Unbeatens to clash for Section VI Class C title as Medina takes on Fredonia Saturday

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 11 November 2021 at 8:59 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Anchoring the Medina lineup going into Saturday’s Class C title contest against Fredonia at Highmark Stadium will be the Mustangs offensive line. That group includes Chris Johnson, Josh Wilson, Colvin Stalker, Zach Oliver and Roosevelt Mitchell. Missing from the photo is Ollie Wilson.

It will be a matchup of two undefeated 10-0 teams as top seed defending champion Medina takes on No. 3 Fredonia in the Section VI Class C championship game at noon Saturday at Highmark Stadium with the victor advancing to the state playoffs.

“Fredonia is a big, physical team,” said Medina Coach Eric Valley. “The y have a big quarterback who can sling the ball all over the field and they are big up front so we will have to play really strong defense.”

Senior quarterback Nick Whitfield, who has thrown for 1,694 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 631 yards and 12 TDs, leads the Fredonia attack.

Senior Matthew Lotter, who has rushed for 1,050 yards and 12 touchdowns, sparks the Hillbillies ground attack while the receiving corps is led by the trio of junior Ethan Fry (35 catches for 488 yards and 8 TD), senior Davon McCall (31 for 412 yards and 3 TD) and senior Simon Davis (19 for 386 yards and 3 TD).

Looking to stymie the Fredonia attack will be the Mustangs defensive unit whose leading tacklers include Noah Skinner (61), Hayden Woodroe (49)’ Joe Cecchini (44), Chris Johnson (43), Iverson Poole (39), Dominic Larabee (32) and Josh Wilson (28).

Cecchini leads the ‘D’ unit with 11 sacks while Skinner and Robert Arnold both have 6, Johnson 4 and Larabee 3.

“As a whole we’ve played pretty well defensively all year,” said Valley, “Now we just have to continue to play solid football. We know there will be a lot of distractions this week but we have to focus on what we have to do each and every play.”

Offensively, Medina is led by quarterback Xander Payne who has passed for 1,368 yards and a school record 21 touchdowns.

Payne has thrown to a balanced receiving corps including Jarin Rhim (31 receptions for 402 yards and 7 TDs), Greg Thompson (16 for 370 yards and 5 TD), Cecchini (19 for 297 yards and 4 TD) and Poole (10 for 177 yards and 4TD).

Poole with 568 yards and 10 touchdowns and Skinner with 565 yards and 7 TDs leads the Mustangs ground attack as Arnold has rushed for 300 yards and 4 TDs and Payne 185 and 4 TDs.

“We have had good balance on offense,” said Valley. “We’ve got a good receiving corps, a tight end who can block and catch and on the ground we’ve used three tailbacks and a fullback. It’s been a pretty good recipe for us.”

Keying the Mustangs offense has been the front line which includes tackles Johnson and Roosevelt Mitchell, guards Josh Wilson, Ollie Wilson and Zack Oliver and center Colvin Stalker.

“Our line changed a lot this season but once they jelled as a group they’ve  been really solid,” said Valley.

Medina advanced to the title contest by defeating Eden 30-4 in the quarterfinals and Lackawanna 32-0 in the semifinals while Fredonia bested Akron 45-6 and Southwestern 28-21.

This will be Medina’s first trip to the finals at the stadium since 1988 when the Mustangs edged rival Albion 14-7. The Mustangs are 3-0 at the stadium having also defeated Silver Creek 20-14 in 1980 and Cassadaga Valley 26-7 in 1982.

This past May Medina did end a 33 year title drought by edging Southwestern 21-13 in the Class C title contest at Vets Park capping a Covid-19 shortened post season.

Fredonia is seeking its first sectional title since 2010 when the Hillbillies nipped Southwestern 12-10.