MEDINA — Using a balanced and unpredictable offense, the Medina football team routed North Royalton 41-21 in the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division opener.
The Bees (3-2, 1-0) used the pass and run effectively to knock the Bears (2-3, 0-1) on their heels.
Things really started clicking for Medina after it was flagged for a holding penalty on its second drive of the game.
Facing second-and-19 from the North Royalton 34, Bees quarterback Collin Minor found Troy Grabowski for a 26-yard completion and a big first down.
“I think passing the ball opened up the middle, which opened up more running lanes,” Minor said. “We were able to throw all over them.”
Jerry Klue (23 carries, 117 yards, 2 TDs; 5 receptions, 68 yards) took it to the end zone on the next play and the Bees were off and rolling.
“Coming into this week, we had a lot on our minds,” Klue said. “With how the season is going, this is our moment to make a playoff run and our conference starting. We had a lot to deal with this week, but we came through.”
North Royalton went three-and-out on its next possession. It took just one play from Medina to click another touchdown up on the board.
Kyle Scherer (11 carries, career-high 104 yards) sprinted for a 52-yard TD to give the Bees a 14-0 with 1:05 left in the first quarter.
“We really knew we could do whatever we wanted on offense,” Scherer said. “We got really confident in ourselves and just kept it going.”
North Royalton temporarily closed the gap on a 43-yard scoring strike from Jack Marousek to Henry Meinberg on the next possession, but the Bees, as they did all night, had an answer.
“I think our kids came in really inspired tonight,” Medina coach Dan Sutherland said. “We had a lot of injuries in practice and things like that. We talked about playing for each other and being a brotherhood and a family. I felt the kids came out and played for each other and played hard all night long. It was nice to see.”
Medina went 72 yards on six plays. Minor capped the drive with an 8-yard TD pass to Jacob Vanadia. A bobbled snap led to a two-point conversion failure when A.J. Kriner hauled in Matt Whittaker’s pass, but it was waived off because Kriner was ineligible.
The Medina defense stood tall yet again on the Bears’ next possession and forced a turnover after a pass by Marousek (18-of-32 passing, 184 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) fell incomplete.
Minor finished the Bees’ next drive by bulling in from 3 yards. The drive was aided by a big third-and-13 pass interference call.
“We had some key penalties,” North Royalton coach Nick Ciulli said. “We gave them some big first downs when we could have had some stops. That’s our fault. They just kept plugging away. They stuck by their plan and they beat us up a little bit.”
Minor (11-for-15 passing, 159 yards, 2 TDs) also had another big conversion after a Medina holding penalty pushed the Bees behind the sticks for second-and-18. The junior calmly found Klue for a 34-yard completion to set up his scoring run.
“Collin Minor is really starting to step up and take ownership of this offense,” Sutherland said. “The more comfortable we are with him, the more comfortable he is in this offense. The more chances he’s getting, he’s taking advantage of them.”
Marousek led the Bears on a long scoring drive that culminated with a 5-yard touchdown to Mario Guinn (9 catches, 76 yards, 2 TDs) to cut the margin to 27-14 with 5:31 to play in the half.
The only thing stopping the Medina offense was the holding penalty, and none was tougher to swallow the one that wiped out a 72-yard touchdown run from Klue on the Bees’ first play of the next possession.
All told, Medina was whistled for 10 penalties for 90 yards, including eight for holding.
When the two squads hit the locker room, Medina held a 325-140 advantage on offense but led by just 13 points.
Medina finally delivered the knockout blow when Minor connected with Ryan Wehrmeyer on an 8-yard touchdown with 10:49 left. Klue finished the scoring with a 27-yard jaunt.
Contact Chad Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 41, North Royalton 21
NORTH ROYALTON 0 14 0 7 — 21
MEDINA 14 13 0 14 — 41
M — Jerry Klue 8 run (Dean McNeil kick), 7:37.
M — Kyle Scherer 52 run (McNeil kick), 1:50.
N — Henry Meinberg 43 pass from Jack Marousek (Leo Nemetz kick), 10:51.
M — Jacob Vanadia 8 pass from Collin Minor (pass failed), 8:33.
M — Minor 3 run (McNeil kick), 5:31.
N — Mario Guinn 5 pass from Marousek (Nemetz kick), 1:03.
M — Ryan Wehrmeyer 8 pass from Minor (McNeil kick), 10:49.
N — Guinn 10 pass from Marousek (Nemetz kick), 7:41.
M — Klue 27 run (McNeil kick), 5:30.
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