EATON TWP. — It’s never easy for one football team to defeat another football team three times in one season.
When the teams don’t like each other very much it can be that much harder.
With that in mind, Lorain County Nightmares coach Terry Murray knew he’d have to come up with a new wrinkle heading into Saturday’s Premier Amateur Football League playoff opener against the Cleveland Saints, a team the Nightmares defeated twice during the regular season.
A new offensive set and a balanced running attack did the job as Lorain County advanced to the second round with a 35-21 win at Midview High School’s Ross Field.
Quarterback Cody Schuster carried the ball 18 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns while tailback Devin Betts rushed 16 times for 125 yards and a pair of scores to pace the Lorain County offense.
“The Saints had seen us twice this year so we had to throw a little something extra at them tonight,” Murray said. “We went with a little different look, with a double tight end set. They expected us to be a spread offense tonight and not to run it down their throat like we did … they weren’t ready for that.”
While the Saints might not have been ready for the Nightmares’ new offense, the Lorain County defense didn’t appear to be ready for Saints 6-foot-6 receiver Tyrone Williams.
Williams, who played at Ohio State for two seasons and made one career start for the Buckeyes before transferring to Ohio Dominican, went wild in the first half. His 98-yard touchdown early in the second quarter gave the Saints a 14-7 lead, and he ended up with six catches for 149 yards at halftime.
Late in the second quarter, the Nightmares made an adjustment. They put receiver Sherman Thomas in on defense and he teamed up with cornerback Lynnwood
McGrier to take Williams out of the game.
After torching the Lorain County defense in the first half, Williams was held to just one reception in the final two quarters.
“It was a challenge,” Thomas said of covering Williams. “Every pass they threw him was high so there really is no defending it. … You have to just tackle him and make him fall. Lynnwood did a good job, I tried my best and I think we did a good job today. He made some plays but you really can’t stop a guy like that. He’s going to make his plays. All we can do is limit him.”
Lorain County’s offense didn’t get on track until after halftime. After rushing for just 33 yards as a team in the first two quarters, the Nightmares put 233 rushing yards on the board in the second half.
Betts scored from 16 yards out in the third quarter to break a 14-14 tie, then Schuster crashed in from 3 yards out toward the end of the third to give the
Nightmares a 28-14 lead.
Betts’ scored on a 27-yard run midway through the fourth period to put the game away.
The game had special meaning for Betts, a 2010 Elyria graduate. Not only did he play for the Saints last season, but his father, Warnsley, who suffered a recent stroke, was at the game.
“I was sore from last week but I just played for him,” Betts said. “It was all about him.”
Lorain County will hit the road next weekend, traveling to Pittsburgh for a second-round game against the Stealth.
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nightmares 35, Saints 21
Saints 0 14 0 7 — 21
Nightmares 7 7 14 7 — 35
LC — Mitch Tulk, 2 pass from Cody Schuster (Tim Jones kick)
CS — Chris Netters, 9 pass from David Thompson Jr. (Ben Lyons kick)
CS — Tyrone Williams, 98 pass from Thompson (Lyons kick)
LC — Schuster, 3 run (Jones kick)
LC — Devin Betts, 16 run (Jones kick)
LC — Schuster, 3 run (Jones kick)
LC — Betts, 27 run (Jones kick)
CS — Williams, 26 pass from Thompson (Lyons kick)
First downs 14 19
— by rushing 5 14
— by passing 9 4
— by penalty 0 1
Yards rushing 48 266
Yards passing 287 73
Sack yardage lost 29 0
Total offense 306 339
Passes att./comp. 28/17 11/6
Intercepted by 0 1
Fumbles/lost 1/0 1/1
Penalties/yards 13/105 4/58
RUSHING — (S) Vernon Jackson 7-22, Chris Netters 1-(-2), Courtney Walcott 1-2, Branden Robinson 4-0, David Thompson Jr. 7-26. (N) Cody Schuster 18-144, Devin Betts 16-125, Sherman Thomas 1-(-7).
PASSING — (S) Thompson Jr. 17-28-287-3-1. (N) Cody Schuster 6-11-73-1-0.
RECEIVING — (S) Tyrone Williams 7-175, Abe Taylor 1-7, Vernon Jackson 2-14, Chris Netters 2-14, Kenny Williams 2-18, DeAngelo Thompson 2-39, Diontez May 1-19. (N) Mitch Tulk 2-18, Sherman Thomas 2-20, Troy Davila 1-23, Devin Betts 1-12.