WADSWORTH — With all the attention on the Copley football team and Division I recruit Aregeros Turner in a Suburban League tilt Friday, somebody forgot to let Wadsworth know it was supposed to lose.
Instead, Wadsworth completely dominated with a physical running game and walked away with a convincing 28-0 win.
The Grizzlies (5-3, 3-2) stifled Turner all night and racked up an impressive 384 yards on the ground behind Martice Jackson (22 carries, 156 yards, 2 TDs), Scott Campbell (13, 85, 1), Nick Winkler (6, 60) and Gunnar Graham (4, 48, 1).
“We knew we had to do that with (quarterback) Matt (Alic) being out,” Wadsworth coach Greg Dennison said. “We knew we had to control the line of scrimmage and put it on our offensive line. They really responded and had a great game.”
Alic was out with a broken wrist suffered in last week’s 21-9 loss to Green, forcing the Grizzlies to take to the ground.
With Jake Morello and sophomore Adam Dennison alternating under center, the Grizzlies only attempted three passes on the night compared to 55 rushes.
The second play from scrimmage was an omen for the Indians (5-3, 2-3). Lined up in the Wildcat, Turner took the snap from center and lost the handle attempting to hand off. Winkler won a mad scramble for the ball, setting the Grizzles up at the Copley 25.
Jackson tip-toed the sideline and bulled through the Copley defense three plays later for a 20-yard touchdown run and the tone was officially set.
“I just saw an opening,” Jackson said. “My whole motivation was that I gotta play big, I gotta start big. I gotta get the team on my back and have a good game. That was a play right there, and that was my opportunity.”
The Wadsworth offensive line and the quartet of running backs simply wore down the smaller Copley defense. It showed late, as even feeding the ball to the fullback to run out the clock led to a 42-yard rumble from the infrequently used Graham.
“The only thing that really stopped them tonight was really themselves with penalties,” Copley coach Ron Viscounte said. “We had trouble tackling them. Our kids didn’t do a good job tackling, and we were diving instead of running our feet and wrapping up. They were sustaining blocks and knocking us off the ball, and when those things happen, you really don’t have a chance.”
The Grizzlies’ defense was in complete shutdown mode. Turner (29 carries, 92 yards) averaged a meager 3.2 yards and had 10 totes that went for 1 yard or less, including six in the negative.
“We preached all week that it had to be 11 guys doing their job defensively,” Dennison said. “He’s not the only athlete that they have that can take it the distance at any time. They are a big-play team, and I am proud of the way our kids played. We hit and we executed.”
Leading the way for Wadsworth was defensive back Austin White. The sophomore picked off Copley quarterback John Kromalic, had a pair of passes defensed and stripped Turner to lead to the Grizzlies’ third touchdown.
“He’s just gotten better every game,” Dennison said. “He is making a lot of big plays for us. He’s been doing it all year and now he is doing it in critical situations.”
The Wadsworth defense allowed the Indians just 164 yards and forced three turnovers.
“Everybody stepped it up,” White said. “We all knew our assignments and knew what we had to do. Tonight we shut them down.”
Contact Chad Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wadsworth 28, Copley 0
COPLEY 0 0 0 0 — 0
WADSWORTH 7 7 0 14 — 28
W — Martice Jackson 20 run (Luis Escudero kick), 10:31.
W — Jackson 1 run (Escudero kick), 0:51.
W — Scott Campbell 6 run (Escudero kick), 4:29.
W — Gunnar Graham 42 run (Escudero kick), 1:23.