Fast start sparks Purple Eagles past Mustangs
A marathon 18 play, 97 yard scoring drive on their first possession ignited the Albion Purple Eagles to a 34-12 victory over rival Medina/Lyndonville/Barker at Vets Park this evening to complete a 5-0 B2 Division championship campaign.
Quarterback Bryce Pritchard scored on a 1 yard run with 1:58 to go in the opening period to cap the eight minute long drive which included 16 runs and 2 pass completions. It featured runs of 14 yards by Brilliance Johnson, 10 by Ugene Harrison and an 11 yard Pritchard to Deyonce Farley pass completion. Alex Rustay tacked on the first of his four extra point kicks.
“That first drive was huge for us,” said Albion Coach Adam Krenning. “We wanted to run the ball and that really set the tone for us.”
The victory in the 121st renewal of the rivalry also enabled the Purple Eagles to retain the “Doc’s Rock” Trophy which is given in memory of Larry “Doc” Decker who coached and taught at both Albion and Medina. The Purple Eagles now hold a 67-49-5 lead in the series which dates back to 1898.
The Purple Eagles upped its lead to 14-0 on their next possession but his time took just two plays to reach the end zone as Johnson broke loose around right end and down the sideline for a 75 yard touchdown run with 9:32 to go in the second quarter.
The Albion advantage increased to 21-0 four minutes later as Pritchard scored on a 22 yard run. A 27 yard run by Johnson helped key that drive which started as the Albion 42 after a short Mustangs punt.
The Mustangs did cut the deficit to 21-6 as quarterback Izaiah Rhim hooked up with Brian Fry on a 39 yard touchdown pass play with just 25 seconds to go in the half.
Runs of 22 yards by Rhim, 13 by William Braswell and a 11 yard Rhim to Rickie Pitts pass completion keyed that drive which was kept alive when the Mustangs ended up recovering the ball after a bizarre interception and fumble play.
Looking to keep the momentum the Mustangs drove into Albion territory twice in the third quarter but could not find the end zone. The first drive was stopped on downs at the Albion 25 and the second stalled out after a key sack by Purple Eagles defender Ben Restivo.
Albion upped its lead to 28-6 four minutes into the fourth quarter when Pritchard hooked up with Nate Moore on a 47 yard touchdown pass. Moore set up that opportunity himself by intercepting a pass at the Mustangs 47.
The Mustangs answered back with a 2 yard TD run by Rhim with 6:50 remaining but would get no closer than the 28-12 margin. A 43 yard run by Braswell and a 29 yard Rhim to Tyler Chinn pass completion keyed that 77 yard drive.
Albion though got that one right back when Johnson scored on a 29 yard run with 1:57 to go to make the final score 34-12. Runs of 12 and 11 yards by Isaiah Callicutt helped key that drive.
“It was a tough game,” said Krenning.”Medina played very well.”
Albion finishes the regular season at 7-0 and will host a quarterfinal round game of the Section VI Class B playoffs next Friday.
Medina/Lyndonvilkle/Barker finishes the regular season at 2-3 in the division and 3-4 overall.
In addition to the awarding of the “Doc’s Rock” trophy, the postseason ceremonies included the presentation of the Jeff Evoy Memorial Sportsmanship Award to Bryce Pritchard from Albion and Chaise Prest from Medina/Lyndonville/Barker. The award is given in memory of Jeff Evoy who was a coach and teacher at Albion and later became the superintendent at Medina.