Football Lookahead: Steubenville Looks to Rebound

Steubenville will look to rebound from its tough loss to Massillon when it travels to Barberton on Friday for the third meeting between the schools.

Big Red topped the Magics 29-7 during the 1958 season and 31-0 in 1959.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. inside Sharkey Stadium.

The Magics, considered a Division II team by Ohio standards, stand at 2-3.

Coach Jeff Sharkey, the son of former Barberton coach Rudy Sharkey, the man whose name adorns the school’s stadium, is in his fourth season. He earned all-Ohio honors as a defensive back playing for his father form 1979-1981.

Barberton went 2-8 a season ago and was 3-7 in 2011.

“They run a multiple offense,” Big Red’s Reno Saccoccia said of his club’s Week 6 foe. “At times you think they are in a shotgun, but they add a little bit of Wing T. At other times, they show a little Power I.

“Their quarterback is a strong runner and a pretty good athlete. I’m not sure about his speed since you really can’t tell by watching film. He looks very strong and very determined. Plus, he throws a good football.”

John Cominsky, a senior, directs the Barberton attack.

He played in the final two games of 2012 and hit quite a growth spurt during the offseason, going from 6-foot-2, 200 pounds to 6-5, 215 pounds. He’s a converted receiver.

“Their strength in the running game is their quarterback,” Saccoccia added. “We’ll definitely need to contain him.”

Sophomore Brandon McCall and senior Dennis Alexander take most of the handoffs from Cominsky. Daniel Coakley is Cominsky’s favorite target in the passing game.

“Defensively, they use an even base and their linebackers are definitely the strength of their defense,” Saccoccia said.

Defensive back Corey Fox, linebacker Lewis Kafka and lineman Ricky Swain lead the Barberton defense.

Sharkey pointed out his “front-line starters have talent,” but noted his team “lacks depth across the board.”

Through the first five games, Steubenville is averaging 323 yards (201 on the ground) and 34 points. Barberton’s defense surrendered four rushing touchdowns in the loss to Walsh Jesuit.

Garon Lytle continues to lead Steubenville’s tailback by committee in rushing yardage. He has 278 on 48 carries. Donte Brown has contributed 226 and Robert Hayden, who made several big plays on both sides of the ball against Massillon, has 166.

Sophomore quarterbacks Dimitri Collaros and Mandela Lawrence-Burke have combined to throw for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. Collaros is completing 60 percent of his passes and Lawrence-Burke is at 63 percent. Lawrence-Burke also had compiled 154 yards rushing.

Bryan Pierro has 11 catches to pace Big Red receivers. Cody Saltsman has nine and Lucas Herrington eight (four of his grabs have resulted in touchdowns). Kai McClurg and Cam King have five grabs each.

Defensively, Steubenville is surrendering 250 yards a game (132 passing) and 23 points.

The loss to Massillon dropped Big Red to eighth in the Ohio AP Division IV poll. In the computer ratings, Saccoccia’s club is seventh in Region 13.