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Mustangs, Purple Eagles set for B-North openers

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 September 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – READY FOR ACTION: Getting set to lead Albion into Friday’s season opener against Barker/Roy-Hart at Middleport is this backfield quartet. At left quarterback Kyle Smith hands off to Kollin Reynolds and at right quarterback John Warne hands off to Ed Wolfe.

Medina and Albion will both open the high school football season Friday night with games in the new look B-North Division.

The Mustangs will host Amherst at 7:30 p.m. while Albion will visit Barker/Roy-Hart at 7 p.m. at Middleport.

On Saturday, Holley will open the Genesee Region League season by visiting Notre Dame at 1:30 p.m.

Medina, which posted a 6-3 record last fall, will be facing Amherst on the gridiron for the first time in over 60 years. Amherst, which held a 5-1 edge in the previous series (1944-1951), won the last meeting 26-2 in 1951.

“Amherst is new to us,” Medina Coach Eric Valley said. “They run the double wing, they’re big and they have a real athletic quarterback.”

Medina is led by a good returning group of skill players including junior Jason Hellwig at quarterback, seniors Dan Brown and Kyle Barna at running back and Forest Harper at receiver. Up front, the Mustangs return a good nucleus of linemen including senior Nate Hodgins, juniors Adam Cotter, Devonte Howard and Brandon Schoolcraft and sophomore Charles Beach.

“I think we can move the ball pretty well on offense and spread it around so our opponent can’t key on anyone player,” said Valley whose high powered offense averaged some 36 points per game last year. “The big key for us is to get more push out of our defense so we put our offense in better situations.”

Albion, which is looking to rebound from a 2-6 campaign last fall, is led upfront by a large, veteran laden line including seniors Steven Stauss (6-5, 300), Jon Trembley (6-1, 255), Dylan Burkhardt (6-1, 245) , Robert June (6-0, 200) and Mike Eldred (5-11, 200).

Senior John Warne and sophomore Kyle Smith will share the quarterbacking duties as seniors Kollin Reynolds and Ed Wolfe man the running back spots and sophomore Trey Hart and junior Des Blackmon the wide receiver positions.

The Purple Eagles will also be looking to avenge a wild 33-30 loss to Barker/Roy-Hart last year.

“The opener is always exciting for coaches and players,” Albion Coach Tony Osburn said. “We’ve got so many starters back from last year and they remember that game. It was a hard fought game but a tough one to lose so they’re excited about this one. It should be a great game. We just have to execute on offense and do the little things right and we’ve got to play more hard-nosed defense.”

Barker/Roy-Hart is led by senior quarterback/defensive back/place kicker Jacob Haight who kicked the game winning field goal with just four seconds to go in last year’s win over Albion.

“It’s always a tough game against Albion,” Barker/Roy-Hart coach Bill Bruning said. “The team that is able to protect the football and establish the running game has the best chance to win it. They have a very good offense so we have a real good challenge. Offensively we want to establish the run and defensively do a good job defending their quick passing game.”

Seniors Tyler Childs, DaRon Woods and Matt Smolinsky look to man the Barker/Roy-Hart running back spots while seniors Tim Flint (6-1, 185) and James Brady (6-4, 275) anchor the line along with senior Collin Knoop (6-4, 235), junior Elijah Haley (6-1, 200) and sophomore Chris Steves (6-2, 275).

With new coach Mark Mattice at the helm, Holley is set to visit Notre Dame led by the senior backfield duo of quarterback Dan Flanagan and running back Corey Winter. Seniors Isaac Miller and Aaron Lerlan and junior Stephen Mallet anchor the line as senior John Tanis returns at wide receiver.

Holley dropped a narrow 30-29 decision last year to Notre Dame which holds an 8-2 lead in the series.