Fast start sparks Mustangs past Steelers

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 18 September 2021 at 4:45 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina quarterback Xander Payne throws a touchdown pass to Jarin Rhim with a Lackawanna defender grabbing his leg during the Mustangs win over the host Steelers this afternoon.

Building up an early 20-0 lead, Medina went on to defeat host Lackawanna 34-16 this afternoon to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Quarterback Xander Payne put Medina on top to stay with a pair of first quarter touchdowns first on a 9 yard run and then on an 11 yard pass to Joe Cecchini.

Noah Skinner had a big 31 yard run to key the first scoring drive and a fumble recovery at the Steelers 35 which set up the second scoring opportunity.

The Mustangs upped the advantage to 20-0 early in the second quarter as Payne completed a screen pass to Iverson Poole who broke free for a 50 yard touchdown play. Skinner added the two-point conversion run.

Lackawanna did make things interesting by answering back with a pair of touchdowns on passes by quarterback William Gechell of 21 yards to Shyhiem Smalls and 35 yard to Mohamed Alshawai. The Steelers added the two point conversion after both scores to slice the Medina lead to just four, 20-16, at the half.

However, the Mustangs regained a little breathing room by putting together a 15 play, 69 yard scoring drive which used up most of the third quarter.

Payne, who had pass completions of 14 and 12 yards to Jarin Rhim and 11 yards to Greg Thompson on the drive, capped off the march with an 8 yard TD pass to Rhim with 1:25 to go in the quarter. Cayden Lilleby added the two-point conversion run to make it 28-16.

Medina finally put a lock on the victory when Skinner literally bulldozed his way for a 45 yard touchdown run early in the final quarter for a 34-16 Mustangs lead as he shook off several Steeler tacklers along the way.

Defensively for the Mustangs, Chris Johnson had two sacks and Skinner and Robert Arnold one each.

Medina next hosts Akron in a C North Division game at 7 p.m. Friday.

The loss drops Lackawanna to 1-2.

Medina’s Noah Skinner escapes a slew of  Lackawanna tacklers in route to his 45 yard touchdown run.