Mustangs romp to snowy Section VI Class C title victory – next stop the state playoffs

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 13 November 2021 at 5:15 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – With heavy snow falling Medina running back Noah Skinner bulldozes his way for good yardage during the Mustangs 58-6 Section VI Class C championship game win over Fredonia at Highmark Stadium this afternoon.

Playing in a wintry wonderland, defending champion Medina romped to a 58-6 victory over Fredonia in the Section VI Class C championship game at very snowy Highmark Stadium this afternoon earning the Mustangs their first ever trip to the state playoffs.

It feels fantastic,” exclaimed Medina Coach Eric Valley. “Our line and our defense did a great job and I’m just real proud of the kids.”

“It’s amazing,” said Chris Johnson, who along with Roosevelt Mitchell, Josh Wilson, Ollie Wilson and Colvin Stalker, anchored the offensive line for the Mustangs which dominated the line of scrimmage all afternoon.

Improving to a school record 11-0, the Mustangs broke this one wide open with a huge explosion of 32 straight points in the second quarter.

A big 71 yard run by quarterback Xander Payne down to the Fredonia 20 yard line on the final play of the first quarter ignited the offense.

Medina’s Joe Cecchini tackles Fredonia quarterback Nick Whitfield for a loss.

Three plays later Payne scored on a 5 yard touchdown run with 10:40 to go in the second quarter. Noah Skinner tacked on the two point conversion and the Mustangs were off an rolling amidst a heavy snowfall.

“It was interesting playing in the snow.” said Skinner. “It was a different and kind of a cool experience to be in.”

The Mustangs got the ball right back as Skinner recovered a Fredonia fumble near midfield.

With the line opening big holes the Mustangs quickly drove in for a second score as Payne scored on a 28 yard run and Greg Thompson added the two-point conversion to make it 16-0.

“I owe it all to the line,” said Payne. “I just found the hole and took it.”

Keeping the momentum, the Mustangs quickly tacked on two more touchdowns late in the quarter on runs of 31 yards by Thompson and 46 yards by Payne and a pair of two-point conversions by Skinner to race away to a commanding 32-0 lead.

“We were a little concerned at the beginning with the snowy field as our line does a lot of pulling but our linemen got feet underneath them and made their blocks and just did a great job,” said Valley.

“It was snowing pretty good but your adrenaline gets going and it was the same out there for both teams,” said Payne. We were able to execute and play our game.”

Fredonia finally broke onto the scoreboard when quarterback Nick Whitfield scored on a 62 yard run with just 37 seconds to go in the half but the Hillbillies could not find the endzone again.

“Against a team that has the explosiveness that they do our defense did just a great job,” said Valley. “They only had that one big play so I’m just very proud of what our kids did defensively.”

Medina got that Fredonia touchdown back midway through the third quarter when Skinner broke clean for a 39 yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion upping the lead to 40-6.

Highlighting the Mustangs shutout defensive effort in the second half was a sack by Joe Cecchini and a pass interception by Cayden Lilleby late in the third quarter.

The Mustangs then closed out the victory with a flurry of three fourth quarter touchdowns by Thompson on runs of 44, 82 and 45 yards.

“Communication is everything,” said Johnson of the solid blocking by his offensive line unit. “We communicate very well. We’ve very competitive and we’re physical.”

The lopsided win keeps Medina undefeated at 4-0 in championship games at the stadium with other other wins coming during the 1980, 1982 and 1988 seasons.

The victory sends Medina to the state quarterfinals at noon next Saturday at Williamsville South against the Section V championship (either East Rocheser/Gananda or Bath Haverling).

Click here to view a video of highlights from today’s game. Check our Facebook and Twitter platforms later today for more pictures from the game.

Medina’s Greg Thompson sprints away for one of his four touchdowns.

Mustang quarterback Xander Payne breaks loose for one of his three touchdowns as his teammate Jarin Rhim (4) signals a TD.