SHEFFIELD LAKE — In a season where Black River’s football team has shuffled player after player into starting spots on the offensive line, coach Al Young seems to have found the right mix.
The front line created holes a truck could have driven through Friday as the Pirates cruised to a 63-14 victory over winless Brookside in Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division play.
Combined with Firelands loss to Buckeye, the Pirates (4-6, 4-1) took over sole possession of first place in the big-school division with two games remaining.
“We’re real young up front and I know, here we are Week 8, but they’re still finding themselves,” Young said. “I feel like we’re making steps each week with them and I’m hoping that tonight was a good springboard for them to finish the season.”
Since a Week 6 win over rival Buckeye, Black River has gone with younger linemen, which has made the team deeper and stronger up front.
It was something the Cardinals (0-8, 0-5) found out first-hand.
The Pirates had 435 yards total offense in the first half, with 201 belonging to junior running back Andrew Vaughn, who broke Charlie Moskal’s school career rushing record, as the visitors built a 34-6 lead at the break. Brookside had just 69 yards and turned the ball over twice.
Behind the blocking of Jeremy Wiggins, Jacob Crouser, Brett Nagy, Gabe Eaton, Dylan Osborne, Ryan Slone, Dylan Stacey, Nick Sas and Sean Holly, who was making his first start at center, Black River made it look easy.
“It was easy with the line we’ve got,” said Vaughn, who finished with 267 yards and four touchdowns and now stands seventh in Medina County history with 3,438 career yards. “All you have to do is run. All you have to do is look and see nobody because everybody is taken care of. We just took advantage of it.”
Vaughn had touchdown runs of 66, 39 and 55 yards before halftime. He had a 52-yarder negated by a block in the back on the Pirates’ second drive. Vaughn had just one carry in the second half — a 66-yard scamper for his final score.
Austin Phillips (11 carries, 99 yards, TD) and David Bell (10 carries, 95 yards, TD) also took advantage of the openings as Black River evenly distributed the ball in its wing-T offense.
“Our line worked hard all week (in practice) and never let up,” Vaughn said. “Tonight, the line just did what they needed to do and just blew open holes for our backs to take advantage.”
Quarterback Cody Elsten was sharp, as his first attempt was a 62-yard bomb to Dakota Kuntz (3 catches, 120 yards) en route to 126 yards on 4-for-7 passing.
“It all starts up front,” Young said. “I was happy with them. Real happy.”
Brookside got rushing touchdowns from Jake Morgan and Ian Standen from 41 and 10 yards out, respectively, but was plagued by two interceptions and lost three fumbles.
A scary moment for the Cardinals came with 10:07 left in the third, when junior Aidan Wonder went down with an apparent neck injury. The defensive back laid motionless for 15 minutes before a medical squad took him away.
|The Pirates fumbled seven times, losing three. On one second-half drive, Black River coughed up the pigskin on all three plays before turning it over.
l In a nice gesture, the family of tackle Ken Meier won the 50-50 raffle and immediately gave the $125 prize to the Wonder family.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black River 63, Brookside 14
BLACK RIVER 14 20 9 20 — 63
BROOKSIDE 0 6 8 0 — 14
BR — Dakota Kuntz 62 pass from Cody Elsten (kick failed), 10:34.
BR — Andrew Vaughn 66 run (Vaughn run), 3:36.
BR — Austin Phillips 1 run (Alex Bacisin kick), 11:10.
BR — Vaughn 39 run (kick failed), 8:10.
Bro — Jake Morgan 41 run (conversion failed), 5:27.
BR — Vaughn 55 run (Bacisin kick), 4:18.
BR — Safety (running back tackled in end zone), 9:53
Bro — Ian Standen 10 run (Steven Horvath run), 8:23.
BR — Vaughn 66 run (Bacisin kick), 7:57.
BR — David Bell 38 run (Bacisin kick), 11:49.
BR — Nick Filak 10 run (kick failed), 9:27.
BR — Filak 6 run (Bacisin kick), 4:46.