Mustangs blank Trojans in Class C semifinal

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 3 November 2023 at 10:21 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Noah Cudzilo, shown here breaking loose for a good gain, had a big night on both sides of the ball in helping lead Medina to a 21-0 win over Southwestern in the Class C semifinal at Vets Park this evening.

Getting a second straight shutout performance by the defense, Medina blanked Southwestern 21-0 in the Section VI Class C semifinals at Vets Park this evening.

Improving to 10-0, the victory propels Medina into the Class C title game for the third time in four seasons.

Interceptions by Noah Cudzilo, Kaedon Cleveland and Justin Pitts, along with a fumble recovery by Colton Fletcher and two sacks by Xavier King, highlighted the Mustangs huge defense effort. In fact, the Trojans deepest advance into Mustangs territory was only to the Medina 29 yard line.

“You don’t win ball games without a defense like that,” said Medina Coach Eric Valley. “Southwestern made a few big plays that had us buckle a bit but they stepped up and made the big plays when they had to. They were just hawking the ball.”

Noah Cudzilo makes a nifty diving catch for a Medina touchdown in the second quarter.

Cudzilo also had a huge game offensively rushing for 135 yards and a touchdown and adding 33 yards receiving including a touchdown.

“Noah has been electrifying all season when we’ve given him the ball and we had planned to get him more touches and he really stepped up,” said Valley.

Medina grabbed a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter on a 4 yard touchdown run by Cudzilo and an extra point kick by Cole Callard. Back-to-back runs of 17 yards by Christian Moss and 18 by Julian Woodworth highlighted the drive.

Cudzilo then made a spectacular diving catch to complete an 18 yard scoring pass midway through the second quarter and Callard added the PAT kick to up the lead to 14-0.

An interception by Cleveland at the Trojans 36 set up that scoring opportunity.

Pitts then ended the half on a high note for the Mustangs defense with an interception at the Trojans 31 on the final play.

The Mustangs finally put a lock on the victory when Woodworth scored on a 7 yard TD run with 2:08 remaining in the fourth quarter and Callard again tacked on the PAT. Runs of 28 and 16 yards by Cudzilo and 16 by Woodworth keyed the drive.

Medina will now face Salamanca for the Class C title at Highmark Stadium next Friday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Medina defensive lineman Xavier King sacks Southwestern quarterback Owen Hayes.

Medina defensive back Kaedon Cleveland gets set to make an interception as the ball sails over the outstretched arms of Southwestern receiver DeClan Kennedy.

Medina quarterback Julian Woodworth works to get away from the tackle attempt of Southwestern’s Brody Larson.