ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Brian Bisbey ran up the middle before cutting toward the right sideline and bowling over a couple Grand Valley defenders en route to his third touchdown of the first half.
He added one more in the opening half, as Edgewood (1-3) captured its first win of the season with a 47-21 decision over the Mustangs (0-3).
“Honestly, everyone did their part,” Bisbey said. “The line, they did their thing, they made holes for me I just made the cuts. Shout out to the quarterback [Zach Winchell]. He threw the ball, made me open on the runs, and then our defense just did our thing.
“Last year, I only had to two touchdowns. Now I have five so that explains something.”
The Warriors scored 40 points in the first half. Bisbey had 123 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries yards, leading a hobbled Edgewood offense. He ended up with 166 yards rushing on 23 carries and five TDs.
Junior quarterback Zach Winchell played despite a knee injury he suffered last Saturday in a 56-25 loss to Geneva. The Warriors also added junior receiver Izaiah Harris back into their lineup. He suffered a shoulder injury in a Week 1 loss to Perry.
“They both didn’t get cleared until at least the middle of the week,” Edgewood coach Jon Butchko said. “Izaiah’s still not at 100 percent. I don’t think Zach is either.”
Despite Edgewood’s early success allowing it to jump out to an early 27-0 lead, GV slowed down Winchell midway through the second quarter. The Mustangs cut it to 34-13 with 2:53 left in the first half.
“Zach had a big night statistically last week,” Butchko said. “I think he was trying to duplicate that on every throw when he had the night he had last week.”
GV was hoping to keep Edgewood out of the end zone in the final minutes of the first half. Instead, Winchell completed three of his five passes for 29 yards and Bisbey added 33 yards on the ground. He recorded his fourth rushing touchdown of the half with 33 seconds left.
“He’s the toughest guy we have,” Butchko said. “He’s the absolute toughest guy walking around in Ashtabula County probably. He runs the ball so hard. He’s just our unquestioned leader, along with Jake Bell.”
Although the game appeared out of reach, the Mustangs kept battling. With less than seven minutes left in the third quarter, GV looked determined to cut the Edgewood 27-point lead. The GV backfield of sophomore Nathan Boiarski and seniors Trevor Meeker and Joe Sieracki strung together a deep drive into Edgewood territory. The possession ended in a rugby-style scrum with Edgewood sophomore defensive back Donovan Ciesicki emerging from the pile with the ball.
GV’s defense locked in, forcing Butchko to call an unconventional play. On 4th and 15 from the Edgewood 1-yard line, Butchko told Winchell to purposely run out of the back of the end zone.
Edgewood’s dynamic offense has been on display the past two weeks, but Friday marked an important milestone for the Warriors— it was the Warriors first win of an unconventional season.
“You worry I think as a coach you’re gonna go 0-for-the season until you get that first one across,” Butchko said. “I don’t know if we could’ve played three tougher teams [at the beginning of the season] Wickliffe’s very good in the scrimmage, Perry’s Perry and Geneva’s much better than anyone wants to believe they are. I think we’re pretty battle-tested for as much as you can be after three games.”
The Warriors are scheduled to host Conneaut next Friday, while the Mustangs host Kirtland.