Wadsworth's Mitchell Blackburn scores a touchdown over Twinsburg's Gilbert Campbell during the second quarter. (RON SCHWANE / GAZETTE)
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WADSWORTH — The Wadsworth football team celebrated homecoming Friday night with a resounding 54-20 victory over Twinsburg.
While Wadsworth (8-0, 5-0) has been led by an offensive attack that has scored more than 50 points six times, the defense made the plays that turned this Suburban League National Conference game.
“We’ve got to peak. We are at that point of the season where everything’s got to be perfect,” said Wadsworth coach Justin Todd, whose team can clinch a share of the conference title next week against Brecksville. “That’s our objective. We’ve got some things to work on.”
With the Grizzlies holding a 20-7 lead midway through the second quarter, Twinsburg (3-5, 1-4) bombed a 59-yard punt that died at the 4-yard line. Wadsworth drove 92 yards in just over three minutes, but the Tigers made a stand when they stripped junior running back Brock Snowball on the 4-yard line and recovered.
The Grizzlies immediately responded, as sophomore defensive back Jacob Herbert recovered a fumble on the 3. Sophomore running back Dominic Loparo dove into the end zone on the next play and, after a two-point conversion on a pass from Joey Baughman to wide receiver Christian Szalay, Wadsworth held a 28-7 lead.
After the kickoff, junior defensive back Ryan Salzgerber intercepted Adam Van de Motter on the first play of the drive. Baughman hit Snowball on a screen pass, and the elusive back weaved through the defense for his second touchdown, this one a 44-yarder.
“(Getting turnovers) was huge tonight, it really was,” Todd said. “We thought that was key tonight, because they had shown a tendency to turn the ball over a little bit.”
Wadsworth took the 34-7 advantage into halftime. After a long kickoff return by Szalay, the Grizzlies had the ball at the Tiger 38-yard line. Less than two minutes later, Baughman hit senior wide receiver Mitchell Blackburn for his fifth and final touchdown pass of the evening and Blackburn’s second score.
(Our receivers) are freaking awesome,” Baughman said. “I love throwing to those guys. They are always open.”
Twinsburg took the ball with a 40-7 deficit and a running clock with more than nine minutes left. The Tigers methodically moved the ball down the field on a 79-yard touchdown drive that took nearly all the remaining time in the third quarter. With five seconds left, Van de Motter found receiver Tre Radwell for a 10-yard touchdown.
The two teams traded scores again to start the fourth quarter, as Baughman scored on a 24-yard run on his final drive and senior quarterback Seth Grabowski found senior Christian Edgerson for the final score for Twinsburg.
Sophomore backup quarterback Trey Shaffer hit senior receiver Nate Schickler for the Grizzlies to cap the scoring.
On Wadsworth’s first drive of the game, the Tigers stripped the football from Baughman, setting up a scoring drive that gave Twinsburg a 7-0 lead on a pass from Grabowski to Radford.
Baughman responded with touchdown passes to Snowball, Grant Martinez and Blackburn for a 20-7 lead. The pass to Blackburn, a 47-yard strike, made Baughman the ninth quarterback in Medina County history to throw for 2,000 yards in a season.
Contact John Urchek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wadsworth 54, Twinsburg 20
TWINSBURG 7 0 7 6 — 20
WADSWORTH 14 20 6 14 — 54
T — Tre Radford 25 pass from Seth Grabowski (Brandon Callow kick), 6:13.
W — Brock Snowball 26 pass from Joey Baughman (kick blocked), 5:17.
W — Grant Martinez 14 pass from Baughman (Szalay pass from Baughman), 0:51.
W — Mitchell Blackburn 47 pass from Baughman (kick blocked), 9:58.
W — Dominic Loparo 3 run (Szalay pass from Baughman), 3:52.
W — Snowball 44 pass from Baughman (pass failed), 3:42.
W — Blackburn 6 pass from Baughman (pass failed), 10:18.
T — Radford 10 pass from Adam Van de Motter (Callow kick), 0:05.
W — Baughman 24 run (Ryan Larj kick), 9:35
T — Christian Edgerson 19 pass from Grabowski (kick blocked), 6:00.
W — Nate Schickler 23 pass from Trey Shaffer (Larj kick), 3:17.