Big Red’s Pierro named to First-Team All-State

STEUBENVILLE – For four years, Bryan Pierro played larger than life for the Big Red football team.

“He proved that you don’t have to be 6-foot-5 and weigh 250 pounds to be a leader,” said Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia. “Leadership can come in all sizes.”

On Tuesday, Pierro was named to the 2013 Associated Press Division IV All-Ohio team. Pierro, a 5-foot-6, 160-pound defensive back was also tabbed as a first-team Eastern All-District player. He had 77 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries in his final regular season with Big Red.

“It’s beautiful,” Saccoccia said. “He was great for us all year. He definitely deserves this for all the hard work he put in.”

Since Saccoccia took over the program in 1983, 30 players have been selected to Ohio’s first team.

That list includes Charles Keenan – the 1984 Defensive Player of the Year; Nate Burress – the 1991 Defensive Player of the Year; Nate Johnson – the 1994 Defensive Player of the Year; Angelo Magnone – the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year; Zach Collaros – the 2006 Offensive Player of the Year; Branko Busick – the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year; Dwight Macon – the 2008 Offensive Player of the Year; and Najee Murray – the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year.

Macon was also named to the first-team in 2009, while Shaq Petteway was a two-time first-team honoree in 2009 and 2010.

This year, Jaylin Williams was a third-team selection on defense. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound lineman recorded 58 tackles in 22 straight starts in his senior year. Offensive lineman Chris Starliper was a Division IV Special Mention.

Big Red finished the year with a 9-5 record, capturing the Region 13 championship, before falling to Cardinal Mooney in the state semifinals at Fawcett Stadium.

“I’m extremely proud of the effort all the kids put in this season,” Saccoccia said. “I want to thank each and every one of them for their effort and dedication.”

Indian Creek’s JustinGibson, a 5-foot-10, 230-pound offensive lineman was named to the Division IV second team. He was a three-year starter.

“Justin was recognized by our team as a captain this year,” said Redskins coach Andrew Connor, after Gibson was named to the first-team All-District team. “There is a special quality he has at doing his job. He never looked for any praise and there was never a time when he didn’t go hard.”

In the Indian Creek backfield was senior Blake Roar, a 5-foot-9 running back who totaled 1,149 yards on 177 carries and 14 touchdowns. He also had 15 receptions for 145 yards and a score. Roar also had a kickoff return for a touchdown.

“He’s one of those kids who is an athlete and we did everything in our power to get the ball in his hands,” Connor said.

Edison’s Nolan Marcus, a quarterback who threw for 1,590 yards and 20 touchdowns on 109 of 183 completions, was a Special Mention, as was teammate Rich Springer. At wide receiver, he caught 30 passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns.

Indian Creek’s Zach Connor and Tyler Lathem were also named to the Special Mention list.

In Division V, Harrison Central had five players named to the Special Mention team. Nate Olmstead, Cole Hower, Niko Williams, David Miser and Dalton Rutter all made the list.