STEUBENVILLE – Buckeye Local had its ground attack clicking on all cylinders Saturday, as it spoiled Catholic Central’s senior day celebration with a 53-15 victory on Leo Buffone Field.
The Panthers, winners of two straight, amassed 510 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in improving to 3-6 on the season. The loss snapped Central’s two-game winning streak, and the Crusaders now stand at 2-7.
“It was just an outstanding win for us,” Buckeye Local coach Roger Herbert said. “It absolutely started with our offensive line. We ran for more than 500 yards, and they opened up some huge holes.
“Our guys up front just did a wonderful job. We have been playing a lot better football as of late. We will keep working into next week and try to finish strong.”
Trey Hoover had a monster game for the Panthers, racking up 288 yards on just 11 carries and scoring five times. The hard-running sophomore had touchdown jaunts of 33, 49, 7, 68 and 82 yards. All of his yardage came in the first half. Saturday’s performance pushed Hoover over 1,000 yards for the season, and he now is the area’s rushing leader.
“Trey had a heckuva nice game and again, that is a testament to the play of our offensive line,” Herbert said. “He went over 1,000 yards today, and the great thing is he is just a sophomore.
“He never played tailback before – he has always been a quarterback. Once we got some guys back from injuries, we saw an opportunity to move him to tailback, which we think is a natural position for him. He has only been a running back for six games and he has really taken off.”
After the defense delivered a three-and-out on Central’s first possession, Buckeye Local needed just four plays to dent the scoreboard. The touchdown came on a 9-yard run by Hayden Taylor. Hoover’s first three scores made it 27-0 Buckeye after the opening quarter.
Two additional Hoover touchdowns, along with a nifty 33-yard sprint by freshman Noah Kourim, put the Panthers up, 46-0, at the break.
Herbert’s crew scored five touchdowns on its first 11 offensive plays and turned all its opening half possessions into points.
“Buckeye Local is a big, strong football team, and the scoreboard speaks for itself,” Central coach Anthony Agresta said. “We got beat on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. There were times in the secondary when I thought we had a chance to stop some long runs from happening, but their backs either out-ran us or ran through us.
“My hat is off to them. They won the football game, and they are a better football team.”
Central’s first score came when sophomore lineman Tate McKenna blocked a Buckeye punt and returned it 11 yards.
Kourim capped Buckeye Local’s scoring when he raced 66 yards to the end zone. The game’s final touchdown came on a 9-yard run by Central freshman Toby Rusciano, who took over at running back when starter Tim Lamantia left with an injury in the opening half.
Buckeye Local’s 510 rushing yards came on just 27 attempts, an average of 19 yards per trip. Kourim finished with 120, while freshman Skylar Ebright added 60. Junior Trevor Herbert contributed 36.
“It was wonderful to get our younger guys some extended playing time,” coach Herbert said. “Kourim went over 100 yards as a freshman, and Ebright had some nice runs. Herbert got to play some running back.
“Those younger guys getting varsity action is only going to help us get better. We have improved a bunch and we are going to keep getting better. The program is going the right way.”
Buckeye Local’s defense held Central to a net of 7 rushing yards. Senior quarterback Ryan Gorman did complete 13 passes for 126 yards. Sophomore Andrew Dorsey finished with five receptions for 52 yards, while junior Primo Toriscelli had four catches for 55.
“Our first defense only gave up 47 yards today,” coach Herbert said. “The defense has been playing lights out the last couple of weeks (Buckeye Local pitched a shutout at Newcomerstown a week ago). We hang our hat on those guys, and they are doing a great job for us.”
Seniors recognized before the game were Jack Rook, Isaac Hough, Vince Carapellotti, Isaiah Mullins, Nathaniel Stark, Gorman, Ruben Hilson, Charles Miller and Michael Tizziani. Carapellotti and Hilson missed the game with injuries while Mullins and Stark have been idle since Week 5 due to OHSAA transfer rules.
“We were looking to honor our seniors today,” Agresta said. “That is why we kept Ryan (Gorman) in there at the end to complete some passes and make some throws. And, that is why we went for two after our last touchdown and Ryan was able to find Isaac (Hough).
“We let Tizziani finish out the game even though he was surrounded by freshmen on the line. We did what we could to make sure our seniors got some quality time the second half. I am just thankful for them that this was not their last game. Fortunately, we have another one on Friday.”
Buckeye Local: Travels to Harrison Central on Friday for the V.A.L.E.S. trophy.
CCHS: Travels to Morgantown Trinity on Friday.
Buckeye Local 53, Catholic Central 15
Buckeye Local 27 19 7 0 – 53
Central 0 0 7 8 – 15
B – Taylor 9 run (kick failed)
B – Hoover 33 run (Kalman kick)
B – Hoover 49 run (Kalman kick)
B – Hoover 7 run (Kalman kick)
B – Hoover 68 run (kick failed)
B – Hoover 82 run (Kalman kick)
B – Kourim 33 run (kick failed)
C – McKenna 11 return of blocked punt (Rook kick)
B – Kourim 66 run (Kalman kick)
C – Rusciano 9 run (Hough pass from Gorman)
RUSHING: Buckeye Local 34-510-8tds (Hoover 11-288-5tds; Kourim 7-120-2tds; Herbert 9-36; Taylor 1-9-td; Ebright 5-60; Anderson 1-(-3)); Central 21-7-td (Gorman 7-1; Lamantia 3-(-4); Miller 1-(-1); Petrella 1-(-4); Rusciano 9-15-td).
PASSING: Buckeye Local 1-2-24 (Taylor 1-1-24; Ebright 0-1); Central 13-23-126-int (all by Gorman).
RECEIVING: Buckeye Local 1-24 (Palmer Jr. 1-24); Central 13-126 (Dorsey 5-52; Toriscelli 4-55; Lamantia 1-3; Rusciano 2-7; Ialenti 1-9).
FIRST DOWNS: Buckeye Local 13; Central 7.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Buckeye Local 10-100; Central 8-80.
PUNTS: Buckeye Local 0-0; Central 4-27.
FUMBLES-LOST: Buckeye Local 1-1; Central 2-1.