EATON TWP. — Even facing a scintillating runner like Brandon Kish, Midview’s defenders stood tall.
One week after stifling Elyria High’s rushing offense with minus yardage, the Middies had a greater challenge Friday night when Kish and the Amherst Comets came to Adelsberg Stadium.
Just one week ago Kish shredded Nordonia for 196 yards rushing and three touchdowns, but again Midview didn’t budge.
The Middies held the Amherst star to 49 yards rushing, the key to Midview’s 20-6 victory over the Comets.
“Our defense, yes,” said Midview coach Bill Albright when assessing the best of his team’s play. “I’m really proud of our kids.”
“He’s a good running back,” said Midview defensive tackle Dave Rankin. “But we did our jobs, group tackling him. We did what we had to do.”
Kish’s longest run was for 11 yards and Amherst’s running attack netted only six first downs and 102 total yards. The passing attack couldn’t pick up the slack as John Salter and backup Andrew Eliopoulos combined for just 84 yards on five completions with two interceptions, both by safety Joe Yusko.
Rankin and Yusko typified Midview’s performance. Not only was Rankin stellar up front defensively, his 13-yard catch set up the Middies’ first touchdown. And he blocked a Salter punt in the fourth quarter that sealed the game.
Moments before, with Midview leading 14-6, Amherst stopped the Middies on fourth down at the Amherst 42 with 5:24 left in the game. Midview’s defense held and Amherst went back to kick with 4:41 on the clock, but Rankin came through to block the kick, giving Midview field position at the Amherst 29.
“That block was crucial,” Albright said. “It was huge for us.”
Amherst uses Salter as a rollout punter, rather than putting someone in deep punt formation, and the Middies were ready.
“That’s what we worked on all week,” said Rankin. “Coach (Mike) Hayes put it in for this game.”
After the block Midview drove to the Amherst 10 but ran out of downs. Two plays later Yusko intercepted a pass that set up the Middies at the 24. Adam Koubek ran for the crushing touchdown on the next play.
“It’s the first time I’ve had two interceptions,” said Yusko. “We get a great job from our linebackers and defensive line. Both (interceptions) were tipped.”
Yusko’s contribution didn’t end there. He also stopped a fourth-down pass in the end zone in the third quarter.
“He (the receiver) was open, but I just read the quarterback’s eyes,” said Yusko, who also had 22 rushing yards on seven attempts. “This is a big win for us. We haven’t beaten Amherst in awhile.”
Midview (2-0) also struggled on offense until Koubek began finding his receivers. He completed just one of his first six and had two interceptions, but after that he clicked on 7-of-11, completing his last five.
Three of his completions came on Midview’s 59-yard scoring drive in the second quarter and his 13-yard hookup with Rankin on a tight end delay took the ball to the 4. Koubek scored on a sneak from the 1 and Kyle Koubek’s extra point made it 7-0 at halftime.
Kevin Allen broke a 42-yard scoring run in the third quarter to make it 14-0, but Amherst came back with a 47-yard scoring strike from Salter to Josh Gonzalez. The extra point was tipped, making it 14-6. Amherst came no closer.
“Midview played great defense,” said Amherst coach Kevin Fell. “And they didn’t make any mistakes. I give them credit. We didn’t do anything well offensively, which is disturbing. We’ve got to figure out why.”
SPECIAL TEAMS SPECIAL: Midview assistant coach Mike Hayes, a former Midview player who also punted for the University of Akron, wore a big smile after the game because of the play of the special teams. It was his work on a punt block that paid a big dividend in the win.
“We also worked on the block up the middle on the PAT and we got that one, too,” said Hayes. “We stepped it up this week.”
Contact Roger Negin at 329-7135 or email@example.com.