Mustangs to face new foe in Cleve Hill

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 6 October 2016 at 10:10 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Ronnie Koonce, shown here making a tackle during last weekend’s win at Depew, and his Medina/Lyndonville teammates visit Cleveland Hill in a non league contest on Saturday afternoon.

For the second time this season Medina/Lyndonville will face a new non league football foe as the Mustangs visit Cleveland Hill at 2 p.m. Saturday in Cheektowaga.

Cleve Hill, which leads the C North Division, brings a 4-1 record into the contest as the Eagles lone setback was a narrow 14-12 loss to cross-town rival undefeated (5-0) Maryvale in the season opener. Since then the Eagles have averaged over 45 points per game in romping past Wilson 45-0, Southwestern 44-3, Akron 42-7 and Eden/North Collins 52-6.

Doing most of their scoring via the ground attack (23 rushing touchdowns to only 2 passing), the Eagles have been led by the running back duo of Aaron Wahler (693 yards rushing, 11 TDs) and Matt Eldridge (444 yards, 6 TDs).

Defensively, Cleve Hill has allowed a total of only 28 points in five games. The Eagles defense has had 14.5 sacks, 7 fumble recoveries and 6 interceptions.

“We have seen Cleveland Hill on film and in person, and they have a very athletic group of players,” said Coach Eric Valley. “Coach Graham has done a great job with this team, as they play hard, fly to the ball and they have a stable of running backs that are explosive.  Cleveland Hill is one of the best programs that Class C has to offer so they will be a good test for us.”

“We are going to have to slow down their run game and try to contain their backs.  We also need to minimize turnovers,” he added. “Cleve Hill has forced a lot of turnovers this year and created scoring opportunities with their defense.  Offensively we need to be able to establish a passing game to help open up our run game inside.  They have a very good defensive line and linebackers so we need to keep them from making big plays.”

Medina/Lyndonville, which has already clinched at least a share of the B East Division title, is off to a 5-0 start to the season for the first time since 1997, which ironically was also the last time the Mustangs earned a share of the division crown. In fact, the Mustangs went 6-0 to open that season before dropping a 16-0 decision to Alden in week seven.

Sophomore quarterback Izaiah Rhim, who has thrown 8 touchdown passes, leads the high scoring Mustangs offense which is averaging 48 points per outing. That attack has featured versatile junior receiver Jalin Cooper with 12 touchdowns and senior running backs Jake Cotter and Eric Neace with 6 and 5 respectively. Cotter has 641 yards rushing, Neace 314 and Cooper 279 along with 14 receptions for 260 yards.

The Mustangs defensive unit has registered 18 sacks and has 8 interceptions and 6 fumble recoveries. Dawson Joy leads the unit in tackles with 43 while Neace has 36, Tyler Howard and Dustin Joy 31, Mason Lewis 30 and Lucas Porter 29.

“Even though this is a non-league game it is still very important to us,” said Valley. “We need to continue to play well against top notch competition if we want to get better each week.”

In their earlier season non league contest the Mustangs outlasted new foe University Prep of Rochester 44-30.

Albion vs. Akron
Two former long-time Niagara-Orleans League gridiron foes will meet for the first time in over 25 years as Albion hosts Akron at 7 p.m. Friday in a non league contest.

Albion holds a 25-10-2 lead in the series with Akron which is being renewed for the first time is 1990 when the Purple Eagles downed the Tigers 27-0.

Both teams are 1-4 on the season and looking to snap two game losing streaks.

Barker/Roy-Hart vs. Depew
It will be Homecoming at Barker as Barker/Roy-Hart hosts Depew in a B East Division game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Depew holds a 2-0 lead in the short series with Barker/Roy-Hart including a 35-0 win last year.

Depew, which is looking to rebound from a 50-15 loss to Medina/Lyndonville, is 1-3 in the division and 1-4 overall while Barker/Roy-Hart, which is coming off a 23-14 win over Newfane, is 0-3, 2-3.

Holley vs. Notre Dame
Looking to make it two Genesee Region League wins in a row, Holley hosts Notre Dame of Batavia at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Holley, which is 1-2 in the league and 2-3 overall defeated Oakfield-Aalbama 27-6 last week, while Notre Dame, which is 1-2, 1-4 dropped a 57-13 decision to Attica.

Notre Dame holds an 11-2 lead in the series with Holley. The Irish have won the last five meetings including a 32-22 victory last year.

B East Division: Medina/Lyndonville 4-0, 5-0; Alden 3-1, 3-2; Lackawanna 2-1, 3-2; Albion 1-3, 1-4; Depew 1-3, 1-4; Barker/Roy-Hart 0-3, 2-3
Genesee Region League: Alexander 5-0, 5-0; Attica 2-1, 2-3; Pembroke 2-3, 2-3; Holley 1-2, 2-3; Notre Dame 1-2, 1-4; Oakfield-Alabama/Elba 0-3, 0-5