STEUBENVILLE - Wheeling Central has read this chapter three times already.
It's not often a Class A school sees opponents throwing the football at the current pace they've experienced, but the Maroon Knights (4-0) will get another dose at 7 on Saturday night when they travel to Harding Stadium to take on Steubenville Catholic (1-3).
''Overall, I think the programs up and down the Tri-state area are trying to run the spread,'' Wheeling Central coach Mike Young said. ''If you do have a number of skilled athletes it's ideal, because you are able to get them in 1-on-1 situations.
''The running game, you've got to have balance and more than one guy running the football.''
The Maroon Knights have 'passed' each of their four tests, including three against teams that wanted to put the ball in the air - Bellaire, Edison and Madonna. So coming into a matchup with Coach Steve Daley's pass-happy Crusaders won't be something new, even though the personnel will.
Steubenville Catholic is coming off a tough-luck, 22-14 loss to Toronto in a game it led 14-0 in the first quarter. Led by sophomore QB Brenton Colabella, who has completed 31 of 55 for 474 yards and five touchdowns the last two weeks, Steubenville Catholic has the ability to score on nearly every play.
''Looking at their record, they are 1-3,'' Young said. ''They throw the ball all over the field.
''I think their offense is designed to try to score every play. If we can take away the big play, I like our chances.''
For evidence of what Young is talking about, Colabella threw early touchdowns of 56 and 15 yards to Michael Carapellotti and Brannt Pieniazek, respectively last week.
While it may accomplish its goals in a different manner, the Wheeling Central offense doesn't take a backseat to anyone when the idea is creating big plays. It starts with quarterback Parker Henry, who like Colabella is a sophomore. Henry has run for 466 yards and five touchdowns on 42 carries, while also completing 12 of 22 for 362 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Maroon Knights have what many consider a two-headed monster with the emergence of Gino Bianconi. He's the second-leading rusher on the team with 45 carries for 344 yards and six touchdowns, and is also the leading receiver with four catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
''Gino Bianconi is getting better every day,'' Young said. ''We know his abilities and talents, and once he realizes how gifted he is, he'll be outstanding for us.''
Though he's not concerned, Young still would like to see improvement in regard to tackling on the defensive side of the ball. The Maroon Knights have allowed an average of 15.5 points a game, a number that isn't all that surprising given the early season schedule.
''If we continue to work on our technique and basic fundamentals of tackling, I like our chances,'' Young said. ''Against Bridgeport we stopped them from scoring, but we didn't stop them from moving the ball.''
Sophomore middle linebacker Gary Gwynn leads the Knights in tackles with 37, followed by Braxton Nolte (30) and Nick Naumann (29). Naumann also had 2.5 sacks, while Andrew Keane and Ian Yahnke are the leaders in fumble recoveries and interceptions, with two each.
''Steub-enville Ce-ntral is always sc-rappy and physical,'' Young sa-id. ''It will be a hard-hitting ga-me, one that our kids will respond to.
''Playing on turf in a great facility, and whether it's Steubenville or Steubenville Catholic Central, there is always a great atmosphere there.''
Wheeling Central has won the last five meetings in the series. Steubenville Catholic last won in 2005, by a 21-7 score.