August 21, 2014

Medina
Fog
67°F

Minutemen dash Cloverleaf’s playoff hopes

Cloverleaf senior Austin Smith reverses his field as he runs behind teammate Devin Cunningham during the Colts game against Revere. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk

Richard Doyle

The Gazette

WESTFIELD TWP. — The game pitted two football teams at the bottom of the Suburban League, but there were playoff ramifications on the line.

In the end, Revere dashed the hopes of a postseason berth for Cloverleaf with a hard-fought 21-14 victory.

With only two wins on the season, the Colts (2-7, 0-6) were surprisingly still in the playoff picture and ranked 10th in Division III, Region 8. They needed a win against the Minutemen and against undefeated Highland next week.

Revere (2-7, 1-5) let it be known early it was not going to roll over and play dead. Nick Zimmerman went around the right side on a reverse and scampered 39 yards to the Colts’ 25-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Chase Costanzo found Zimmerman on a 21-yard seam pass with less than 2 minutes elapsed.

“Our kids have worked hard all week, and that was important for us to strike early,” Revere coach Mike Murphy said.

Cloverleaf put together a methodical drive. The Colts used some grind-it-out running from Devin Cunningham (85 rushing yards, 23 receiving, TD) and a mix of deceptive pass plays to Austin Smith to keep the Minutemen off-balance.

The 10-play, 60-yard march was highlighted by a Smith 28-yard pass from Garrison Flora on third down. That was followed by a 14-yard pass to Smith (39 rushing yards, 90 receiving, TD) on fourth down, giving the Colts first-and-goal at the 1. Cunningham took the Wildcat snap and leaped over the pile to knot the game.

With 3:04 remaining in the half, Revere took over on its own 27. After gains of 20, 10 and 13 yards, the Minutemen found themselves within striking distance of the end zone. With 1:28 left, Nick Zimmerman (10 carries, 130 yards, 3 TDs) took a jet sweep around the left side for a 20-yard scamper to pay dirt.

“Our challenge was stopping that jet play. I have to give their line credit for blocking well on that play,” Smith said. “We made adjustments at halftime that really helped us stop that play for the rest of the game.”

Revere came out in the second half and struggled to get going until late in the third quarter, when Zimmerman struck again on a 3-yard touchdown run that was set up by a 34-yard pass from Chase Costanzo (10-for-20 passing, 126 yards) to Zach Lalkowski.

Down two touchdowns, the Colts never gave up. On the second play from scrimmage, Flora hit Smith on a crossing pattern that took him 58 yards to pay dirt.

Flora had all day to pass, as the Colts offensive linemen held strong.

“I have to give so much credit to my offensive line,” Smith said. “They created opportunities for me all night. We really played like a family tonight.”

The Colts had two shots at tying the game.

A 7-minute, 57-yard drive ended on Revere’s 7 with 2:18 left.

The Colts defense held tight on the next series and, following a Revere punt, the offense had 57 yards to score in 1:15. Unfortunately for Cloverleaf, four Flora passes fell to the ground.

“I’m so proud of how hard our kids worked tonight, especially the seniors,” Colts coach Bob Lake said. “They’ve really grown up as men on this field over the years, and this community will never forget them.”

Contact Richard Doyle at sports@medina-gazette.com.

Revere 21, Cloverleaf 14

CLOVERLEAF                               7  0  7  0  —  14

REVERE                                          7  7  7  0  —  21

First

R — Nick Zimmerman 21 pass from Chase Costanzo (Christian Burlotos kick), 10:16.

C — Devin Cunningham 1 run (Kyle Sasinka kick), 6:28.

Second

R — Zimmerman 20 run (Burlotos kick), 1:28.

Third

R — Zimmerman 3 run (Burlotos kick), 3:52.

C — Austin Smith 58 pass from Garrison Flora (Sasinka kick), 3:28.