COLUMBUS — Steubenville had the football and the momentum with less than 4 minutes left Friday and seemed poised to avenge the loss to Columbus Bishop Hartley in last year’s state high school championship game. But, again, the Big Red couldn’t get it done.
Hartley’s Matteo Agriesti kicked a 31-yard field goal with 2 seconds left to spur the Hawks past Steubenville 24-21 in the Division IV final at Ohio Stadium.
Steubenville (13-2) fought back from a two-touchdown deficit and tied the score at 21 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Javon Davis to Charles Reed with 5:48 left in the game.
The Big Red got the ball back on a punt, and their kicker, Mark Smith, set up for a 41-yard field goal attempt with 1:32 remaining. But Smith squibbed the kick, and Hartley linebacker Cody Kirkbride snagged it out of the air and galloped 57 yards back to the Big Red 23.
“It was a good feeling — right place, right time,” Kirkbride said.
Agriesti, a soccer player for Steubenville, kicked the winning field goal four plays later, for the Hawks’ only points of the second half.
“The fact he returned it so far, we were in field goal position,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. “We were going to take a shot at it. If we’re going to kick a field goal, the worst-case scenario is if that doesn’t happen we’re going to overtime.”
Marquette Dixon rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown for Hartley (13-2), and teammate Nick Onega ran for 107 yards and another score.
Jalen McGhee paced Steubenville with 122 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Hartley outgained Steubenville 322-245.
Hartley led 21-14 at the half on the strength of a 98-yard drive capped by a 38-yard TD run by Onega, a 32-yard fourth-down scoring pass from quarterback Jake Ruby to Jaden Manley and a 44-yard TD romp by Dixon.
Steubenville pulled to within a touchdown at the end of the half when Johnny Agresta plunged in from 2 yards out. Agresta appeared to be stopped as he slammed into the middle of the line, but he moved with the pile into the end zone.
“We were good enough to win the game,” Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia said. “The kids did everything in their power to win the game.”
Hartley beat Steubenville in the 2015 final 31-28, with a late interception by Kirkbride sealing the win.
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