By MIKE SHAFFER
For the Star Beacon
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
Edgewood took an 0-3 start out last week on Pymatuning Valley by scoring 55 points. On Friday night against Ledgemont, the Warriors’ offense kept the scoreboard operators busy yet again defeating the Redskins, 63-20, for their second-straight victory.
“When it works effectively, that’s what happens,” Edgewood coach Josh Franke said. “The offense is finally starting to get it. We had a transition period early where they weren’t sure what their responsibilities are and we had people going here and there.
“Now that they are more comfortable in the system, things are starting to click a little bit.”
Things were definitely clicking for quarterback Alex Wisnyai. The sophomore completed nine of 15 passes for 182 yards and four touchdowns.
“He had an exceptionally good game,” Franke said. “The beauty of this offense is last week we ran the ball all over the place and he was kind of limited, tonight he comes out and throws four touchdown passes in the first half. That’s the nice thing about this offense. When one thing is not working quite well, we can go to the other side of it. He made excellent reads. We worked with his fundamentals and it all showed up tonight.”
Wisnyai spread his passes to four different receivers, his favorite being Connor McLaughlin. The senior had three receptions for 85 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to open the scoring.
“Connor is a big-time threat,” Franke said. “I’ve said before that I think he is one of the better receivers in the county and we were able to get some one-on-one matchups with him and anytime we get one-on-one matchups, we’re looking to him.”
Wisnyai later connected with Anthony Barger on a 12-yard pass play, then early in the second quarter found Riis Smith on a 66 yarder to blow the game open.
Not to be overlooked was the Edgewood defense, which dominated the line of scrimmage by sacking Redskins quarterback Joe Hauser six times and pitching a shutout through the first half.
“I was kind of hard on our defense today,” Franke said. “We looked at the total yards given up in the county and we were kind of in the middle of the pack. I told them they were better than that and they needed to step up and play like it. They felt like they needed to prove something tonight and they definitely did.”
With a minute to go in the first half, McLaughlin hauled in his second touchdown pass of the game — a 40 yarder — to make the score 29-0 at intermission.
In the third quarter, Anthonie Magda scored on a 22-yard carry on the Warriors’ first possession of the second half. Magda led the Edgewood ground attack in carrying the ball twelve times for 96 yards and a pair of scores.
Ledgemont (1-4) did get on the board in the third quarter when Hauser hooked up with Mike McKeon for a 32-yard touchdown pass. Hauser, a freshman, is a sure source of optimism for the Ledgemont program. Against the Warriors, under constant pressure, he completed 14 of 20 passes for 145 yards.
The Redskins also got touchdown runs from explosive tailback Jarrett Young. Young, who had a touchdown and more than 100 yards rushing against Conneaut last week, scored on runs of 50 and 77 yards in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 156 yards on 20 carries.
“I thought Joey’s composure was tremendous,” Ledgemont coach Joe Larosa said. “For a freshman to play like that was really good for us and Jarrett ran the ball like he runs it. I’m very proud of the way we played tonight. But give that Edgewood team credit. These schools here in Ashtabula County, they’re really coming together.”
In what was a bit of a wild fourth quarter, Edgewood got another touchdown run from Magda. Jayson Greenwood blocked a punt, resulting in a touchdown by Barger. Marcus Ernst relieved Wisnyai at quarterback to throw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Peyton Knox.
Later, Alex Sturgill ran in the game’s final score on an 11-yard run.
Shaffer is a frelance writer from Ashtabula.