Fans will not see two better football games
Friday night at Cedar Point Stadium in Sandusky and at Serpentini Stadium in North Royalton were the scenes of two tremendous football games. One featured the top ranked team in Division II in Perrysburg, taking on Nordonia, a team from the Cleveland area that most people feel is state championship worthy. The other game featured Midview, the top seed in Region 4, going up against Avon, a playoff tested veteran team that reached the state final three years ago. It would be a rematch of a regular season game that Midview won 49-42 in a shootout. In the toughest region in the state, the games featured everything, and once fans of all four teams had caught their collective breaths, there were two statements that HAD to be coming out of their mouths:
“What a way to WIN a game” and “What a way to LOSE a game”
There were points galore. Big plays galore. Momentum shifts galore. Just the two endings of the games were worth the price of admission. Most importantly, the heart and effort given by all four teams surpassed anything the results on the field may have said.
Nordonia 56, Perrysburg 52…. With both offenses averaging over 40 points, one might figure that plenty of points would be scored. Forgotten in these “score a minute” offenses was the fact that both defenses were really good, with Perrysburg giving up under 10 points a game, and Nordonia just under 15 points a game. It didn’t seem to matter.
It would be the Yellow Jackets of Perrysburg that would get off to a great start. Led by quarterback Gus Dimmerling, the Jackets stormed out to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Nordonia would be playing from behind the whole night. In the second quarter, the Knights managed to pull even at 21 after a 19 yard touchdown pass from David Murray to Alex Alders. Dimmerling would direct a drive just before the half for another Perrysburg touchdown, and the Yellow Jackets would take a 28-21 lead into the break.
The teams would take turns scoring in the second half. Perrysburg touchdown, 35-21 Jackets. Murray to Dylan Mabin from 23 yards, 35-28 Jackets. Dimmerling touchdown run, 42-28 Jackets. Murray to Denzel Ward from 29 yards, 42-35 Jackets. Dimmerling’s third touchdown run of the game gave Perrysburg a 49-35 lead. Nordonia would finally catch the Jackets at 49 after a 39 yard touchdown run by Anthony Perrine.
Then, the biggest play no one will talk about
With Perrysburg facing a third down inside the Nordonia 10 yard line, Knight linebacker Noah Pennypacker stopped Dimmerling short forcing a field goal attempt. The resulting kick was good, giving the Jackets a 52-49 lead. Why was the stop so big? Because on the ensuing kickoff, Alders took the ball for the Knights at the 30, broke a few tackles, and took it 70 yards for a score, giving Nordonia its first lead of the game at 56-52 with just over two minutes remaining. The Knights held Perrysburg on downs, then after taking possession, got a first down to end the game.
I’ve never seen our fans so pumped and loud. Our fans got behind the players and I believe we helped with the outcome of the game. This is a great group of guys that played their hearts out. It was an unbelievable game and a great KNIGHT……Nordonia parent Greg Pennypacker
There were great performances, none more so than Perrysburg’s Dimmerling, who ran for 204 yards and passed for 189. He drew the highest praise from his head coach in a quote to the Toledo Blade:
If he is not the best offensive player in the state of Ohio, I don’t know who is. The kid’s unbelievable….Perrysburg Head Coach Matt Kregel
If the Nordonia/Perrysburg game was the sundae, then the game between Midview and Avon may have been the cherry on top of it.
Midview 42, Avon 36 in overtime…. A game that would figured to be a shootout sure didn’t start that way. Both defenses had obviously made adjustments from their first meeting. Midview’s sensational sophomore quarterback Dustin Crum was struggling, but the same could be said for the high flying Avon offense. Avon struck first as Isaiah Pinto ran it in from 9 yards out giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead. Midview countered with a 49 yard touchdown pass from Crum to Dimitri Redwood tying the score. Avon quarterback Jake Sopko directed a drive just before the half that culminated in a four yard touchdown run by Gerett Choate, giving the Eagles a 14-7 lead heading into the break.
The second half was a thing a beauty
After Crum tied things up with another touchdown pass, Avon would strike back quickly as Sopko connected with Zack Tolbert from 36 yards giving Avon a 21-14 lead. Avon looked like they were going in to extend their lead with the ball inside the Midview 20 yard line. Sopko’s pass was tipped and intercepted by the Middies Kyle Troutman. It would change the tenor of the game. Crum would drive the Middies down the field and hit Logan Bolin from 37 yards. The two point conversion would give Midview a 22-21 lead. The Middies would extend their lead on a 30 yard run by Crum, and the two point conversion gave Midview what looked like an insurmountable lead at 30-21 lead with just over three minutes to play.
Someone forgot to tell Avon the game was over
Sopko directed the Eagles down the field, throwing his second touchdown pass, cutting the Midview lead to 30-28. Avon would then have to onside kick to keep the game alive. They recovered in Midview territory. The eagles frantically drove down the field, and hit paydirt as Pinto ran it in from 12 yards out with just 26 seconds to play. Incredibly, Avon had scored 15 points in just over a minute to take the lead. Midview would have one last shot to win it.
It’s why coaches always say to play the full 48 minutes
After a well executed hook-and-ladder play got the ball to the Avon 40 yard line, Midview had time for one final play. Crum dropped back and heaved one down the right sideline. Redwood leaped, caught the ball, and eluded an Avon defender to take it to the endzone as time expired, tying the game at 36. All that was left was the extra point to give Midview the win.
A bad snap prevented that, and the fans at Serpentini Stadium had some extra football on their hands.
In the overtime, Midview would score on a nine yard run by Brett Zupancic. The extra point was again no good. Midview had a 42-36 lead, but had to stop Avon on their possession. After three runs, Avon faced a fourth down and two at the Midview 12 yard line. On the play of the game, Middies Linebacker Zach Nash stopped Choate in the backfield, and Midview had finally survived.
In a quote to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Zupancic described the last play:
It just all came down to heart on that play. Whoever wanted it more was going to get it. I guess we just wanted it more because we went in there and blew it up and got the tackle for a loss….Midview linebacker Brett Zupancic
It was four great teams playing two great games.
Kudos to the kids from all four teams for the effort they put forth Friday night.
Nordonia and Midview will play Friday night at a site to be determined later on today.