June 27, 2016

Partly sunny

Perfect storm doesn’t develop for Bees

TWINSBURG — The Medina football team had to be close to perfect to have a chance of upsetting Twinsburg, and the Bees were anything but Friday night.

Medina dodged bullet after bullet in the early going, but kept putting itself in harm’s way in all three phases of the game and ended up suffering a 27-6 Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division loss.

The Bees (2-7, 1-3), who close the season next week against Medina County rival Brunswick, finished  with 50 yards on 30 rushing attempts, while three quarterbacks — Collin Minor (2-for-13, 27 yards), Jerry Klue (1-1, 13) and Matt Whittaker (4-11, 74, INT) — combined to go 7-for-25 for 114 yards.

Seventy-eight of Medina’s 164 yards total offense came on its final drive, which Whittaker capped with a 1-yard sneak against Twinsburg’s second string. Until that possession, the Bees’ deepest penetration was the Twinsburg 43 and they had run one play in Tigers territory.

“We don’t have a 4.4 guy (in the 40-yard dash), so we have to play real solid football,” Medina coach Dan Sutherland said. “When we don’t block it right or we don’t run it right, it hurts us. I love these kids’ mindset and how hard they work, but in the end you need playmakers.”

Twinsburg (6-3, 4-0), which will play at Mentor next week for the Valley Division title and a spot in the Division I, Region 2 playoffs, has no shortage of playmakers, even with All-Ohio running back John Barton out for the season after suffering an injury in Week 1.

Quarterback Jalen Washington, who completed 14-of-26 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown, is at the top of that list. Washington would have had five more completions, at least 100 more yards and another touchdown if his receivers had caught every ball he threw right on the money in a game played in a steady rain but on a turf field.

“Barton’s a special player,” Sutherland said. “With No. 4 (Washington) and Barton, they could have been lethal.”

The Tigers were deadly enough against the Bees, even after coming up totally empty on three great opportunities at the start of the game.

The first came when Twinsburg blocked a punt by Kenny Wilder — the junior averaged 38.5 yards on seven other boots — and, after a series of bobbles and bounces, took over at the Medina 18 with 8:36 left in the opening period. On fourth-and-1 from the 9, the middle of the Medina defense stuffed tailback Tyrone McGuinea for no gain.

After the Bees went three-and-out, the Tigers took over on the Medina 48 and marched to the 13, where a wide-open Anthony Ellis dropped a perfectly lofted pass from Washington in the end zone on third-and-7. On fourth down, the snap for what would have been a 30-yard field goal attempt was high and holder Cooper Rea threw incomplete into the back of the end zone.

After another Medina three-and-out, Twinsburg took over on the Bees 41 and eventually faced fourth-and-1 from the 32, where McGuinea was tackled for a yard loss on a pitch to the right.

Medina went three-and-out yet again — the Bees lost 6 yards on this possession — and Twinsburg finally scored with 7:24 left in the second period when McGuinea (16 carries for 56 yards, 2 TDs) capped an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 4-yard run.

“Our kids competed hard throughout the game and we had them sweating for a while there,” Sutherland said. “Special teams cost us in the first half and the second half it was our inability to control their quarterback.”

The special teams play Sutherland was referring to came when Rea fielded a 40-yard punt from Wilder near the right hash, ran left, got behind a picket fence and raced 75 yards down the opposite sideline for a TD to make it 14-0 at the 3:54 mark of the second quarter.

Washington’s biggest completion of the night came on the fourth play of the second half, when he hit Tay Johnson for 35 yards down the right sideline to make it 20-0.

The Tigers made it 27-0 on McGuinea’s 2-yard run late in the quarter, then played reserves in the fourth quarter, when Medina forced its first punt since Week 7.

On the positive side, the Bees held Twinsburg to 60 yards rushing on 33 attempts and 244 yards total offense, with Emerson Buckland, Dillon Wiesler and Mitch Doraty leading the way. Other than Johnson’s TD reception and a 25-yard catch by Ellis, the Tigers’ longest pass play went for 13 yards, while they had just two runs longer than 9 yards.

Offensively, the Bees got on the board on their final possession when Whittaker hit Evan Scherer for 45 yards to the Twinsburg 1, but finishing that drive wasn’t easy.

On first down, Whittaker and Klue (14 carries, 29 yards), who was playing his primary position of running back, muffed a handoff for a yard loss. On second down, Whittaker fumbled the snap for no gain. On third down, Whittaker ran a quarterback sneak for a 1-yard gain back to the 1. On fourth down, the 6-foot-3, 187-pounder plowed into the end zone with 1:20 to go.

“They’re a fast, aggressive defense and they caused us problems,” Sutherland said. “We couldn’t get anything going.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Twinsburg 27, Medina 6

MEDINA                                          0   0  0  6    — 6

TWINSBURGH                               0 14 13 0 — 27


T — Tyrone McGuinea  4 run (Frank Candau kick), 7:24.

T — Rea Cooper 75 punt return (Candau kick), 3:54.


T — Tay Johnson 35 pass from Jalen Washington (kick blocked), 10:41.

T — McGuinea 2 run (Candau kick), 2:54.


M — Matt Whitaker 1 run (run failed), 1:20.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.