By: Josh Jeffi
After a scary Halloween weather wise, the weather for week 10 in High School Football was perfect for our Game of the Week that featured the Brecksville-Broadview Hts. Bees taking on the Wadsworth Grizzlies at Art Wright Stadium. The sky was clear. The temperature at kickoff was 36 degrees. The game had a playoff feel from the beginning.
Wadsworth, who came into the game with a record of 7-2, 5-1 in the Suburban League, won the opening toss a deferred to the second half. The Bees were forced to punt on their opening drive, while the Grizzlies Failed to convert on 4th down and turned the ball over. The Bees began their second drive on their own 28 with 4:56 left in the first quarter. They marched down the field until QB Joe Labas found Ronny Wilson from 32 yards yo make it 7-0 with 1:54 left in the quarter.
The Grizzlies answer back with 14 seconds left in the quarter when QB Trey Shaffer found WR Mitch Evans deep from 45 yards out to tie the game at 7.
Midway through the second quarter, the Grizzlies took the lead 14-7 on another long passing TD from Shaffer.
This time he found WR Barret Labus from 51 yards. The Bees answered quickly when Labas hit WR Jeremy Jonozzo on a nice pass and catch down to the two yard. From there, RB Garrett Kubitz hammered in the Bees touchdown once again tying the game at 14. The score would remain 14-14 going into the half.
As they did to start the game, both team were held without points on their first drives of the second half. Both teams remained scoreless throughout the third quarter. The Bees could not convert on fourth down to start the 4th quarter. On the next play, Grizzlies RB Dom Loparo scored on a 90 yard touchdown run to make the score 21-14. On their next possession, the Bees would once again march down the field. The connection of Labas and Wilson would strike again, this time from 26 yards, tying the game at 21 with 7:37 left in the game.
As the game continued, the playoff feeling in the stadium and with the teams increased. On their next 4th quarter possession, Shaffer would lead the Grizzlies to the goal line where one again, Loparo would find the end zone from a yard out. After the extra point, the Grizzlies had the touchdown advantage 28-21.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ronny Wilson came up huge has he returned the kickoff 63 yards for a game tying touchdown with 5:41 left in the game.
The Grizzlies began the next drive at midfield. After a first down, Shaffer confused the Bees defense with a masterful play action fake and found Loparo for a 40 yard touchdown pass to put the Grizzlies up 35-28 with 3:53 left in the game.
The Bees, still very composed, were able to get in Grizzly territory behind the sold running of Kubitz. Labas was then able to sell the run and for the third time in the game, he found Ronny Wilson from 28 yards out for the touchdown with 1:15 left in the game. Instead of going for the game tying field goal, Bees Coach Martin Poder decided to go for the win, however the Grizzlies were able to wrap up Kubitz on the 1 yard line denying the two point conversion.
The Bees had a small ray of hope when the Grizzlies fumbled the ball on a QB/RB exchange with 24 seconds left on the clock. Fortunately for Wadsworth, they were able to recover but were forced to punt. The last chance for the Bees came with 5 seconds left. As Labas step back to find a WR and throw, Senior LB Jack Grice was able to sack Labas to end the game for the Grizzlies 35-34 and win a share of the Suburban League Conference Championship.
The Bees were led by QB Joe Labas. He was 23-29 for 255 yards and 3 TD’s. Ronny Wilson had 4 of the 5 Bee touchdowns including a kickoff return and 105 yards receiving. Garrett Kubitz led the Bees gorund attack with 100 yards rushing on 21 attempts and a touchdown.
Dom Loparo was the main man for the Grizzlies. He racked up 40 yards in the air, 231 yards on the ground and had 2 touchdowns. Barrett Labas and Mitch Evans also added TD receptions of 51 and 45 yards respectively.
Both teams, again, clinched a share of the Suburban League Champions. Wadsworth finishes the season with an 8-2 overall record, 6-1 in conference while the Bees finished with a 7-3 overall record, 6-1 in conference. Both teams now must wait to see who they will play in week one of the High School Football State Playoffs, as they begin next weekend.