STEUBENVILLE - Good football teams have the ability to reload on a yearly basis and also, somewhere along the line, must find ways to deal with adversity, putting controversy to the side and leaving it off the field.
Just two games into the 2012 high school season, Coach Reno Saccoccia and his Steubenville team have had more distractions than most teams have to deal with in an entire campaign, however, the Big Red Machine continues to roll on.
Last Friday provided another stern test as 2-0 Big Red had to score late and then hold off Benedictine to post a prized 32-28 victory at Harding Stadium.
Next up for Steubenville will be a new opponent, Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School from Buffalo, New York.
The Roman Catholic college prep school for boys opened its season with a huge 21-14 victory against Williamsville South in an elite large school battle in Western N.Y. last week.
With senior quarterback Corey Stinson still getting a feel for things, Big Red turned to the running game against the Bengals, gaining 227 yards on 37 tries and reaching the end zone four times on the ground.
Senior Teshawn Luke provided 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns while junior Robert Hayden added 57 yards and what turned into the game-winning touchdown.
Stinson did an admiral job, hitting 9 of 13 tries for 90 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Senior Eric Robinson was on the other end of Stinson's lone scoring toss.
Steubenville's defense did allow 28 points and 234 yards through the air, but thanks in large part to sacks, did limit Benedictine to just five yards on the ground on 29 tries.
Timon Coach Charlie Comerford could not have been happier, watching his team race to a 21-0 halftime lead in its opener, however, the mood quickly changed early in the second half.
Already missing leading rusher, junior Adam Dimillo with an injury, senior quarterback Ryan Dougherty went down early in the third period with what appeared to be an ACL injury and the Tigers never scored again.
Senior JD Recor did an outstanding job filling in for Dimillo, rushing for 160 yards in the first half alone and scoring on a 65-yard run just 18 seconds into the contest.
Fullback Jackson Brown and wide receiver Lewis Vacarro each found the end zone for Timon while the Tigers defense recorded a pair of interceptions deep in their own territory to help hang on.
"They are out of the Catholic League up that way and run out of the spread formation," Saccoccia said.
"We know from playing a couple other schools from up that way that they will be a well-coached and fundamentally sound unit.
"But they also lost their quarterback last week and we know that he will not play against us.
"For us, we have had a couple of very physical games, but I am very proud of our kids and how they have adjusted the last couple of weeks. We have played with passion and a refuse to lose attitude.
"Both of our games have tested our toughness, and we survived both of them."