Mustangs take part in Media Day at Highmark

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 9 November 2021 at 12:57 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina team captains, from left, Colvin Stalker, Jarin Rhim, Xander Payne, Hayden Woodroe and Joe Cecchini, meet here on the Highmark field with Mustang assistant coaches Charlie Wilson, left, and Gordy Luthart who were both starters on Medina’s last sectional championship team at the stadium, the 1988 squad which downed rival Albion for the title.

It has been 33 years since Medina has played in a Section VI football championship game at Highmark Stadium, a drought which will end at noon Saturday when the Mustangs take on Fredonia for the Class C title.

This morning the Mustangs five team captains – Xander Payne, Joe Cecchini, Hayden Woodroe, Jarin Rhim and Colvin Stalker – got a preview look at the home of the Buffalo Bills when they and the coaching staff took part in Media Day.

Medina Head Coach and art teacher Eric Valley did this portrait of the late Dick Gallagher which Section VI officials presented to his family. Gallagher was a longtime booster and supporter of high school football in Western New York.

“It’s amazing, I got the chills coming in. I’m speechless. I don’t know how to describe it,” said Payne as he practiced making some throws on the turf field. “It’s special not just for the team but for our whole program.”

“It’s exciting to think we get to play on that field,” said Cecchini.

“It’s definitely crazy, It’s an opportunity not a lot of people get,” added Rhim

“It’s the chance of a lifetime for a lot of these kids,” said Mustangs Head Coach Eric Valley. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to do something special.”

The visit to the field also brought back special memories to two of the Mustang coaches – Charlie Wilson and Gordy Luthart – who were both starters on the last Medina team which appeared at was then Rich Stadium, the 1988 squad which claimed the title with a 14-7 win over rival Albion.

“We’re back,” exclaimed Wilson with a big smile on his face.

“It seems like just yesterday,” added Luthart.

The appearance at stadium the will be the fourth for the Mustangs which previously scored championship victories in 1980, 1982 and 1988. (Click here to view a video of what the teams heard today at media day and some fun on the turf afterwards.)

Players from all 10 teams which will be participating in this coming weekend’s sectional playoff title games here get a chance to try out the turf field.