STEUBENVILLE -After three weeks at home, Steubenville Catholic will hit the road again Friday, traveling to Belmont County for a bout with Barnesville.
Steve Daley's state-ranked club (sixth in this week's Ohio AP Division VII poll) stand at 6-0 and is the first Central team to start a season with six straight wins since 1991. Matt Johnson's Shamrocks are 1-5. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
''They're a young team with good size up front,'' Daley said of the Shamrocks. ''They have a couple of young backs who run very hard.
''We think they will line up and try to pound it at us. We expect they will try to keep the away from our offense. We have to look at stopping the run, that's our main goal defensively.''
Johnson, who is in his second head at the Barnesville helm, changed his offensive philosophy during the offseason. The Shamrocks went away from the spread offense from a year and try to play smash mouth football from the pro-I.
Senior David Brown (5-11, 240) moved from the offensive line to the fullback spot. Sophomore Dylan Burkhart (6-0, 170) starts at tailback for the Shamrocks.
To date, Burkhart has rushed for 448 yards. In Barnesville's 28-6 victory against Shenandoah, Burkhart ran for a career-high 234 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Austin ''Bub'' Hannahs, who didn't participate in football as a junior, directs the Shamrock attack. He has thrown for more than 300 yards.
Through six games, Central's defense has been pretty solid against the run. The Crusaders are allowing 108 yards per outing on the ground and 88 through the air. Opponents are averaging 12 points. In the past four games, Daley's defense has surrendered 18 points.
''We're doing a nice job of playing a team concept on defense,'' Daley said. ''That's what we have to do. We've been taking good care of the ball ourselves and forcing turnovers. That's a key for us going forward.''
In its Week 6 victory against Conotton Valley, Central's defense produced five turnovers (two interceptions and three fumble recoveries).
Barnesville, according to Daley, has ''some young kids on the defensive side of the ball with decent size.
''They have a freshman linebacker who is solid and physical. He gets after it and they like to send him on stunts. We'll need to be prepared for that and be ready to pick up their pressure.
''They'll give us some different defensive looks and we need to be ready. We'll also have to makes changes with our blocking schemes based on the looks they give us.''
To date, Central's offense has been pretty effective when it comes to adjusting to the looks provided by their opponents.
The Crusaders are averaging 395 yards an outing (186 via the rush and 209 via the pass) and 48 points.
Senior quarterback Brenton Colabella has thrown for 1,225 yards and 19 touchdowns. For his career, he has compiled 6,738 passing yards and 72 touchdowns.
Ryan Fletcher leads Central's receivers with 18 catches. Aleks Porreca has 12 and Johnny DiCarlantonio nine. Khalil Jones and Luke Potenzini both have eight.
Jones has carried the ball 33 times for 346 yards (10.5 yards a trip). Nine of his carries have produced touchdowns.
This is the fourth meeting between the schools. Central earned its first victory over Barnesville in 2012, cruising to a 63-14 triumph at Harding Stadium.
The Crusaders advanced a spot in this week's Region 25 computer standings, moving from fourth to third. They trail Shadyside and Glouster Trimble.