Bellaire Shaves Harrison, 14-7
BELLAIRE — Despite four turnovers and a couple of costly penalties, Bellaire is still undefeated after three weeks of high school football action.
The Big Reds used a strong running game and a staunch defense in posting a 14-7 victory over Harrison Central on Saturday at soggy Nelson Field. It was the Buckeye 8 opener for each squad.
“I just told the kids congratulations on being 3-0. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember,” said Bellaire coach Mark Spigarelli, who spent several years on the Big Reds staff before being elevated to head coach three years ago. “That’s a testament to these kids because they have been lifting since January. I wouldn’t change these kids for anything in the world. They play hard and never quit.
“We could’ve easily of packed it in there when we’re fumbling the ball … fumbling the exchange and giving the ball back to them. But I think we still played outstanding on defense.”
The Big Reds scored on their first possession of the game after holding the Huskies (0-3) on downs near midfield. They converted a pair of third-down plays on the eight-play drive, including a 8-yard TD strike from quarterback Bobby Roth to wideout A.J. McCarthy. Roth rolled to his left before finding McCarthy all alone in the left-corner of the end zone. Cole LaRoche tacked on the PAT and it was 7-0 with 6:35 on the first-quarter clock.
Roth extended the drive earlier with a 19-yard completion to LaRoche over the middle on third-and-7 that moved the ball to the Huskies 14.
Mistakes haunted the hosts in the second quarter as Kobe Mitchell picked off a Roth pass and Tucker Coultrap fell on a fumble. However, the Bellaire defense was up to the task each time.
“We did what we had to do to score there late in the game for the win,” Spigarelli added.
Following three quarters of stagnant offense, Harrison Central got a spark on the first two plays of the fourth.
Senior tailback Tyler West, who didn’t see action in the first quarter, broke a couple of tackles and went 53 yards down the sideline. Job Positano evened the score with his placement with 11:39 left to play.
Bellaire came right back, marching 60 yards on seven plays. Trace Sechrest, who carried 14 times in the second half, was the main contributor. He finished with 17 carries for 181 yards, which included a 21-yard scamper untouched up the middle.
“He was a man among boys,” Spigarelli said of the 6-foot, 205-pound junior. “He was holding the ball with two arms and did a great job. Our line also did a super job of blowing them (Harrison Central) off the line, allowing him to get those yards.”
The line included center Daniel Lednik, right guard Joey Hoepfner, right tackle Connor Rosen, left tackle Levi Littell and left guard Chase Nolan.
“We have a tough task next Saturday with John Marshall coming in here,” Spigarelli said of next week’s action. “They are a big, strong, physical team that likes to pound the ball just like us. Best man up. Whomever plays best will win.”
Cole Porter added 77 on 16 trips for Bellaire.
The Huskies had a chance on the final play, but Mitchell’s heave from midfield was knocked down.
Notre Dame 27, Bridgeport 7
MARTINS FERRY — Fred Ray sees progress.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get him and his Bridgeport Bulldogs their first victory of the season at a rain-soaked Dave Bruney Football Complex.
The Bulldogs struggled to get untracked offensively against Notre Dame which used a solid ground game and mixed in three big plays by virtue of the passing game en route to a victory.
The Bulldogs weren’t able to get much traction offensively not because of weather issues, but because Irish defenders were constantly in the backfield chasing talented senior quarterback Tino Kusic all over the place.
Bridgeport’s offense managed143 yards, while surrendering five sacks.
The Bulldogs hung in there, but couldn’t get a key stop on a handful of third downs thanks to a Notre Dame running game that got the call 47 times for 223 yards. The Irish spread the ball around, too.
Eight different players had at least two carries. While the ground game kept the Bulldogs on their heels, it was those passing plays that proved to be the difference.
Senior quarterback Nathan Helm, who transferred to Notre Dame from Robert C. Byrd, completed threw a 28-yard touchdown to Samuel Romano and then in the second quarter he delivered a beautifully thrown ball to freshman Jaidyn West for a 45-yard score to take a 14-0 lead into halftime.
Bridgeport scored with 7:21 to play when Kusic found Trevonn Ray open from 3 yards out.
Southern 26, Steub. Catholic 13
STEUBENVILLE — Southern (3-0) scored the game’s initial 20 points, pitched a first-half shutout and left rainy Harding Stadium with a victory.
The Indians set the tone on their first drive, marching 58 yards in 10 plays. All but 10 of those yards came on the ground as Southern’s big, physical line controlled things up front. The touchdown came on a 4-yard run by Dylan Milhoan.
After recovering a fumble, Southern struck again, this time on a 20-yard pass from Jayce Sloan to Mark Soukup. Edison transfer River Pappas provided the third score with an 8-yard burst up the middle.
The Crusaders offense was held pretty much in check throughout the opening 24 minutes. Central did mount a threat late, moving from its 47 to the Southern 13, but was unable to convert before the clock expired.
The Crusaders took the second-half kick and marched from their 40 to the Indians 18 before turning the ball over on downs. The Crusaders got on the board with 2:49 left in the third when Jeffrey Dawson capped a 56-yard drive with a 2-yard plunge.
Madonna 25, Vincentian Acad. 14
WEIRTON — Madonna got touchdown runs from three different players, and its defense shut down Vincentian Academy’s ground game to earn a gritty win in a steady rain and cold wind inside Jimmy Carey Stadium. The victory was the second in three starts this season for coach Darrin Hicks’ club.
With about half of the 11 freshmen on the team playing key roles on either offense or defense, the Blue Dons dominated the action. Sophomore running backs Tom Sessi, Ty Ingram and Antonio Daddario carried the bulk of the load.
Ingram scored on runs of 28 and 5 yards, while Sessi was the leading gainer with 124 yards and made a sensational 15-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that pretty much put the game out of reach of the determined Royals.
Vincentian suspended football in 2017 because there was a lack of participation by students. Saturday night was its season opener, so it didn’t have a lot of experience and showed early.
The Royals fumbled on the opening possession of the game, with Daddario pouncing on the loose pigskin at the Royals’ 33. Five plays later, Dietrich went the final yard on a keeper, and his kick put the Blue Dons ahead, 7-0.