Three games are on tap for the second fall weekend of high school football Saturday afternoon.
St. John Central will return home to the friendly confines of the Irish Youth Sports Complex in south Bellaire as Homecoming 2012 will unfold.
The Irish (2-3) will host Toronto (1-4) at noon.
In other action, Bridgeport (1-4) will look to get back on the winning track when it travels to always-tough Weirton Madonna (3-1), while Linsly (1-4) welcomes state-ranked Columbus Bishop Ready (5-0).
ST. John is coming off a 47-27 setback at Clay-Battelle last weekend, but first-year head coach Jason Merryman liked what he saw, despite the loss.
"We never quit fighting," he allowed. "The kids played hard to the final whistle."
Not being able to generate much offensive movement in the first four weeks, the Irish spread things out a little against the Cee-Bees, and it worked to an extent.
Senior D.J. Shoemaker threw for a season-high 258 yards on 16 of 30. He threw a touchdown to classmate Alex Francis, but was pilfered twice.
"I was pleased with our passing attack," Merryman admitted. "We opened up our offense a little, and it seemed to work."
Francis hauled in seven of the completions for 120 yards, while John Alvey snarred four and Dario Paolina three.
However, he still isn't happy with his team's defensive play.
"We still gave up too many big plays, and you just can't do that against good teams like Clay-Battelle."
As far as the Red Knights go, Merryman is concerned about their speed.
"We have to contain the Glenn brothers," he said. "Also, the Chadwick kid is becoming a good wide receiver for them."
vs. Weirton Madonna, 7 p.m.
At Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton, the Bulldogs and Blue Dons will renew acquaintances on the spanking new turf.
Head coach Rudy Vavrock's squad hasn't been able to muster up much offense either, as they are only scoring 12 points a game while giving up 26.
Senior tailback Dallas Fields has been the most productive offensive player for the Black-and-Blue.
He has rushed for 483 yards and a trio of six-pointers, while also catching a dozen passes for 86 stripes and a TD.
Patrick Britton has been a pleasant surprise on defense for the Bulldogs.
Weirton Madonna is led by quarterback Ross Comis who averages 120 yards of total offense.
The Blue Dons have whipped Valley (49-0), Fort Frye (49-6) and Cameron (60-14). The lone setback was to Wheeling Central (28-22).
vs. Linsly, 1:30 p.m.
At Lockhart Alumni Field, the Cadets will be looking to snap a 4-game losing skid after a Week 1 win over Magnolia, which hasn't lost since.
Linsly was defeated 17-3 last week at Shadyside. Bishop Ready put up 72 points in a rout of Coal Grove Dawson Bryant.
Chinelo Oparanozie leads the Cadets with 763 yards and seven TDs on the ground.
Sophomore Jibri Blount got his first start at quarterback last week.
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