By STEVE GOLDMAN
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS —
A very rainy afternoon and a very muddy field can limit a team’s options. However, there was no limiting the Edgewood Warriors’ output on the field on Saturday.
The Warriors scored every time they had the ball but one, as they blew out host Lutheran East, 53-0, to end the regular season.
“It was nice for the seniors,” Edgewood coach Josh Franke said. “We had a couple seniors reach some milestones that they were hoping to get. So that’s always nice to see them achieve that, and go out with a big win. That’s always nice.”
Edgewood (4-6) fumbled the ball away on its second play from scrimmage, but was never thwarted again, as it piled up 258 rushing yards on just 23 carries. Senior Riis Smith rushed for 166 yards on 10 carries, including touchdowns of 51, 29 and 64 yards. Senior Anthonie Magda added 99 yards on nine attempts, taking the ball to the end zone from 11 and 44 yards.
Alex Wisnyai completed three of his four passes, all of which were thrown in the first half, for 95 yards, including a 60-yard scoring strike to senior Connor McLaughlin and a short flip to senior Anthony Barger, who took it in from eight yards in the final play of the first half. The Warriors averaged 13.1 yards per play.
The defense forced four turnovers and limited the Falcons (0-10) to 26 yards of offense, all via the ground. The only first down allowed came on a penalty.
Lutheran East’s deepest penetration came on a fourth-and-one situation at the Edgewood 38, before quarterback Isaiah Jackson was nailed for a two-yard loss to end the first period. Wisnyai found McLaughlin open downfield on the next play, stretching the lead to 12-0 and beginning a 27-point quarter.
“In conditions like this, you’re got to rely on a power run game,” Franke said. “I think we went to shotgun once the whole game. (We) tried to stay under center. With their style of offense, being in the shotgun the whole (game), in these conditions, it’s hard to run that style of offense. Our defense played well, but the weather conditions also helped us out defensively a little bit.”
Senior Jarrad Harrah provided the other Edgewood score by picking off a short pass and rumbling 46 yards. His blocked punt also set up Barger’s touchdown.
Lutheran East, which dressed only 13 players, has won just once in the last three seasons combined. It finishes the year with only six points scored among its final five contests.
The officials apparently shortened the second half, although no one bothered to tell Franke. It was impossible to determine from the scoreboard, which was not operative during the game.
“We were able to get some young kids in there,” Franke said. “It was nice to be able to get them some playing time as well in the last game of the year. We tried to show a little bit of respect by running the ball in the second half.”
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.