Solon at Medina
The Solon gridders (0-2) will face a more familiar opponent when they hit the road to take on Greater Cleveland Conference foe Medina (2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday at Ken Dukes Stadium.
The Comets are coming off a 27-7 loss against Division V AP No. 1-ranked Kirtland (5-0) in a game they showed flashes of good football but not nearly enough to win at an elite level.
Senior quarterback Pat McQuaide finished 11-of-21 passing for 112 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, one coming on a tipped ball at the line and another coming on a prayer into the end zone late in the game. The signal-caller had little to no protection in the pocket all night.
Senior running back Khalil Eichelberg helped move the chains with 85 yards rushing and 47 yards receiving, but only seven possessions for the game didn’t provide the Comets a lot of room for unfinished drives.
Defensively, sophomore defensive back Joel Kpassou led the way with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Also, he had a touchdown catch for the second straight week.
While the Comets gave up three touchdowns on three drives in the first half, they did hold Kirtland to two field goals and a turnover in the latter half.
Medina, under fourth-year head coach Larry Laird, who owns a 27-21 record at the helm, is coming off a 31-28 loss against Euclid (3-2) in a game that came down to the wire. A 44-yard field-goal attempt with two seconds remaining went wide left for the Battling Bees in defeat.
The game also featured Medina’s Jajuan Jackson returning the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, while Luke Hensley had a pair of touchdown catches, one for 48 yards, and junior quarterback Drew Allar was 12-of-29 passing for 134 yards.
In 15 previous meetings, Solon owns a 12-3 series advantage on Medina, including a 31-14 triumph last year.
TONY’S TAKE: Medina wins, 27-21.
Kenston at Willoughby South
After yet another canceled game by an opponent, the Kenston gridders (1-2) hope to get back to action for a road test against Western Reserve Conference foe Willoughby South (2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday at Harry E. Winters Stadium.
The Bombers had their week-one matchup against Mayfield canceled on them because a pair of Wildcat gridders tested positive for COVID-19, and then Division V Orrville refused to travel to Bomber territory last week because Kenston had three active cases at its high school.
With playoff brackets coming out Thursday, the Kenston boys were robbed of making one final impression before coaches vote on seeds in their region.
Willoughby South, under 17th-year head coach Matt Duffy, who owns 113-72 record at the helm, is coming off a 28-22 overtime victory against rival Eastlake North (3-2) in a game that the Rebels were gifted an overtime.
North faced a fourth down from deep in its own territory but owned a 22-15 lead with less than three minutes to play. Instead of kicking it away, the Rangers went for a fake punt that went nowhere. South was gifted a 16-yard field, and the Rebels capitalized to send it into overtime.
The Rebels’ offense was led by 160-pound sophomore Tyrone Singleton, who had 14 carries for 111 yards with three touchdowns, while 6-foot sophomore quarterback Colin Quinlan was six-of-17 passing for 64 yards.
Defensively, South surrendered 327 yards rushing.
In seven previous meetings, South owns a 4-3 series advantage against Kenston, but the Bombers’ won last year’s battle, 37-21.
TONY’S TAKE: South wins, 28-20.
Chardon at Brush
The Division III AP No. 1-ranked Chardon gridders (5-0) will conclude their regular season on the road against Western Reserve Conference foe Brush (2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday at Korb Field.
The Hilltoppers are coming off a 35-14 victory against Mayfield (2-1) in the first game of the season they weren’t able to enact a running clock. But what the Hilltoppers did do is score early, taking a 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter – something they hadn’t been able to do in their past three games.
Offensively, senior quarterback Drew Fetchik made Mayfield’s defense pay for packing the box, as he finished nine-of-14 passing for 165 yards, while senior back James Pettyjohn finished with 190 yards rushing, including 66-, 72- and 4-yard scores.
Defensively, Chardon gave up more yards than it had all season, with the Wildcats throwing for 147 yards and rushing for 117 yards for 19 first downs. But the Hilltoppers stopped a pair of Mayfield fourth downs and forced a turnover on their goal line.
Brush, under third-year head coach Eddie Hall, who owns a 6-19 record at the helm, is on a three-game losing streak against Warrensville Heights, 24-15, Mayfield, 44-7, and, last Friday, a 40-7 home affair against Uniontown Green (4-0).
Against Green, Brush’s lone touchdown came from 200-pound senior fullback Ke’antae Collier, who finished the game with 11 carries for 54 yards. Brush had just 109 yards of offense, all coming on the ground, but the Arcs also lost three fumbles.
Defensively, Brush surrendered 128 yards passing and 130 yards rushing.
In 2019, Chardon beat Brush, 52-21.
TONY’S TAKE: Chardon wins, 42-7.
Lakeside at Orange
Both teams will have large appetites when the Division IV Orange gridders (0-3) host the Division II Lakeside Dragons (0-5) in Chagrin Valley Conference play at 7 p.m. Friday in Pepper Pike.
The host Lions are coming off a 21-14 overtime loss against rival Chagrin Falls (4-1) in a game they attacked from the get-go, with an onside kick recovered by senior Steven Fellinger leading to a 7-0 lead, and then a 19-yard toss from quarterback Zak Basharat to fellow senior Devin Culliver providing a 14-0 lead at the quarter mark.
Basharat was 16-of-31 passing for 263 yards to help move the chains 19 times, despite taking six sacks in the game.
Defensively, Orange held the Tigers to 190 yards of offense, but a fumbled punt return by the Lions provided Chagrin a 19-yard field and an opportunity to tie the game with 3:51 remaining in regulation.
Lakeside, under third-year head coach Buzz Edwards, who owns a 3-21 record at the helm, is coming off an impressive loss – if there is such a thing – by way of a 40-34 home battle against Perry (4-1). That battle was tied, 26-26, entering the fourth quarter.
Lakeside had 389 yards of offense, with 5-foot-10 junior quarterback Sean Allgood finishing 21-of-36 passing for 335 yards with three touchdowns. His favorite target was 6-foot-1 senior Brandon Ford, who had eight receptions for 153 yards.
Defensively, Lakeside let up 325 yards rushing and 124 yards passing.
In 2019, Orange beat Lakeside, 36-6.
TONY’S TAKE: Orange wins, 35-33.
Gilmour Academy at University School
Pride and tradition will be on the gridiron when the Division II University School Preppers (1-4) hosts the Division IV Gilmour Academy Lancers (2-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Scovil Field in Hunting Valley.
The visiting Gilmour gridders, under sixth-year head coach Chris Kosiorek, who owns a 31-27 record at the helm, are coming off 40-19 loss against Division VII AP No. 5-ranked Warren John F. Kennedy (4-1) in a game that was tied, 13-13, midway through the third quarter.
But Kennedy 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior back was too much for Gilmour’s defense, as he scored the next three touchdowns and finished with five for the game, including a 74-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter.
Gilmour’s offense was motored by an aerial attack of 220 yards passing. Lancer 6-foot-2 junior quarterback Thomas Richardson was 13-of-24 for 159 yards with two touchdowns, while 180-pound sophomore running back Santino Harper also tested his arm for a 61-yard touchdown toss to sophomore receiver Tommy McCrone.
But make no mistake, Richardson and Harper are more dangerous on their feet most games.
The University gridders, under sixth-year head coach Ben Malbasa, who owns a 33-25 record at the helm, are coming off a 37-0 loss against Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (1-3) in a game that the Preppers’ offense was grounded with 78 yards rushing and zero yards passing.
Preppers 175-pound senior back Nick Flowers had 10 carries for 81 yards to help his team pick up three first downs.
Defensively, University surrendered 170 yards passing and 218 yards rushing against the Lions and their talented dual-threat quarterback, junior Jacob Koenig.
In the past four meetings with Malbasa had the helm of the Preppers and Kosiorek at the helm of the Lancers, University holds a 3-1 advantage, including a 49-7 victory last year.
TONY’S TAKE: Gilmour wins, 26-21.
West Geauga at Chagrin Falls
In a Chagrin Valley Conference headliner, the Division IV Chagrin Falls Tigers (4-1) will host the Division III West Geauga Wolverines (4-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at C.S. Harris Stadium.
The visiting Wolverines, under third-year head coach Adam Sopkovich, who owns a 13-12 record at the helm, are out to their best start since a 10-2 playoff campaign in 2015.
Last week, the West G gridders put a 58-14 hurting on Ashtabula Edgewood (1-4) in a game that was tied 14-14 early in the second quarter.
But Wolverine 5-foot-9 junior quarterback Danny Stewart brought too much to the gridiron, finishing eight-of-11 passing for 185 yards with three touchdowns and adding another score on one of his six carries for 114 yards.
West G’s offense racked up 459 yards when it was all said and done, with playmakers like senior running back Trae Zimmerman, senior receiver Luke Musser and junior receiver Torry Stazzone all finding the end zone.
Defensively, the Wolverines have two of the biggest, meanest linebackers around in 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior Luke Sadler and 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior Julian Cicchella, both of whom can fly to the pigskin.
Chagrin Falls, under 26th-year head coach Mark Iammarino, who owns a 184-98 record at the helm, is coming off a 21-14 overtime victory against Orange (0-3) in a game the Tigers persevered through the adversity of a 14-0 deficit at the quarter mark.
Chagrin’s offense struggled at times, but 146 yards rushing by a trio of ball-carriers – 140-pound senior Cam O’Connor, 180-pound sophomore Donny Hardy and 205-pound senior Owen McClintock – along with the punting of 6-foot-4 junior Andrew Kirkpatrick, helped the Tigers win the field position battle for the majority of the night.
Defensively, Chagrin surrendered 263 yards passing and 19 first downs, but the Tigers stepped up with sacks and pass break-ups during key situations in the game. And senior Miguel Demastus intercepted a Lion pass to seal the game in overtime.
In 2019, West Geauga defeated Chagrin, 27-16.
TONY’S TAKE: West Geauga wins, 23-21.