MEDINA — In less time than it takes to switch classes during the school day, Wadsworth’s football team changed everything Friday en route to a 22-9 non-league victory over Medina.
Spurred by forcing a three-and-out and an ensuing touchdown from wide receiver Anthony Schrock, the Grizzlies (3-0) came up with two big plays in the final three minutes of the first half to propel them past the pesky Bees (1-2) at Kenneth Dukes Stadium.
“It’s a really, really big win,” said Schrock, who scored all three of Wadsworth’s TDs. “When we play them every year, it’s always a rivalry game. They always come out and hit us. They’re a great team, they’re physical every year and they never stop.”
Down 10-3 after a 40-yard field goal by Matt Reed, Medina went to its two-minute offense. On the first play, however, Bees quarterback Noah Johanson (6-of-13, 95 yards) was sacked by a host of Grizzlies — led by inside linebacker Jake Crowley — and it led to a three-and-out.
From there, Wadsworth took just under 1:30 to go the distance as Schrock (143 yards total offense) scooped the ball off Medina cornerback Brandon Fielding’s helmet for a 21-yard strike from quarterback Caleb Busson (10-of-19, 124 yards, 2 TDs) on third-and-long.
The acrobatic grab was Schrock’s first of the night, but it completely turned the tides heading into the half.
“That was huge,” Schrock said. “It changed the whole game. We didn’t come out like we did the past two games. We came out sluggish and we picked it up in the middle again, but we didn’t finish strong.”
The Bees left everything on the field in a mad dash to get back in the contest after Schrock snared a seam route for a 31-yard score to make it 22-3 with 10:56 left.
Medina managed to make things interesting on a 3-yard run by Jason Suggs and forced a punt soon after, but Wadsworth linebacker Bart Randolph effectively ended things by batting down a fourth-down pass by Johanson.
Randolph’s play capped another big showing by the Wadsworth defense, which forced four turnovers, all coming as Medina was driving deep into Grizzly territory.
“Medina’s got a great offense and they’re very high-powered,” Crowley said. “(Turnovers) are a huge part of the game. Our defense worked really hard this week. We gave up 27 points last week and that’s unacceptable to us. We really worked hard going after the ball and it showed.”
Wadsworth, which took an early 7-3 lead on a nifty 77-yard fake reverse by Schrock, also had a nice night from sophomore tailback Jack Snowball, who had 128 yards on 22 carries. The strong-legged 180-pounder was a key factor in the fourth quarter with five of his last six totes going for first downs.
Aarick Jones and Luke Currens also each had an interception, with Jones’ coming in the end zone midway through the second quarter.
The loss by Medina put a damper on Suggs’ night, which featured more than 100 yards total offense while filling in for sophomore James Dahlheimer, who was limited with a leg injury.
The Bees passed for 188 more yards and showed plenty of grit, but when it mattered most, Wadsworth made all the big plays.
“We knew it was going to be tough coming in,” Grizzlies coach Greg Dennison said. “When we play Medina, it always is. A lot of times it’s a turnover here or a play here that makes the difference. We knew our kids had to play hard because Medina always plays hard.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wadsworth 22, Medina 9
WADSWORTH 0 16 0 6 — 22
MEDINA 0 3 0 6 — 9
M — Justin Letts 32 field goal, 11:50.
W — Anthony Schrock 77 run (Matt Reed kick), 10:46.
W — Reed 40 field goal, 2:56.
W — Schrock 21 pass from Caleb Busson (run failed), :37.
W — Schrock 31 pass from Busson (pass failed), 10:56.