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FOOTBALL LOOKAHEAD: State Powers Steubenville, Massillon Ready to Clash

September 20, 2012
By TRACY WATSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Jumping to a quick 28-0 halftime lead on Brooke last week, Steubenville was not only able to get plenty of players some playing time and finally get a little bit of a breather, Big Red was able to get a little much needed rest for a huge challenge this Friday night at Massillon.

That is when Coach Reno Saccoccia will take his 4-0 Big Red Machine to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to battle 3-1 Washington High School.

This will be the fourth meeting for the two schools in as many years, with Steubenville winning both games at Harding Stadium and the Tigers capturing the only other contest played on their home turf.

Article Photos

Matt Petrella

Coach Jason Hall's team is coming off a 41-21 victory against local rival Perry in a game that was not really decided until the fourth quarter, while Big Red finished off the Bruins by a 34-13 margin.

Massillon's only loss of the campaign was a 26-24 setback at Cleveland Glen Oak in Week 2.

Hall's Tigers have been getting it done on offense pretty well through four weeks, putting an average of 38 points a game on the board, but they are allowing 20.

But that powerful offense will be going against a Big Red defense that has been phenomenal. After holding Brooke to 20 yards on 21 carries on the ground a week ago, Steubenville has allowed 118 total rushing yards in four games. Overall, Big Red has surrendered 752 total yards of offense through four games.

''We got to play a lot of kids last week, and they did a real good job,'' Saccoccia said. ''But I also came away from that game with a whole lot of respect for some of those Brooke kids who played to the very last whistle.

''Sometimes that is hard to do in that situation, but they had some kids that battled to the very end. Overall, I am very proud of our kids and their efforts in that game, and through the first four games.''

Leading the way for the Tigers is the highly successful combination of quarterback Kyle Kempt and receiver Gareon Conley.

While Kempt threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns while running for a score last week, Conley tallied three fourth-quarter touchdowns to break open a close game.

In all, Conley had four catches for 103 yards and two scores, and also retuned an interception 78 yards to all but seal the deal against Perry.

Running back Kentrell Taylor added a rushing score while Ernie Baez is a dual threat and had a big night on both sides of the football.

''Every game is a challenge for us,'' Saccoccia said.

''But when you play Massillon Washington there is a little extra spice thrown in. And then playing them at Paul Brown Stadium makes it even better.''

It is the running game that has kept Big Red's offense moving thus far, but senior quarterback Corey Stinson put together his best passing performance of the young season last Friday night.

Stinson completed 13 of 17 for 209 yards and touchdown passes to Cody Saltsman and Matt Petrella. Stinson has thrown for nearly 600 yards and five scores through four games.

Steubenville has a trio of running back who have accumulated carries and yards in Dashon Redman, TeShawn Luke and Robert Hayden, while Tajuan Lawson also returned a kickoff 80 yards against the Bruins.

That trio will be going against a Massillon Washington defense that allowed 242 rushing yards on the ground a week ago and 398 overall.

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