red 11-63.
PUNTS: Shelby 3-33; Big Red 1-45.
FUMBLES-LOST: Shelby 2-0; Big Red 1-1.