BRUNSWICK — Good vibes from a two-game winning streak are one thing. Beating up a backyard rival at its house is another.
With a hard-hitting defense harassing multiple quarterbacks and a five-wide, chuck-n-duck offense doing just enough to put points on the board Friday, Medina’s football team took a three-score lead before holding on to defeat Brunswick 20-7 and break a tie for sixth place in the Greater Cleveland Conference.
The Bees (4-5, 2-4) have defeated the Blue Devils (1-8, 1-5) in consecutive road games for the first time since 1974. They won the last meeting at Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium 41-7 in 2016.
“It feels really good,” said defensive tackle Daniel Kasmarcak, who had two tackles for loss and a pass breakup. “You know, it’s the last game against Brunswick as a senior, so it feels really good to come to their home field and really dominate tonight.”
The Medina offense had issues finishing drives but put up big passing numbers by using an empty backfield on 45-of-48 plays. A defense led by Kasmarcak, pass-rushing monster Noah Nunn, hard-hitting linebacker Nathan Spatny and ball-hawking safety Ethan Johnson made sure to crush any hopes of a comeback bid.
Appearing to be in complete control up 20-0 early in the third quarter, the Bees let off the gas for the only time all night and promptly gave up a scoring drive that ended with a 5-yard run by Rob Woznicki (11 carries, 52 yards).
Brunswick then recovered a surprise dribbler of an onside kick.
That was really the last gasp for the Blue Devils, as Medina locked in. Brunswick failed to convert its final six third downs, finished with 41 carries for 94 yards and saw four passers combine to go just 11-for-27 for 91 yards.
“We came out and had a game plan ready to go,” said Kasmarcak, whose team caught Brunswick off-guard by using a four-man line for the first time. “We kind of just adapted to what they were doing.”
“If we clean some things up, we’ll have success,” Brunswick coach Mark Pinzone said. “When we don’t, we just can’t overcome that.”
Medina scored conventionally only on a 2-yard quarterback draw by Ryan Fischer. The other TDs came on a 71-yard interception return by Johnson — Spatny drilled QB Jonah Clement to force a lame-duck throw — and when Chris Kelly took a jet sweep and threw back left to Fischer for a 4-yarder. Both took place in the second quarter.
Fischer had completion streaks of 12 for 246 yards and seven for 72 and finished 28-for-38 for 318 yards, the second-highest total in school history. Kelly had the second-most receiving yards in Medina lore (151) on six catches, while Luke Hensley (3 catches, 63 yards), Nick Chester (8, 51 yards) and Kaedin Andrasik (5, 45) also stood out.
Including a QB knee and two last-minute attempts using a running back, Medina finished with eight carries for minus-10 yards despite only taking one thunderous sack, from built-like-a-man sophomore Tomas Rimac. The Bees also failed on fourth downs from the Brunswick 7, 23 and 45, with the latter two coming in the fourth quarter.
“It’s more opportunities to make plays,” Kelly said. “We have a lot of playmakers, and we have ‘Fish,’ who can really throw the ball, too.”
Though playing struggling opponents has helped, Medina is in position to grab some momentum heading into the offseason. The finale is at Kenneth Dukes Stadium against first-place Solon.
“It feels great,” Kelly said. “I knew we’d turn it around, and beating a rival like Brunswick is something special. It’s a good memory we’ll always have.”
Medina 20, Brunswick 7
MEDINA 0 13 7 0 — 20
BRUNSWICK 0 0 7 0 — 7
M — Ryan Fischer 4 pass from Chris Kelly (Jake Vogrin kick), 5:04.
M — Ethan Johnson 71 interception return (run failed), 2:27.
M — Fischer 2 run (Vogrin kick), 9:01.
B — Rob Woznicki 5 run (Justin Hagler kick), 4:23.