STEUBENVILLE - A fumble, a sack and a couple of early scoring tosses helped Steubenville earn a 28-17 victory against Cleveland Benedictine on Legends Night, Friday at Harding Stadium.
The win moves Big Red to 2-0 and gives them a 3-2 lead in its all-time series with Benedictine. The Bengals fell to 1-1.
"Our kids dug down deep and I'm so proud of them," Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia said. "Playing hard is a given in sports and I really don't like to talk about playing hard. There's a difference between playing hard and playing your guts out and that's what we did tonight."
Steubenville struck first after senior linebacker Robert Hayden recovered a Benedictine fumble on the first play of the game. Five plays later, on fourth-and-4, sophomore quarterback Dimitri Collaros rolled to his right, stopped and threw back to his left, finding a wide open Lucas Herrington for an 11-yard touchdown.
The score advanced to 14-0, Collaros finding senior Kai McClurg alone in the flat for a 6-yard strike.
The third Big Red possession of the contest started on the 23 and resulted in another scoring march, this one covering 77 yards in 11 plays. Lytle motored through a huge hole for a 13-yard TD to cap the drive.
Sophomore quarterback Mandela Lawrence-Burke compiled 22 yards and junior Donte Brown added 13. Duff put Steubenville up 21-0.
Benedictine followed that score with one of its own. Speedy sophomore Justin Layne took a direct snap in the wildcat formation and sprinted 46 yards to the house. Nick Judy nailed the conversion.
Big Red avoided disaster following the Bengal score, fumbling at its own 29 (Antonio Robinson recovering). The defense rose up again, Hayden and junior William Harvey stopped Jerome Baker, Benedictine's talented junior tailback, for a loss on fourth and one.
Judy booted a 35-yard field goal to close the first half scoring. That score came after Saccoccia gambled on fourth and short at his own 36. Benedictine's defense made the big stop this time
Big Red got a huge break on the kickoff following Judy's three-pointer. The kick was fumbled and Benedictine appeared to recover. However, the officials ruled an inadvertent whistle sounded, forcing the Bengals to re-kick. This time, Big Red hung on.
The second half began with Big Red marching 65 yards in nine plays for its final score of the evening. Lawrence-Burke hit King on a play action pass for a 13-yard touchdown. King made an excellent stretch and catch on the Lawrence-Burke toss. Duff added his fourth extra point.
After recovering another Big Red fumble, Benedictine marched 27 yards for its final score. Baker plowed over from a yard out.
Big Red did mount two more scoring threats but one was stopped by a penalty and the other by the Benedictine defense. "We had a mistake filled game with penalties and a couple of turnovers," Saccoccia stated.
"The worse play of the night was when I went for it on fourth and one. During the course of a game, I get so wrapped up in our offensive line and tailbacks. That was a bad call and it put the kids in a hole that we never got out of.