By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
Edgewood coach Josh Franke saw a trend develop in the Warriors’ last three games, all victories. He knew if his team was to win a fourth straight, it was going to have to stick with the trend Friday night.
Brookfield kept Edgewood from it’s goal and downed the Warriors, 20-6, at Corlew Stadium.
“We couldn’t establish the running game tonight,” Franke said. “I told the team coming in, every time we’ve rushed for 200 yards, we’ve won. The plan, the goal, was that we had to rush for 200 yards. I haven’t added up the numbers, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t do it.
“(Brookfield) didn’t let us establish the run game and we had to throw. It’s never a good equation when they know you’re throwing.”
Edgewood (3-4) netted just 90 yards on 29 attempts on the ground.
“We knew their prime guys were (Riis Smith) and (Anthonie Magda),” Brookfield coach Randy Clark, who won his 50th game as coach and also turned 50 on Monday, said. “In the first half, we missed some tackles. In the second half, we told (the defense) to pin its ears back and go. We knew they’d come out run some trick plays and they caught us with one.
“With the coverages we play, what they do dictates how many we have in the box. If they make a certain movement or motion, we end up with eight or nine on the box. It’s complicated — hard — for the offense to read.”
On the other side of things, Brookfield (5-2) was able to move the ball effectively. It tallied 303 yards on 41 attempts.
“We actually came out in two tights,” Clark said. “We thought we could manhandle them. We didn’t block too well in the first half. We spread things out and I called the same plays. (Edgewood) likes to blitz and they gave us some things we needed to take advantage of.”
Joe Clark picked his way through the Edgewood defense for 191 yards and all three Brookfield touchdowns on 25 carries.
“We stress (reading the blocks),” Randy Clark said. “We run a lot of zone. It’s not always the same hole. We tell them to make the linemen look good, put their feet to ground and go when they see it.”
Edgewood was able to move the ball through the air in the second half. Quarterback Alex Wisnyai netted 92 yards, all in the final 24 minutes, through the air.
“We picked up on some things and made some adjustments at the half,” Franke said. “We had to go to some playaction. We did that and it worked. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on the pass alone.”
Joe Clark rambled 23 yards for a score to put Brookfield up, 7-0, with 2:51 to play in the first half. He plowed in from four yards out to make it 14-0 with 6:59 to play in the third quarter. Two and a half minutes later, he added a 15-yard scoring run to put Brookfield up three touchdowns, 20-0.
“Clark is a good running back,” Franke said. “He knows how to get yardage. We got caught in some blitzes on the inside and they ran to the outside. That’s what good backs do.
“We had to make sure we played good, sound gap protection and we didn’t.”
Edgewood answered that final score with one of its own. Wisnyai took to the air, taking the Warriors 65 yards in just four plays. He capped the drive with a 13-yard strike to Alex Sturgill for Edgewood’s only points.
Connor McLaughlin caught three passes for 59 yards, Smith caught five for 20 yards and Sturgill had two receptions for 13 yards and the score.
Smith rushed for just 39 yards on 11 carries and Magda added 38 yards on nine attempts.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.