Purple Eagles, Mustangs set to renew rivalry

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 21 October 2021 at 1:11 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Hayden Woodroe, left, and Albion’s Javon Jones and their Mustang and Purple Eagle teammates will renew their century plus long football rivalry at 7 p.m. Friday at Vets Park.

Cancelled last fall due to Covid-19 restrictions, the nearly 125 year old Albion vs. Medina high school football rivalry will resume on Friday as the Mustangs host the Purple Eagles at 7 p.m. at Vets Park.

Interestingly, that cancellation ended a string of exactly 100 straight years in which the two schools had met on the gridiron. The last year they did not meet was 1919 which ironically was during the Spanish Flu Pandemic which ran from 1918-1920.

Overall, Albion holds a 68-49-5 lead in the series which dates back to 1898 making it one of the oldest in the state. The teams have split the last 10 meetings but the Purple Eagles have won the last three.

Both teams are enjoying excellent seasons as the Mustangs are 7-0 and the Purple Eagles 5-1.

Quarterback Amari Jones, who has passed for 650 yards and 7 touchdowns and rushed for 180 yards and 2 TDs, leads the Purple Eagles offense.

Javon Jones has hauled in 20 of those passes for 348 yards and 7 touchdowns and Jahmeek Riley 4 for 161 and 2 TDs.

On the ground, Sh’Kwe Riley has rushed for 327 yards and 6 touchdowns and Jacob Hughson 157 yards and 1 TD.

The Mustangs offense is likewise led by quarterback Xander Payne who has passed for 1,031 yards and a school record 19 touchdowns.

Five different receivers have hauled in those TD aerials including Jarin Rhim with 6, Greg Thompson 5, Joe Cecchini 4, Iverson Poole 3 and Cayden Lilleby 1. Rhim has 340 receiving yards, Thompson 262 and Cecchini 222.

The Mustangs ground attack is led by Poole with 452 yards and 5 touchdowns, Noah Skinner 377 yards and 5 TDs, Robert Arnold 235 yards and 4 TD and Lilleby with 117 yards and 1 TD.

On defense, the Purple Eagles leading tacklers include Brendan Lebaron with 26, Hughson and Bryce Froman 24, Jahmeek Riley 22, Javon Jones, Jr. Morales and Jabari Johnson 11. Javon Jones also has 5 pass interceptions and Tyler Gibson 4.

The leading tacklers for the Mustangs defensive unit include Hayden Woodroe with 27, Poole 26, Chris Johnson 25, Skinner 22, Josh Wilson 21 and Dominic Larabee 19. Cecchini leads the way in sacks with 7 as Skinner and Arnold each have 5.

The contest, which is part of Medina’s Homecoming week celebration, will also include the induction of the 1980 Section VI championship team onto the Mustangs John “Pinky” Loughlin Football Wall of Fame.