NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The records were irrelevant. It’s that kind of rivalry.
Coaches Bill Albright and Jeff Riesen know each other well and have great respect for each other. They also know the Midview-North Ridgeville rivalry, which is why Albright had a simple message for his unbeaten Middies.
“I told our kids at the walkthrough to be prepared for anything,” Albright said.
Anything is what they got.
But the Middies (6-0, 3-0 West Shore Conference) prevailed 8-0 over the Rangers (1-5, 1-2).
The Rangers’ defense bent, but only broke one time.
Midview was able to take advantage of one of three North Ridgeville fumbles to get on the board. Recovering at the Ridgeville 36-yard line, it took only three plays to get in the end zone as Adam Prechtl rushed in from the 19. It was the game’s lone touchdown.
Midview kept marching the ball up and down the field, but just couldn’t get into the end zone. When it mattered most, North Ridgeville’s defense stepped up.
Middies junior quarterback Cody Callaway had one of those nights where nothing went right, as he completed nine of 27 passes. It took until the final two minutes for him to make a big play, as he connected with Brendan Matchum for a 57-yard gain to the 20-yard line with 1:28 left.
“Things just didn’t go our way tonight,” Callaway said. “Our defense played great, but our offense struggled. Our timing was just a little off tonight and I was having a hard time getting a grip on the ball, but we did come out with the win.”
Callaway felt the field conditions may have had a little to do with the problems. North Ridgeville has a grass field that was soggy and slippery from the week’s rain. Some runners had a hard time making cuts.
“We are used to playing on turf now and this is just kind of a little different,” Callaway said.
Midview’s defense kept the Rangers in check and punter Eric Lauer pinned the Rangers deep several times. One such occasion led to a safety as quarterback Ron Traut was tackled in the end zone by several Middies.
“We appealed to the team’s pride,” Riesen said. “We remembered last year when we played very poorly and Midview played great. Our team remembered and said they were going to give their best effort and whatever happens happens. I think we played pretty darn good, but we came up a little short. We had a great defensive game plan and I credit the coaches for coming up with that and getting the team ready.”
“I give credit to Ridgeville’s defense,” Albright said. “They came after him (Callaway) and took away some things. We knew that teams were going to start doing that, but I am pleased that our running game was able to pick up the slack.”
SCARY SCENE: Although it was an exciting game, it took a backseat to what happened to Midview receiver Zac Wilson with 1:17 left in the first half.
Wilson caught a pass coming out of the backfield and was hit by several defenders. He lay motionless for a while as trainers from both teams worked on him. Wilson was taken off the field on a stretcher, flashed a thumbs-up to the crowd and driven to St. John Medical Center. As Albright was being interviewed, he received word from Zac’s father that he was OK.
Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or email@example.com.