By Sean Duffy
Berea, OH- It is the beginning of the High School Football season in Northeast Ohio. Under normal circumstances I would be waxing poetic about the possibilities of the upcoming season. Unfortunately, it is 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic has forced high school athletics to adjust to a “new normal” when it comes to the actual playing of the games. It is now a shortened regular season for high school football, everyone makes the playoffs, and schedule is essentially only good on a week to week basis. Such is the case for our game of the week, Berea-Midpark had to scramble to find an opponent for a week one after their original opponent North Olmsted had to cancel due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Luckily, Ashland was able to step in and travel to Berea to face the Titans. Throw in a lightning delay and a constant rain and it was clear that the 2020 season got off to an auspicious start. Our Game of the week features a last minute match up between the Ashland Arrows and the Berea-Midpark Titans
Ashland opened the contest with an impressive opening drive getting down deep into Titan territory. however a stellar defensive effort by the Titans kept the Arrows out of the end zone and forced a missed field goal. The weather conditions, coupled with early seasons sloppiness led to a scoreless 1st quarter for both teams.
Titans would get on the board first thanks to a 9 yd touchdown run by QB Luke Devins, a failed 2 pt conversion made the score 6-0 in favor of the Titans wit 7:50 remaining in the half. Berea-Midpark would intercept Ashland QB Declan Rohr on the next series and that would lead to a 15 yd TD pass from Devins to WR Cameron Cupach, another failed 2pt, now the Titans led 12-0 with 5:05 remaing in the half. Ashland score on their next possession thanks to a 4 yd TD run by QB Ethan Hartley, a missed extra point made the score 12-6 with 1:40 left in the half. Berea- Midpark looked to run the ball and the clock out to the half, but a a fumble and Arrow Recovery led to another Ashland touchdown, this a 2 yd QB run by Declan Rohr, the made extra point made the halftime score 13-12 in favor of the visiting Arrows.
Much like the opening quarter of the game , the third quarter saw sloppy play and penalties for both teams. each team had opportunities to score in the third quarter, but solid defensive play and unfortunate mistakes in execution led to a scoreless 3rd quarter. Heading into the final quarter Ashland still led 13-12.
Ashland was able stop the Titans on 4th down to open the final quarter of the game. Arrows were able to put together a scoring drive that utilized the tough running by Ethan Hartley, Ashland would find the end zone on a 31 yd throw and catch from Declan Rohr to WR Landon McFredrick. A missed extra point made the score 19-12 with 9:01 left in the game. The Titans would answer on the next drive thanks in large part to a great passing attack, a converted 4th down (their only one of the night) , and absolutely fantastic touchdown 19 yd touchdown catch from Luke Devins to WR Jack Arnold. unfortunately Berea-Midpark could not convert the 2 pt conversion, Ashland held a 19-18 lead with 7:22 remaining in the game.
Ashland would fumble on their next drive while attempting to chew the clock with Hartley running the ball. Berea would take over on their own 23 yard line. Unfortunately, the Titans would again find themselves the victim of their own self inflicted wounds: an offensive pass interference call negated a huge gain, a sack on the very next play, and another failed 4th down conversion allowed Ashland to salt away the game to a 19-18 week 1 road victory over Berea Midpark.
The Titans fall to 0-1 on the season and 0-0 in the SWC, they will look to rebound in week 2 against Avon Lake.
Ashland ed by co players of the game QB Declan Rohr who had a rushing and a passing TD, and RB Ethan Hartley who had 1 rushing TD. The Arrows will face Mount Vernon at home in week 2
High School Football is back….sort of….so long from Berea