NEW MANCHESTER - Before the game if someone said Steubenville Catholic Central quarterback Brenton Colabella would only throw for 122 yards, most would've said that Oak Glen came out with a victory.
The Golden Bears did hold the Crusaders' standout signal caller to a season low in yards, but it came in a 28-6 loss on Friday night at the Bears Den.
Colabella, who came into the game with 1,168 yards passing, was held in check to 12-of-26 passing, but two second half touchdowns passes proved to be enough for the Crusaders.
Oak Glen's David Campbell runs against Steubenville Catholic Central on Friday. (Photo by Jamie Olmstead)
"I think we played fast and physical," Oak Glen coach Ian Whittington said. "We held them to not too many passing yards. Our goal coming in was to stop the pass and tackle and we did that for the most part. A couple mistakes here and there killed us and Steubenville Catholic is a good football team."
The Crusaders improve to 3-2 on the season, while the Bears have dropped their third straight game after
winning their first two.
While many anticipated a showdown between Colabella and Oak Glen quarterback Bub Haddox, it wasn't to be. The Bears played without their starting signal caller who was out with pneumonia.
In his place was sophomore Chase Hartley who finished 9-of-16 passing for 61 yards and an interception in his first ever varsity start.
"I thought Chase played very tough," Whittington said. "He's a physical, hard-nosed kid, but we lose a little flexibility in our offense without Bub out there. Bub can do some special things with his legs and his arm. It was a big loss for us, but Chase played his butt off."
Whittington said he didn't find out the status of Haddox until late Wednesday night leaving limited time to alter the Oak Glen gameplan.
"He practiced on Tuesday, but he got sick and Wednesday it got worse," Whittington said of Haddox. "But, you know, Chase is a good athlete and we had a good quarterback battle before the season. He's a competitor and he gave us a good start."
The final score is a little bit deceiving. Oak Glen trailed by only one score with less than three minutes left in the game before Catholic Central scored twice in a matter of 30 seconds.
The game started slowly for both teams. Neither offense could get much going in the first half as both teams punted four times in the opening two quarters.
Oak Glen was able to get pressure on Colabella, sacking him four times and holding him to just 47 yards passing in the first half. Brodie Bittinger, Nate Wright and Preston Murray all got their hands on the Crusaders quarterback in the first half.
Catholic Central did have one big play in the first half. In the opening frame, on a 3rd-and-3 near midfield, Doug Maslowski found a hole up the middle and dashed 46 yards for the only score of the first half.
Oak Glen had a chance to answer in the second quarter as they drove to the Catholic Central 18-yard line, but Hartley was picked off by Ryan Fletcher on a pass in the end zone.
The Bears came out in the second half and took only three plays to score their first touchdown of the game when Tyler Steed broke free down the sidelines for a 49-yard score.
Colabella and the Crusaders' offense then went on one of their extended drives that culminated in a 14-yard scoring strike to Mike Carapellotti, putting the Catholic Central advantage to 14-6 with 7:20 left in the third quarter.
That's where the score would remain until late in the fourth quarter.
With four minutes left in the game, Oak Glen decided to go for it on a 4th-and-11 from their own 28-yard line. Catholic Central's Zach Herrington came on a safety blitz and took down Hartley for an eight-yard loss.
Herrington was just getting started.
Four plays later, Herrington was on the receiving end of a 5-yard touchdown pass from Colabella giving the Crusaders a 21-6 lead with 2:20 left to play.
Two plays later, Herrington again sacked Hartley, this time causing a fumble. Herrington was able to scoop the ball up and run for a 39-yard touchdown putting the game to its final, 28-6.
Herrington led the Crusaders with four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Maslowski paced the Catholic Central rushing attack with 11 carries for 97 yards and a score.
For Oak Glen, Steed led the way with 77 yards on 15 attempts and a score.
The Bears will look to regroup as they prepare to travel to Hancock County rival Weir next week. The Red Riders (0-5) lost on Friday, 37-7, against previously winless Liberty Harrison.
"I thought our guys played an extremely hard fought football game," Whittington said. "They played until the end. I told them to look at the big picture. There's still a lot of season left. Next week, we've got Weir, and that game has a special place in the hearts of our kids."
NOTES: The Bears were penalized seven times for 65 yards compared to four for 35 yards for the Crusaders. ... Catholic Central was slowed somewhat on offense, but didn't commit any turnovers in the game. ... Oak Glen senior Richie Davis, a 6-foot-8, 360-pound lineman caught a pass in the second half. The ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and the completion went for a loss of two yards, but might have prevented an interception.