STEUBENVILLE - It was as late as May and Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia was suddenly trying to find a Week 3 fill-in when he looked north of the border and somehow convinced Bishop Ryan, based in Hamilton, Ontario, to play what would be its first game of the season at Harding Stadium.
How'd he do it?
''We offered to play them in hockey after the game,'' Saccoccia joked.
What happened on the field wasn't as funny for the Celtics, who sustained a 53-0 beating Friday night.
But they knew what they were getting into.
''We think it's a good team bonding experience,'' Bishop Ryan coach Anthony Tassone said of the three-day stay and 5-hour drive. ''It's good to play in front of large crowds. We plan on playing in late November, and we need to be in a pressure situation. And this provides that pressure situation.''
It also provided some ugly numbers. No matter the measuring unit, it didn't look good for the Celtics, who wound up with 96.021 meters of offense.
Talk about a tough exchange rate, Big Red wound up with 4 yards for every one Bishop Ryan had (407-105). Steubenville scored 53 points, despite having just seven before the Celtics embarked on a 15-play, 33-yard drive that ate up 7:40 of the first-quarter clock. That spurt was aided by a roughing the punter call against Big Red, which was susceptible on fourth down (Ryan completed 4 of 5), but was inhospitable on third down (Ryan was 0-for-11).
''We're two weeks in where they're about five weeks in, so we're going to have mistakes,'' Tassone said. ''We don't have the depth they have, nor can we travel with our jayvee team. They're a great team and it was going to be tough with them anyway. So we thought we put out a credible first half and then ...''
Yeah. It was 21-0 at halftime, with Big Red scoring on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Prather to Matt Petrella, a 17-yard run by Prather, and Najee Murray's 44-yard scoring jaunt.
The wheels came off in the third quarter, when the Celtics went no where (thanks in part to Michael Jett's third interception in three games) and Big Red scored 26 points.
JoJo Pierro, who had 65 yards on seven carries, scored on a pair of touchdown runs (18 and 18 yards), Leshawn Luke added a 5-yard scoring run, and Cody Saltsman closed the quarter with a 67-yard punt return for a score. After Luke's touchdown, Big Red elected to kneel down on the PATs, which continued through Chez Glenn's 3-yard, fourth-quarter TD run that capped the scoring.
It capped the scoring because Bishop Ryan elected to try - and missed - a 20-yard field goal with 28 seconds left.
By that time, everyone who had been issued a varsity uniform in Steubenville had gotten into the game.
''We got every kid that busted their butt in two-a-days, and in camp to play under the lights in front of a nice crowd,'' Saccoccia said. ''The young kids that got in got to participate in a game that they paid the price to get in.''
That included every senior, junior, sophomore, and all eight freshmen.
Murray wound up as Big Red's leading rusher with 66 yards on three carries. Petrella led the way receiving with three catches for 53 yards and the score. Prather, who completed just one pass last week, was 15 of 21 for 192 yards and a score.
Bishop Ryan quarterback Shane Molczan had a rough night, as he completed 7 of 18 passes for 26 yards and an interception.
Big Red had 22 first downs.