WADSWORTH — The Wadsworth football team won’t be participating in the playoffs, but it ended the season by routing a team that would have been a lock for the postseason with a win over the Grizzlies.
Final: Wadsworth 41, Nordonia 20.
The Knights (8-2, 5-2) entered as a heavy favorite and a win would have given them a share of the Suburban League crown with Tallmadge, which defeated Green.
The loss to Wadsworth (6-4, 4-3) not only cost the Knights an SL title, it most likely prevented them from playoff qualification as well.
“It starts with our seniors,” Wadsworth coach Greg Dennison said. “They are a great group of guys who work hard. Tonight was a great way for them to finish their careers here.”
The Grizzlies scored on their first possession on a 1-yard run by sophomore quarterback Adam Dennison (2-for-4, 81 yards, TD).
After Nordonia kicked a 21-yard field goal, fullback Greg Young (6 carries, 58 yards) broke up the middle for a 48-yard scoring run to put Wadsworth up 14-3 late in the first quarter.
Nordonia answered with 1-yard run by Brandon Hrelja (6 carries, 28 yards) and a 35-yard field goal by Ryan Bauer to close the gap to 14-13 in the second quarter.
Wadsworth took back the momentum when Adam Dennison connected with Young up the seam for an 80-yard score. The pass itself was only about 10 yards, but Young outran defenders the rest of the way.
After forcing the Knights into a punting situation with 1:34 remaining in the half, Wadsworth’s Nathan Aberle blocked the kick to give the Grizzlies possession at Nordonia’s 23-yard line. Running back Scott Campbell (12 carries, 43 yards) capitalized three plays later with an 11-yard score off tackle to make it 28-13 at halftime.
The third quarter ended with a touchdown by each team just 11 seconds apart. First, Campbell’s punt was blocked and picked up by Nordonia’s Dylan Mabin, who returned it 11 yards for the touchdown. Wadsworth’s Eric Yetzer then took the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to the house to make it 35-20 with 18 seconds left in the quarter.
As it had done all game, the Grizzlies defense stood firm to hold the Knights scoreless in the fourth quarter. Junior defensive back Ryan Looser recorded his second interception of the game with 8:03 left.
“I just dropped back into zone and jumped on the passes,” Looser said. “It feels really good to beat a good team and to prove people wrong that didn’t believe in us tonight.”
Wadsworth’s defense recorded three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and held Nordonia stud running back Jordan Nobles to 40 yards on 13 carries, with no scores.
Wadsworth’s Martice Jackson ran for 187 yards on 21 carries and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark, becoming only the ninth player in Wadsworth history to accomplish the feat.
“I’m proud of my team,” the junior said. “My line brought me to the 1,000-yard club. Tonight’s win was all about keeping the faith and working hard.”
Contact Kenneth Coleman at email@example.com.
Wadsworth 41, Nordonia 20
NORDONIA 10 3 7 0 — 20
WADSWORTH 14 14 7 6 — 41
W — Adam Dennison 1 run (Luis Escudero kick), 9:02.
N — Ryan Bauer 21 field goal, 6:43.
W — Greg Young 48 run (Escudero kick), 4:08.
N — Brandon Hrelja 1 run (Bauer kick), 1:54.
N — Bauer 35 field goal, 10:19.
W — Young 80 pass from Dennison (Escudero kick), 9:25.
W — Scott Campbell 11 run (Escudero kick), 1:12.
N — Dylan Mabin 11 blocked punt return (Bauer kick), 0:29.
W — Eric Yetzer 74 kickoff return (Escudero kick), 0:18.
W — Martice Jackson 25 run (kick failed), 2:57.