LAKEWOOD, Ohio - In a night marked by defensive prowess and a relentless ground game, the number 1 seed St. Edward Eagles delivered a resounding statement with a 35-0 shutout against the 8-seed Canton Glenoak Eagles in the Division 1, Region 1 quarterfinals. The contest, while chippy and fraught with penalties, saw the Eagles overcome early miscues to cement their status as the team to beat.
The evening was not without its foibles for St. Edward, as senior wide receiver and Akron commit Kyan Manson coughed up the ball on their own seven-yard line early in the game. The second quarter saw further potential for Glenoak's offense to claw back into the game when the Eagles' defense prematurely crossed the line of scrimmage, an offsides penalty that momentarily breathed life into the underdogs' sails.
However, it was Sophomore running back Brandon “BDub” White who stole the show, amassing a stellar 139(124 rushing yards on 24 carries) total yards and crossing the goal line four times, showing why Coach Lombardo entrusted him at the teams bellcow back.
"The line did their thing today as usual. I couldn't ask for a better line blocking for me. From the beginning when I wasn't starting, Ben (Roebuck) told me take advantage of every opportunity I get. I've been having that advice in my head and whenever I get in I don't take any snap for granted," White said postgame.
White's touchdowns included a 15-yard reception from junior backup quarterback Thomas Csanyi, who stepped up in the absence of the injured starting quarterback Casey Bullock.
Csanyi, casting off the shadows of a less-than-stellar performance against Massillon, found a rhythm with his receivers, particularly Mason, fellow senior Brian Sullivan, and sophomore wide receiver Zack Hackleman.
The game wasn't without its fireworks; following Mason's explosive second catch over Glenoak's Isaiah Thomas, tempers flared leading to a fracas that delayed the game and resulted in a flurry of penalties, mostly to Glenoak's detriment.
St. Edward's channeled their inner Michael Jordan and took the skirism personal. Their defense defense, otherwise, was impermeable, staunchly denying first downs and pass completions with an iron will. Senior's Loghan Thomas and Nate Gregory found their way to GlenOak quarterback Adrion Burt for two of the teams four sacks on the day.
And while White danced in the end zone multiple times, he wasn't alone. Senior back Joshua Groudle put the exclamation point on the victory with a 9-yard touchdown run as the third quarter waned following a 50-yard punt return from junior defensive back Nick "The Quick" Variglotti.
GlenOak had some last hope of ruining the shut out with less than a minute left in the contest at the Eagles 1-yard line. The next two plays the Notre Dame commit in Thomas showed why he's indeed one of the best edge defenders in the state creating negative plays for the GlenOak offense to end the game.
This shutout serves not just as a victory but as a statement—the Eagles are a force to be reckoned with on their playoff flight path with a chance to three-peat a Division 1 champs for the first time in school history.
Looking forward, the Eagles (11-1) set their sights on a rematch against the Canton McKinley Bulldogs (9-3) from the 2021-2022 playoffs which the Eagles won 42-0. It's "show up or go home" as Loghan Thomas said postgame. The particulars of time and place to be determined.