Big Red Routs New Philly, 41-7
STEUBENVILLE — Fifteen seconds of the opening quarter made a huge difference Thursday as Steubenville rolled to a convincing 41-7 victory over New Philadelphia before a large crowd inside Harding Stadium.
Big Red’s first possession started at its own 2 and Reno Saccoccia’s club needed just seven plays to score. Rodney James did the honors when he bulled his way over from 2-yards out. The score came at the 6:54 mark of the quarter.
On the drive, James broke loose for 36 yards and Phaeton Hill connected with Isaac Hill for 42 more. Unfortunately, Isaac Hill was injured on the play and didn’t return. Brandon Kinney made a nifty grab of a Phaeton Hill pass for a 12-yard gain. Junior Austyn Roberts’ kick made it 7-0. Roberts would finish the night a perfect 5 for 5.
The Quakers launched their second possession at their own 36. On the first play, James scooped up a Reise Meechan fumble and sprinted to the end zone. The conversion boot made it 14-0 Steubenville with 6:39 showing.
From there, the hosts never looked back.
With the victory, Steubenville improves to 2-0 and snaps a two-year losing streak against New Philadelphia, which falls to 1-1. Thursday’s meeting was the 14th all-time between the schools. New Philly now holds a 7-6-1 overall lead.
“I’m not sure if those two touchdowns turned the game around, but they did make things exciting,” Saccoccia said. “Our goal tonight was to start fast and finish strong and that’s what we did.
“They had our number for a couple of years but this is a different year. I think we played hard but we still are making too many mistakes. But, if we are good coaches and good players and we want to coach hard and they want to be coached hard, then we can fix anything we didn’t do right tonight.”
The score moved to 21-0 midway through the second when Phaeton Hill connected with Brenton Jones for a 31-yard touchdown.
The six-pointer came after Javin Harper recovered another Quaker fumble at midfield. Spencer Ostovich applied the hit that jarred the ball free.
Just before the half, Steubenville struck again. This time, Phaeton Hill found Jones open in the middle of the field. The pass and run covered 67 yards.
James’ third touchdown of the night capped an 80-yard Steubenville drive to begin the third quarter. On the march, a Phaeton Hill to James completion accounted for 25 yards. Big Red chewed up more than five minutes and the touchdown kicked in the OHSAA mercy rule.
A fumble recovery by sophomore Peyton Gorby following another nasty hit by Ostovich led to Steubenville’s final score. It came on a 6-yard run by sophomore Savier Faulks,
The Quakers managed to dent the scoreboard with 7:05 to play on a 26-yard pass from Connor Rippeth to Trevor Bean. Rippeth took over as quarterback for New Philadelphia when starter Kurtis Tetzloff left with an injury in the first half.
Big Red finished with 504 yards of offense (292 on the ground and 212 through the air). James, the senior tailback, compiled 148 on just 14 carries. Faulks added 66.
Phaeton Hill completed 12 of his 20 passes. Jones finished with three receptions for 110 yards. James also caught three passes for 29 yards.
Big Red’s defense allowed just 83 yards, most of which came after Saccoccia had removed his starters. The unit also recovered four fumbles, giving it nine takeaways in two games.
“You only see the guys carrying the ball but we had major contributions from nine offensive linemen tonight,” Saccoccia said. “The defense played lights out and came up with some key turnovers.
“Offensively, we played well and were able to finish with a lot of yards. We just can’t turn the ball over, especially in the red zone (Steubenville lost a fumble at the Quaker nine) like we did last week and this week.
“We just have to keep improving. This game is over and we are going to enjoy it. We’ll swim tomorrow and watch film. We’ll let the kids have Saturday off while the coaches work on what we have to fix.”
Saccoccia and his Big Red will host Wheeling Park next Friday. The Patriots open their season tonight at St. Clairsville.
“We have to be ready to work hard next week,” Saccoccia said. “We have to work hard every week. Good teams improve and are steady. Average teams are up and down and are not consistent. We need to keep working on being consistent.”