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Week 6 not finished yet

Madonna, Cameron conclude the slate with key, rescheduled game tonight

BACK ON THE FIELD — The Madonna football team will take the field at Jimmy Carey Stadium for the second time this season tonight, taking on Cameron in a key battle of the unbeatens in Class A that was rescheduled from Saturday due to COVID-19 issues. -- Andrew Grimm

WEIRTON — So far this football season, we’ve seen stadium lights shine on a few Thursdays, the usual number of Fridays and even several Saturdays. Later today, we’ll get our first version of Tuesday night lights.

Madonna and Cameron, two unbeaten West Virginia Class A clubs, will tee it up at 8 p.m. inside Jimmy Carey Stadium. The game originally was scheduled to take place Saturday, but due to COVID issues, Madonna had to cancel. Fortunately for the Blue Dons, the Dragons agreed to a rare Tuesday night date.

Fans planning to attend this meeting of the unbeatens are reminded that Weir High has a soccer match prior to the game. Thus, Madonna is asking folks to be patient when entering the parking lot as the soccer traffic exists. Both schools will be working together to coordinate the flow of traffic.

“We’re just glad to be playing and we’re especially glad for our seniors,” Madonna coach Dan Rovira said. “We already missed a game due to issues with the Carrick program. Thankfully, Cameron agreed to play. It will be a short week for them since they will be playing again Friday. This is our bye week.

“Cameron didn’t have to play so I really appreciate what they are doing. They could have said no and we would have had to forfeit.”

Rovira’s Blue Dons are 4-0. They have taken down Beallsville, Bridgeport and Mathews. They also got the forfeit win over Carrick. Cameron, which will visit Morgantown Trinity Friday, stands are 3-0, the victories coming against West Greene, Pa., Hundred and Frontier. The loss to Cameron is the lone blemish on Frontier’s record.

In the latest WVSSAC Class A rankings, Cameron is second while Madonna occupies the fifth spot.

“It’s a big game because it is the next game,” Rovira said. “We need to beat Cameron and I am sure they are thinking they need to beat us.

“We have a lot of points out there and they have a lot of points out there. This game will definitely help in the push for a high spot in the playoff. I think it is going to be a good game.”

Cameron’s offense is based around the running game. In three contests, the Dragons have rushed for 703 yards on 61 carries (an average of 11.5 yards per trip) and scored 15 touchdowns.

Senior Isaac Ball (5-9, 165) leads the Cameron attack with 395 yards on 33 tries. He has scored five times. Sophomore quarterback Colson Wichterman has thrown just six passes, completing five for 65 yards.

“They definitely like to run the ball,” Rovira said. “They utilize a spread offense like us but they focus much more on the run.

“I really think they are like us. Most single A teams, except for the elite ones with 40 kids on the roster, are the same simply because of the numbers.”

In the three games it has played, Madonna is averaging 411 yards of offense (147 on the ground and 264 via the air) and 38 points. The Dons surrender 231 yards a contest and 13 points.

Quarterback Santino Arlia has thrown for 793 yards and 11 touchdowns. Evan Quering leads the Dons in receiving with 22 catches for 460 yards and six scores. Seth Humberson has run for 185 yards and two six-pointers.

“We have to score,” Rovira said when discussing the keys for today’s battle. “We lack defensively a little because we have a lot of skilled players and not a lot of linemen. So, offensively we have to score.

“We didn’t take advantage of some opportunities against Mathews. We had a touchdown on a screen play called back because of a holding call and we fumbled on the 1-yard line another time. Against a team like Cameron, we can’t do those things. We just have to score.”

After missing five days of practice, Rovira was able to get his squad on the field Saturday and Sunday.

“They are ready to go,” Rovira said of the Dons. “Unfortunately, we will be without a couple of kids who tested positive so we will be dressing 18 healthy players. They know this is a big game.

“I told the kids we could forfeit or play with 18 and they are all in. With 18 dressed, we can’t get tired and can’t get cramped. It’s a big test and we’re looking forward to playing.”

Week that was:

Homecoming 2021 turned out to be a special event for Big Red coach Reno Saccoccia and his family.

For starters, Big Red bounced back from a Week 5 defeat at Dover with a hard-fought 26-17 victory over Linsly. The Cadets held a 10-7 lead at the intermission. Spencer Ostovich ran for an area-best 173 yards to pace the Steubenville offense. Gavin Bozica contributed 87 and a score.

Meanwhile, Phaeton Hill threw for 128 and two touchdowns.

At halftime, Saccoccia’s granddaughter, Libby, was crowned the 2021 SHS homecoming queen. She’s the daughter of offensive coordinator JoJo and Trish Saccoccia.

Big Red went up by nine (19-10) late in the third quarter when Hill connected with Jace Kernahan for a 13-yard score. Jace, a sophomore tight end, is Saccoccia’s grandson. His parents are Jason, who coaches linebackers and tight ends, and Michelle.

Speaking of homecoming, Edison may never forget its first homecoming victory at the school’s new Unified Sports Complex.

Down 20 with less than seven minutes to play in the third quarter, the cardiac Wildcats rallied to earn a 21-20 win over Toronto. The game-winning score came with 1:35 left to play. The Red Knights had one last chance to pull out a victory, but two passes fell incomplete.

Gage Cline threw for one score and ran for two more. Jacob Cusick, the leading receiver in The Herald Star/Daily Times coverage, grabbed six Cline aerials for 77 yards. Tyler Griffith hauled in four, one catch resulting in a touchdown.

Mason Montgomery helped seal the deal with he nailed the conversion kick following a 3-yard Cline run. Montgomery was 3 for 3 on the night.

Prior to the start of the game, Edison paid tribute to teacher, assistant athletic director, head volleyball coach and head track coach Todd Smith, who recently passed away. In addition, Mikey Richardson, a bus driver for the district, was remembered. He died three days before the game.

Moments of silence were held for both men. In addition, balloons were released and video tributes played on the scoreboard.

Shane Keenan has a big night for Toronto, rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown and also catching a 20-yard scoring toss from Aiden Mick, who threw for 111 yards.

Penalties were a major issue for Big Red in the game with Linsly. Saccoccia’s club drew 15 flags, resulting in 138 yards.

The Big Red actually were hit with two flags before anytime ran off the Harding Stadium clock. The opening kick traveled out of bounds, costing Steubenville five yards. Then, before Linsly’s first snap, a Big Red defender penetrated the neutral zone–another five yard mistake.

On the kick following Hill’s 34-yard scoring strike to Inky Jones, Big Red jumped off sides not once, but twice. As a result, Austyn Roberts launched his kick from the 30.

Big Red fans are reminded that Friday’s game with Columbus DeSales will start at 6:30 p.m. The change was made to accommodate travel time for the visitors.

DeSales will bring a 2-4 record to town after falling to rival Columbus Hartley 31-20 during Week 5 action.

Top stats:

Running wild

173, Spencer Ostovich, Steubenville

87, Gavin Bozica, Steubenville, touchdown

85, Zane Kinsey, Toronto

82, Eli Powell, Indian Creek

Gunslingers

128, Phaeton Hill, Steubenville, 8 of 18, 2 scores

121, Gage Cline, Edison, 11 of 30, score

111. Aiden Mick, Toronto, 12 of 21, score

Hands team

6, Jacob Cusick, Edison, 77

4, Tyler Griffith, Edison, 33, touchdown

4, Kam Baker, Toronto, 15

3, Shane Keenan, Toronto, 33, touchdown

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