By Sean Duffy
Medina, OH– It is playoff time in Northeast Ohio, the teams have secured a postseason berth now look to take the next step on their quest towards a state championship. It is time for coaches and players to focus in on the mantra of the late great Al Davis and just win baby. Our game of the week is a match up in Division III Region 9 between the #8 seed Tallmadge Blue Devils (7-3) out of the Suburban League American Division, and the #2 seed Buckeye Bucks (10-0) champions of Stars Division in the Patriot Athletic League. The contest pitted two teams predicated on running the ball and controlling the clock, and hard hitting defenses that have not given up much in the way of points all year. It was sure to be a great game in Medina County on a cold November Friday Night.
Tallmadge was first to get on the board as they started their opening drive from their 15 yd line. The Blue Devil offense has been led all year by Senior running back Ty Shannon, and it was clear from the outset of this game that Shannon would continue to be the focal point. The Blue Devils marched 85 yards and scored on a three yard touchdown run by Ty Shannon. Tallmadge was out to a 7-0 lead halfway through the 1st quarter. Buckeye’s first offensive possession started on their own 36 yd line but stalled at the Tallmadge 43 yd line, forcing a Bucks punt. Great defense has been a calling card all year for the Bucks, the crowd, most importantly Tallmadge was reminded of that as the Buckeye defense forced a Blue Devils three and out on their next offensive possession. The first quarter ended with Tallmadge leading 7-0, But Buckeye was driving.
The Bucks offense has been led by their outstanding Senior QB Adam Fauver. It was Fauver’s legs that got the bucks on the board thanks to a 5 yd TD run, a blocked extra point resulted in Tallmadge holding a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter. After each team traded punts, Tallmadge got back on track thanks to their workhorse running back Ty Shannon, gaining 60 of the 69 yds on the scoring drive. Shannon’s 1 yd TD plunge gave the Blue Devils a 14-6 Lead with 2:47 Left in the half. Buckeye RB Justin Canedy would fumble the ball ball deep in Buckeye territory late in the half, setting Tallmadge up with an opportunity to extend their lead going into halftime. The Buckeye defense again showed up with a great effort forcing a turnover on downs. At the half Tallmadge led 14-6.
Buckeye got the ball to start the second half and marched 80 yards down the field, again led by Fauver who’s 28 yd run and 15 yd pass to Junior WR Anthony Watkins got the ball in the red zone for the Bucks. Fauver would score his second rushing TD of the night again from 5 yds out, a successful 2 pt conversion would make the score 14-14 early in the 3rd quarter. Buckeye’s defense forced Tallmadge to punt on its first offensive possession of the second half. Buckeye again was marching towards the end zone, getting all the way down to the Tallmadge 24 yd line. The Blue Devils defense allowed the Bucks to proceed no further as they stopped the bucks on 4th down as the 3rd Quarter ended all tied 14-14.
Tallmadge took over on their own 24 yd line to start the 4th quarter. Buckeye’s defense was able to force a 4th and 7, but Tallmadge was able to extend the drive thanks to a successful fake punt. Ty Shannon would haunt the Bucks Defense once again, ripping off a fantastic 72 yd run only to be stopped 4 yds from the end zone. Shannon would score on the next play and Tallmadge took a 21-14 lead with 10:26 left in the game. The blue devils would add another TD to put the game out of reach, a 1 yd TD plunge from FB Mike Yamokoski, 27-14. The Bucks attempt and scoring quickly was thwarted thanks to another fumble from Justin Canedy. #7 Tallmadge upsets #2 Buckeye 27-14.
Buckeye’s season ends with yet another opening round playoff loss, the bucks have yet to win a playoff game. The bucks end the season 10-1, and were led by senior QB Adam Fauver’s 2 TDs.
Tallmadge was led by player of the game Ty Shannon’s 3 rushing TDs, and over 200 yds of offense. The Blue Devils move on to the Division III Region 9 semifinals where they will travel to take on St Vincent-St Mary.
Congratulations to both teams on a well played game!