The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

October 11, 2013

Edgewood has Brookfield... again

Trumbull County Warriors took down Ashtabula County Warriors twice last fall

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Josh Franke, while new to the area in his first season at the helm of the Edgewood Warriors, has obviously spent a good deal of time catching up on what went down between Edgewood and Brookfield in 2012.

And as the two teams tangle tonight at Corlew Stadium, “what went down” last fall — Brookfield defeating visiting Edgewood in Week 7 of the regular season, 49-13, then again in Week 11 in Edgewood’s first trip to the playoffs, 38-14 — is fresh on the mind of everyone who bleeds scarlet and gray.

“I don’t think there is a person in this county who’s not aware of what Brookfield did to us last year,” Franke, whose Warriors (Brookfield’s nickname is also Warriors, by the way) come in a 3-3, having dug themselves out of an 0-3 start with three straight wins, the most recent being a 31-10 triumph at Beaver Local last week, said.

“Our seniors have had this game circled on the schedule since December of last year. I won’t have to do much to make sure this is an intense week of practice, emotions will be high the entire week, our guys want this one bad.

“Not only do they want revenge, they want a winning record, and they know what this means as far as postseason play is concerned as well.

“To this point, this is the biggest game of the year for us.”

Coach Randy Clark’s Warriors — the Brookfield version — were hammered by graduation last spring. Still, the ninth-year head coach has his squad at 4-2 on the season, having defeated Springfield (30-27), Newton Falls (46-6), Campbell Memorial (10-6) and Warren JFK (28-14) and fallen to Struthers (26-7) and last week at a very strong Hubbard squad (54-9).

“They are a little different this year, they run primarily out of a pistol set and throw the ball more than they have in previous years, about 41 percent of the time,” Franke said. “However, we struggled against the Maryland I last year against Brookfield, so we will be preparing to see that as well.

“Defensively, we expect them to be in 4-3 and when both Riis (Smith) and Anthonie (Magda) are in the backfield we expect to see them in a 5-3 to try and slow those two down.”

Franke is aware of the weapons Brookfield will use against them tonight.

“They have a great wide receiver in Kasey Tingler (5-foot-10, 165-pound sophomore), we really have to keep an eye on him and they have a good running back in Joey Clark (5-9, 185, senior),” he said. “Their quarterback, Augustus Necastro (6-1, 180) has a good arm, but is a sophomore. We want to put a lot of pressure on him to see if we can force some mistakes.

“If we can contain those guys we have a good shot at coming out on top.”

Edgewood did just that in invading Lisbon and conquering Beaver last week. In that game, the Warriors rolled to 507 yards of total offense, Smith (200 yards on 12 carries, 2 TD) and Magda (191 yards on 7 carries, 2 TD, including one from 98 yards) leading the way.

“The offense was operating at full steam,” he said. “We had success in the air against Ledgemont (the week before) and last week, I think Beaver played pretty well against our pass and that allowed our run game to open up. I think up front, Beaver had a lot of size, but our offensive line was up to the challenge and really did a great job opening up a lot of holes.

“They whole line did an excellent job and once again, I’m out five pizzas. I’m starting to think they enjoy getting that pizza on Mondays.”

Franke admits it was important for his guys to get back to the break-even mark after starting the season with a surprising 0-3 mark.

“It was a big win for us to be able to get back to .500,” he said. “We kind of had a lull in the first quarter, but I blame our two-hour bus ride on that. Once we woke up and got back in the grove of things, I feel we picked up right where we left off the previous Friday.

“Our boys are playing with a lot of confidence right now and it’s making us a very effective football team. Our defense played a great game and being on the field for over 60 snaps, they really played well.”

The win at Beaver was even more special for Franke, a Toronto native. Lisbon and Toronto are about a 20-minute drive apart.

“I had a lot of family members and friends at the game last Friday,” he said. “It was an awesome experience to be able to go back home and get a big win like that in front of all of them.

“Our players knew how important that game was for me and they really came out and put on a show. I’m really appreciative to all of them and I was sure to thank them after that game for giving me that gift.”

On top of everything else, Edgewood, the most-penalized team in the area, had its best performance of the season in the aspect last week, being flagged only five times for 53 yards.

“It was a big relief to see we only had five penalties and, hopefully, that continues to go down,” Franke said. “It’s very hard because, as coaches, you don’t want to discipline the players for penalties because you don’t want them to play timid, but you also don’t want to be giving a way yards to the other team.

“We stress getting the penalties down, but we don’t punish them for penalties.”

Edgewood’s “Thunder and Lightning” combination of Magda and Smith can be devastating to the opposition.

“Watching those two run the football is defiantly worth the price of admission and it’s a pleasure to sit back and watch them,” Franke said. “One (Smith) jukes a couple guys out and out runs everyone else for 88 yards and the other (Magda) runs a man over, breaks three more tackles and takes off for 98 yards.

“Two completely different runners and that’s why it’s so difficult for defenses to prepare... it’s a great combination of speed and power.

“They both make my job a whole lot easier on Fridays.”

But nothing is expected to come easy — for either side — tonight.

“We need to play a mistake-free game... every possession is important,” Franke said. “We can’t turn the ball over and we can’t give away free yards with stupid penalties.

“We need to get our offense rolling early. We can’t be playing from behind this game. Usually, when we get the lead, we keep it.

“And we need to play excellent pass coverage and eliminate the big plays. Their QB airs it out a lot. It would be nice to get a couple takeaways.”

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