By Kevin Prise
From the opening kickoff, it was readily apparent that Medina's seniors had no intention of losing their final football game on Wednesday night.
On the opening kick, senior Kyle Barna took the ball on a hop near the 30-yard-line. Barna found a seam and raced down the right sideline, breaking a few tackles and barreling his way inside the Wilson 10-yard-line.
Two plays later, on second-and-goal from the five, senior Munjie Brown took a handoff and sprinted into the end zone for a touchdown. Less than a minute into the game, Medina already had the lead.
The Mustangs would not relinquish that lead. Coach Eric Valley shuffled a variety of players in and out of the lineup, as Medina put the finishing touches on a playoff season with a 44-7 victory over visiting Wilson in a non-league matchup game at Veterans Park on Wednesday evening. With the win, Medina finishes the season at 5-4 overall, 3-3 in Class B North.
"Having those seniors in the program as long as we did, it's going to be a huge void," Medina head coach Eric Valley said. "We'll have a lot of returning players, but those are some kids that we really can't replace."
Later in the quarter, Barna picked up right where he left off, taking a handoff and running 26 yards for a touchdown that put Medina up 16-0. Midway through the second quarter, after a fine Wilson drive led to a touchdown that cut the deficit to 16-7, Barna struck again, this time on a 56-yard scoring run where he started inside and broke free with a dynamic cutback to the right edge.
Just before halftime, on the final play of the first half, Brett Pecoraro found the end zone on a make-or-break two yard run where he plowed his way through the Lakemen defense. This made the score 30-7 at halftime, and the Mustang victory was all but secured.
The Medina defense was a force throughout the first half, and it was even more so in the second half, holding Wilson scoreless.
The Lakemen had their best chance on the first drive of the half, a clock-consuming drive that took up more than six minutes. But the Mustangs stiffened inside the red zone, holding Wilson to a fake field goal attempt on fourth down, which was quickly blown up by a contingent of Medina defenders.
Medina took over on its own 20 and flipped the field position, embarking on a long drive of its own that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by Ty Hrovat, early in the final quarter. From there, the Mustangs had some fun with it, rotating players into a variety of positions. A total of 12 Mustangs ran the ball, including Nate Hodgins, who had pestered Valley all year for the opportunity to get a carry.
Pecoraro capped the scoring later in the fourth, on his second two-yard touchdown run of the evening.
Hrovat also added an interception and a fumble recovery, while sophomore Baylee VerCruysse notched six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Valley and the coaching staff used the opportunity to bring up several players from the junior varsity team, to see how they would fare at the varsity level. Considering the 37-point margin of victory, one certainly cannot argue with the results.
"We brought up eight or nine JV kids, and they were really excited about the opportunity to play," Valley said. "We knew we had a short week, so we told the guys we were going to make it real fun, work on some fundamentals and try to go out with a win. The kids responded really well; everyone was excited, even after the loss last week. Everyone was excited to play, and I think it showed when we got out here."
Barna closed his Mustang football career with 96 yards rushing, while Pecoraro added 62 yards on the ground.
"Everyone truly contributed in that win," Valley said. "At the end of the day, I had a great group of kids, and that's what's most important."
"Our seniors will surely be missed, and hopefully I'll be watching them play on Saturdays next year."
Barker/Roy-Hart 35, Newfane 21
MIDDLEPORT — Senior all-purpose threat Jacob Haight started the scoring, and the Barker/Roy-Hart football team concluded its season with a 14-point victory over Newfane in a non-league matchup game on Wednesday evening.
Haight put Barker/Roy-Hart on the board with a six-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and added a 50-yard scoring burst later in the quarter. Barker/Roy-Hart expanded the lead to 28-0 at halftime on runs by junior CJ Fitch and junior Thomas Callaghan.
Newfane cut the lead to 28-7 in the third quarter, but Barker/Roy-Hart put the icing on the cake with a 12-yard run by junior Donavan Haag in the fourth.
Coach Bill Bruning's Barker/Roy-Hart squad concludes its season at 2-7 overall, 0-6 in Class B North play.