ALDEN — For coach Eric Valley and the Medina football team, making it to sectional playoff competition this season was a step in the right direction. After failing to qualify for two consecutive years, quarterback Jason Hellwig and the offense put up enough points in the regular season to lead the Mustangs to a 3-3 record in Class B North, effectively complementing the defense's improvement from a rocky performance in 2012.
It was the much-improved defense that helped Medina hang tough in the first half against Alden on Friday, as the Bulldogs went three-and-out on several possessions in the game's opening 24 minutes, only managing a single touchdown before the break.
But the Bulldog defense was plenty adequate itself, holding Medina to a single first down in the opening half. The Medina offense couldn't get anything going throughout the game, and Alden rolled to a 25-0 victory in a Class B football quarterfinal game at Alden High School on Friday evening.
Medina is now 4-4 on the season, and will conclude with a game against Wilson on Wednesday at Veterans Park (6 p.m.)
"Alden knows how to win," Valley said. "They've been doing it for a long time, and they're good at it. Our kids just aren't quite there yet."
The game started off in promising fashion for the Mustangs, as quarterback Brian Stoldt and the Alden offense went three-and-out on its opening two possessions, netting only a combined 10 yards over the two drives.
But the Mustangs came up empty as well on their opening two drives, despite a 23-yard reception by Kyle Barna on Medina's first offensive play, and Alden took over on its own 30 with 3:20 remaining in the first quarter. The Bulldogs quickly embarked on a seven-play, 70 yard drive in just over three minutes that culminated in a six-yard touchdown run by Lyle Grant with 18 seconds remaining in the quarter.