Mustangs blank Steelers in Class C semifinal

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 November 2021 at 10:32 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina quarterback Xander Payne breaks away from a trio of pursuing Lackawanna defenders to score a touchdown during the Mustangs sectional win over the Steelers at Vets Park this evening.

Pulling away with a pair of late second quarter scores, top seeded defending champion Medina went on to blank No. 5 Lackawanna 32-0 in the Section VI Class C semifinals this evening at Vets Park.

Leading by a narrow 6-0 margin, Medina got special team and defensive scores during that key stretch to open up a 17-0 half-time advantage.

First, Cole Callard booted a 26 yard field goal with 3:47 to go in the half and then two minutes later Iverson Poole returned a pass interception 25 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Xander Payne tacked on a two-point conversion pass to Greg Thompson for the 17-0 lead.

Medina’s Hayden Woodroe returns a pass interception.

Poole also scored Medina’s first touchdown of the evening on a 4 yard run with 3:32 to go in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.

A 22 yard pass completion from  Payne to Joe Cecchini highlighted the drive.

It remained 17-0 into the fourth quarter when the Mustangs put a lock on the victory on a pair of touchdown runs by Payne covering 32 and 1 yards.

Robert Arnold added the two-point conversion run after the first score and Callard tacked on the PAT kick after the second.

The shutout effort by the Mustangs defensive unit, their fourth of the season, also featured interceptions by Hayden Woodroe and Jarin Rhim along with sacks by Cecchini, Zach Oliver, Arnold, Chris Johnson and Roosevelt Mitchell.

Improving to 10-0, Medina will now face No. 3 seed Fredonia for the Section VI Class C championship next Saturday at noon at Highmark Stadium.

It will be Medina’s first appearance at the stadium since 1988 when the Mustangs edged rival Albion 14-7 for the title.

The Mustangs 10-0 record also ties the 1988 team’s mark for the best in school history.

Fredonia improved to 10-0 with a 28-21 semifinal win over No. 7 Southwestern.

Medina’s Joe Cecchini goes high to make a pass reception.