Steubenville Big Red
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Big Red romps JFK, 49-12
Updated: Friday, August 29 2014, 12:55 AM EDT
By JIM ELLIOTT
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - Reno Saccoccia said all 82 of his players deserved to get into Thursday's season opener against Cleveland JFK.
They all did - and a solid percentage of them got into the end zone as Big Red overcame a sluggish start on defense to rout the Fighting Eagles, 49-12, at Harding Stadium.
All of those guys became a part of history, too. When Paul Runkle caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Dimitri Collaros with 3 minutes left in the third quarter, the Ohio High School Athletic Association's brand new "mercy rule" went into effect, as Steubenville took a 31-point lead. Under the rule, the clock runs continually if a team gets up by 30 in the second half.
You had to figure Big Red would be the first to try that out.
As far as the particulars, Steubenville scored on 7 of 10 its possessions, including 3 of its first 4. There were four touchdown passes - three by Mandela Lawrence-Burke and one by Collaros -- and four rushing scores. The seven touchdowns were scored by seven different players.
Any time you can get everyone in the program in the game, it's a good thing right?
"I subbed too early," said Saccoccia, who has made a history of being up by 30 on Opening Day, then finding plenty of things that need to get improve.
This time, he was talking about himself.
"These kids have had so much pressure on them that I felt like every one of them deserved to play," Saccoccia said.
Just not as quickly as some of them did.
"With 5 minutes to go in the second quarter, we had 42 kids in the game," Saccoccia said. "You're not going to be hitting on all cylinders."
They really weren't. Sure, they scored touchdowns - Lawrence-Burke had an 8-yard run, Branden Jones caught a 41-yard touchdown pass, and Johnnie Blue bulled his way in from 3 yards out - but they also committed all seven of their penalties during that time. Similarly, JFK receiver Denzel Cummings had a large chunk of his six catches for 133 yards.
Lost in the shuffle - or the shuffling - was that with 3:05 left in the first half, Big Red led only 21-12.
"We have to get a set lineup and stick with that," Saccoccia said.
Either way, they figured it, scoring 16 points in 59 seconds of possession time to put things away very early in the third quarter.
Steubenville did that via a 44-second drive to end the half where Niko Petrides did a bunch of the work, catching two passes covering 46 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown. Then, after JFK got the ball to start the second half, a sack in the end zone gave Big Red two more points and the ball. They held it for 12 seconds, long enough for Ma'Lik Richmond to catch a 35-yard touchdown pass.
"It was a good win," Saccoccia said.
Lawrence-Burke completed 8 of 13 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns. Donte Brown led a ground game that churned out 254 yards with 51 yards on six carries. Richmond was Steubenville's leading receiver with three catches for 69 yards.
Showing balance, Big Red ran for 254 and threw for 204.
Steubenville 49, JFK 12
JFK 0 12 0 0 - 12
Steubenville 14 14 15 6 - 49
S - Lawrence-Burke 8 run (Gary kick), 9:46
S - B.Jones 41 pass from Lawrence-Burke (Gary kick), 3:59
J - Cummings 10 pass from Salters (run failed), 11:18
S - Blue 3 run (Gary kick), 6:24
J - Hoofkin 8 run (pass failed), 3:05
S - Petrides 8 pass from Lawrence-Burke (Gary kick) :19.8
S - Safety (QB sacked in end zone), 10:47
S - Richmond 35 pass from Lawrence-Burke (Gary kick), 10:32
S - Runkle 19 pass from Collaros (kick blocked), 3:00
S - D.Jones 40 run (knee)
Rushing: JFK 28-40-td (Tomlinson 4-10, Salters 14-18, Hoofkin 5-13, Grimes 2-9, Henderson 2-(-14), Johnson 4. Steubenville 29-254-3td (Lawrence-Burke 1-8-td, Blue 4-48-td, Brown 6-51, Ferguson 1-5, Collaros 2-(-7), McGhee 3-33, Gamble 5-26, Sherrell 2-18, Williams 2-29, D.Jones 3-50-td).
Passing: JFK 17-21-185-td (all by Salters); Steubenville: 9-15-204-4td (Lawrence-Burke 8-13-185-3td, Collaros 1-2-19-td).
Receiving: JFK (Cummings 6-133-td, Grimes 6-33, Moore 1-3, Day 2-(-1), Hoofkin 1-8). Steubenville (Richmond 3-69-td, Jones 1-41-td, Agresta 1-9, Brown 1-20, Petrides 2-46-td, Runkle 1-19-td ).
First Downs: JFK 13; Steubenville 18
Penalties: JFK 8-42; Steubenville 7-60