SOLON — The Medina football team made huge strides last week in playing tough with Shaker Heights.
On Friday night, however, the Bees took a step backwards.
With an offense that was unable to move the ball and a defense that was stuck battling Solon in short-yardage situations, Medina lost 42-14 in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division opener.
“Everything that we did well last week we did not do this week,” first-year Bees coach Dan Sutherland said. “We didn’t play well, and it doesn’t help when field position in the first half killed us. They started every drive within the 40-yard line.
“You can’t play good teams like Solon on our side of the field the whole first half, and that’s what happened.”
While the Bees (1-5, 0-1) were stuck offensively, Solon (4-2, 1-0) took full advantage of great field position.
Using a two-quarterback system of the crafty George Berry and pocket-passer Ryan Gallagher, the Comets picked apart Medina slowly in the first half before breaking the game wide open in the third quarter.
“We’re trying to use the talents of both of them and we just have to keep working at it,” Solon coach Jim McQuaide said of his signal-callers. “I think we’re pretty athletic, and we had some guys that made some plays in space that helped us out.”
Berry was downright impressive, as the senior scored early in the game on a 31-yard run and later passed for 25- and 9-yard scores to Drew Barksdale as the Comets built a 28-0 lead just 3 minutes into the second half.
Running back Khoury Crenshaw, the reigning Division I champion in the 100-meter dash, broke off a 48-yard TD scamper minutes later, and Berry followed with his fourth touchdown — this one a 25-yard interception of Collin Minor.
At halftime alone, Solon was outgaining the Bees 172-18.
“We could not match their speed on the field anywhere,” said Sutherland, whose team had just two first downs over the first 2½ quarters. “We tried some things to try and counteract their speed. It didn’t work. It was their speed and their execution.
“We put our defense in horrible spots, and offensively we didn’t execute when we had chances to make plays. We just didn’t get it done tonight.”
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter Medina fans had something to cheer about, as the Bees put together an 18-play, 69-yard drive capped off by a Minor 1-yard dive up the middle.
Medina went out fighting after getting the ball back with a minute left, as Minor tossed a 50-yard bomb to Jeremy Hamlin for a score with just 5 seconds remaining.
Minor finished 6-for-19 passing for 68 yards and a pair of interceptions, while the running back tandem of Jerry Klue and Cody Fortney finished with 47 and 40 yards rushing, respectively.
In the midst of a five-game losing skid and a Valley Division that only gets harder, Sutherland is hoping his veterans rise to challenge in the final four weeks.
“That comes down to our seniors,” he said. “Our seniors have done a good job of staying focused, not giving up and keep battling every game. Like I told them, we have things that we can do as a senior class that never have been done here before.
“We’re still playing for things and still peddling hard. These kids will keep fighting, I know it. I believe in them.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solon 42, Medina 14
MEDINA 0 0 0 14 — 14
SOLON 7 14 21 0 — 42
S — George Berry 31 run (Keon Hemerlin kick), 7:45.
S — Darian Hicks 29 pass from Ryan Gallagher (Hemerlin kick), 11:12.
S — Drew Barksdale 25 pass from George Berry (Hemerlin kick), 0:22.
S — Barksdale 9 pass from Berry (Hemerlin kick), 9:40.
S — Khoury Crenshaw 48 run (Hemerlin kick), 6:55.
S — Berry 25 interception return (Hemerlin kick), 5:21
M — Collin Minor 1 run (Nick Bavaro kick), 4:20.
M — Jeremy Hamlin 50 pass from Minor (Bavaro kick), 0:05.