Medina, OH- In the second round of the OHSAA playoffs the Medina Battling Bees (10-1) took on the Wadsworth Grizzlies (7-4) at home in Ken Dukes Stadium. This game was a week 3 rematch in which the Battling Bees won 45-35. Wadsworth was without starting senior QB Luke Fischer in that game. In this battle both teams were near full strength, with Medina’s offense running full steam ahead with one of the nation’s leading high school passers in junior QB Dan Stoddard. In addition the Battling Bees have a three headed monster at wide receiver/defensive back between juniors Jack Wojciak, Austin Knowles, and senior Brennen Schramm. Wadsworth was hoping to keep the offensive juggernaut that is Medina at bay behind a stellar defensive line, and get the offense running going at full power with QB Luke Fischer, junior RB Kyle Figuray, and junior ATH/WR Will Stack, who is a jack of all trades, and able to play almost anywhere on the field, even filling in at QB while Fischer recovered from his injury earlier in the season.
The name of the game on Friday was penalties. Both teams racked up an unbelievable amount of penalties. For Medina it was holding penalties that were getting in there way, as Wadsworth was able to put Dan Stoddard under pressure for most of the night. For the Grizzlies it was pass interference penalties that hurt them the most consistently giving the Battling Bees good field position.
Medina was the first to receive the ball and both teams where off and running as the pace of the game was nothing new for either team as the points were coming in bunches in the first half. Medina’s Stoddard rushed for a 2 yard touchdown and connected with WR Jack Wojciak on a 41 yard connection, while Wadsworth RB Kyle Figuray scored on a 10 yard scamper. At the end of the first quarter Medina held the lead 14-7.
Medina was threatening to bust the game open in the second quarter after Stoddard found WR Brennen Schramm in the endzone and took a 21-7 lead. The Grizzlies would not go down without a fight as RB Kyle Figuray had two touchdown runs of 22 and 28 yards. Stoddard connected with Brennen Schramm again for a 48 yard score. Medina WR/DB’s Jack Wojciak and Austin Knowles also had an interception each in the quarter. The half ended with the Battling Bees still holding the lead 28-21.
That lead would evaporate on the first drive of the second half as Wadsworth methodically drove down the field and capped off the scoring drive on a 2 yard score by RB Kyle Figuray. His fourth of the game tying it up at 28-28. Medina decided to do the exact same thing and drove down the field taking time off the clock and finishing the drive with Dan Stoddard finding Jack Wojciak in the endzone again for 6 yard touchdown and regaining the lead 35-28.
The fourth quarter was filled with drama as Wadsworth tied up the game again on a 2 yard rushing score by QB Luke Fischer. After a big time sack by Grizzlies senior DE Coen Grimm, Medina was forced to punt. That was the first punt of the game, as both teams were going for it on fourth down all game long. Wadsworth was finally in a position to try and take the lead, but Medina’s defense dug in and forced a punt of their own. Medina would not waste this opportunity as Dan Stoddard ran in a 1 yard touchdown with 2:33 left in the game breaking the tie and giving the Battling Bee’s a one score lead. 42-35. WR/DB Brennan Schramm intercepted a pass on the next drive after it was tipped in the air and all but sealed the win for Medina. After a few penalties that saw a player from Wadsworth get ejected from the game, Stoddard again ran in a 2 yard touchdown putting an exclamation point on the win as the Battling Bee’s defeated the Grizzlies in a thrilling game, 49-35.
Dan Stoddard had another great game as he passed for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, while also rushing for 3 scores. All three of Medina’s star WR/DB’s in Wojciak, Knowles, and Schramm had great performances in the receiving game, and each intercepted a pass as well.
Wadsworth left it all on the field as their defensive line put pressure on Stoddard all game long. QB Jake Fischer ended the night 29/41 for 285 yards passing and a rushing TD. RB Kyle Figuray had as good of a game as you could have rushing for 183 yards and 4 scores.
After the game Medina Coach Larry Laird talked to his team. As the energy was still high from a great win. When asked about how good his receiving core is he had this to say.
“It let’s us do some different things like going for it on fourth and eleven on our own forty. Honestly they are very dynamic and very coachable.” I asked how big was it for the defense to show up in the second half. “I thought they came up huge in the third and fourth quarter for us. We had a misfire on one of our drives that we don’t usually do and our defense picked us up.”
In addition Coach Laird gave praise to Wadsworth.
“Wadsworth’s a really good football team and we beat a really good team. They brought their best effort and I thought our guys brought their best effort and what a great high school football game.”
Next week Medina will face off for the second time this year against the Mentor Cardinals whom they beat 52-38 in a shootout in Medina. This upcoming game will be at a neutral site as of now TBD.
This game recap is brought to you by Medina Auto Mall!