General Category => Sports => Topic started by: Richpo64 on November 19, 2007, 08:03:50 PM

Title: Blue Devils are Division I Region II Champions
Post by: Richpo64 on November 19, 2007, 08:03:50 PM

Blue Devils reach state semis
Brad Bournival | Staff Writer Posted: Monday, November 19th, 2007

PARMA ? In the regional finals for the first time since 2004, Brunswick?s football team learned a valuable lesson on Saturday night.

Life can exist without Sean Bedevelsky shredding secondaries and the team can win when game plans get thrown out the window and strategies are created on the fly.

On a night where weather conditions and a strong North Canton Hoover defense kept Bedevelsky under wraps, the Blue Devils found a way to beat the Vikings 24-17 in the Division I, Region 2 final and will play Mentor in the state semifinals this weekend.

Virtually everybody got in on the act for Brunswick (13-0) as a stout defense, big running game and special teams discounted the fact that Hoover kept Bedevelsky (9-of-19, 72 yards) under 100 yards passing for the first time since Week 10 of the 2006 season.

Even role players took the spotlight as seldom-used Chris Scott scored on an 88-yard touchdown run and backup cornerback Andrew Slimak returned a Jared Wackerly interception 91 yards for a score.

?You could see how big that was,? Brunswick defensive end Garrett Mack said. ?Our defense was kicking. We had a heart of gold out there.?

One of the biggest shifts came in the fourth quarter with Brunswick clinging to a seven-point lead and Hoover (10-3) facing second-and-goal on the 1. Running back Phil Howard (95 yards, TD) broke to the outside but was met by Mack and Frank Pistone for a 2-yard loss. Wackerly slipped on third-and-goal and Slimak tipped a ball intended for Kevin Dahl on fourth down.

Using the momentum, Brunswick coach Rich Nowak called an end around and Scott raced down the right sideline to put the Blue Devils up 24-10 with 6:28 remaining.

?Chris is a 100- and 200-meter state finalist,? Nowak said. ?He got the ball and I felt like Forrest Gump. It was like ?Run Chris, run.??

All the lightning-quick Scott needed to do was to get to the edge and he turned on the jets, leaving Hoover defensive back Matt Wakulchik in his wake to afford the Blue Devils a comfortable 14-point cushion.

Scott, who also recovered a blocked punt by Ryan Pokorny in the first quarter, really did prove to be the difference as Wackerly sent the Vikings down the field to close it back to seven with 4:12 remaining, setting up an all-important onside kick.

Special teams stepped into the limelight again as Tyler Ferrell scooped up the line drive. Bedevelsky, who rushed for 135 yards, salted away the rest of the clock with Brunswick closing things out inside the 10.

?All I can say is, it?s awesome,? Bedevelsky said. ?We didn?t do much on offense, but we had the lead. The defense and special teams kept bailing us out. You got the sense that we didn?t need to do much.

?No one thought we could win the conference and now we?re in the Final Four. It shows how hard work pays off.?

Devils fans will now turn their attention to Mentor, which beat Cleveland Glenville on the last play of the Region 1 final Saturday. That means a showdown between Bedevelsky and Mentor quarterback Bart Tanski as Brunswick tries to return to the state finals for the first time since 1995.

?Right now, it?s real exciting to be in the spot where we are,? Nowak said. ?We?re in some rare air.

?All of this is great. (Saturday) proved that football is a team game and that sometimes you have to find a way to win. We did that and now it?s on to Week 14.?

Brunswick plays like ?Winners?

Rick Noland | Assistant Sports Editor Posted: Monday, November 19th, 2007
I don?t remember exactly when or how it came about, but a few years back fellow staff writer Brian Dulik stopped referring to Brunswick?s football team as the Blue Devils and simply started calling them ?Winners.?

Within weeks, impressionable young guns Dan Brown and Albert Grindle had also adopted the phrase as we launched into our Friday night diatribes about the games we had just covered.

?How?d the Winners do tonight?? someone would yell across the office as we worked feverishly to beat deadline.

?Won 35-7,? the person who had covered the game would yell back.

To which Dulik would then ask, ?Why?? and Brown and Grindle would reply, in unison, ?Because they?re Winners.?

The Blue Devils proved that once again Saturday at Byers Field in Parma, defeating North Canton Hoover 24-17 for a Division I, Region 2 championship on a night when their superstars were not at their best.

?Good teams find ways to win,? Brunswick coach Rich Nowak said. ?I think we did that.?

On a night when quarterback Sean Bedevelsky, who had thrown for almost 3,000 yards coming in, managed just 72 through the air and wide receiver Jordan Gribble failed to score a touchdown for the first time all season, the Winners got winning performances from unsung players like Andrew Slimak, Chris Scott, Ryan Pokorny, Ryan Conway, Garrett Mack, Frank Pistone and Tyler Ferrell to reach the state semifinals for the second time in school history.

?The great thing about it is everybody on our team contributed,? said Scott, a 5-foot-11, 160-pounder who ran 88 yards for a touchdown on his first offensive touch of the night to put the Winners up 24-10 with 6:28 to go in the game.

Truth be told, everybody?s been contributing all year for the Winners, but the often sensational numbers put up by Bedevelsky, Gribble and receiver Ben Karaba steal most of the headlines.

At some schools, like, say, Medina, that would lead to parents calling The Gazette and leaving angry voicemail messages because Joey Jr. didn?t get enough credit for that TD pass he caught with the team up 42 in the fourth quarter.

Not at Brunswick. The Winners don?t worry about whose name is in the headline or who gets quoted in the story or who is in the big picture on the front page. All the Winners care about is winning, which is why they have six straight conference championships and seven straight playoff berths.

?It?s a ?W,?? an elated Gribble said after recording a paltry two catches for 22 yards against Hoover. ?I?ll take a win over seven touchdown passes in a game any day.?

Lots of players say that. At Brunswick, they mean it. That, along with a wealth of talent and great coaching, is why the Winners will meet Mentor in a state semifinal game Saturday at 7 p.m. at Byers Field.

?We always have a chance to win if everyone steps up and does their job,? Slimak said. ?That?s what we did tonight.?

It was Slimak, playing cornerback due to an injury to Rick Manco, who returned an interception 91 yards for Brunswick?s first touchdown of the game. It was Slimak who in the fourth quarter deflected a Jared Wickerly pass on fourth-and-goal from the Brunswick 10, which is why Hoover?s Kevin Dahl eventually caught the ball well out of bounds.

It was Mack and Pistone who, just two players earlier, stuffed Phil Howard for a 2-yard loss on second-and-goal from the Brunswick 1.

It was Pokorny who blocked a punt to give the Winners possession at the Hoover 21, leading to Brunswick?s second TD of the night and a 14-0 lead.

It was Conway, a 6-foot, 210-pound sophomore, who recovered a Vikings fumble while making several other big plays from his defensive tackle spot.

It was those guys and numerous others who helped the Winners keep winning on a night when their stars weren?t at their best.

?It?s rewarding to win in the 13th game of the season,? Nowak said. ?Whenever you are faced with a challenge, you?ve got to figure out a way to do it. Our kids could have easily gone in the dumper, but they came to play.

?Our guys are,? all together now, ?Winners.?

Title: Re: Blue Devils are Division I Region II Champions
Post by: Henny on November 19, 2007, 11:01:59 PM
Congratulations, Rich. It looks like your son who was previously an "unsung player" certainly did a great job this past weekend!
Title: Re: Blue Devils are Division I Region II Champions
Post by: Richpo64 on November 20, 2007, 12:45:56 AM
Thanks Henny.

He's the starting right offensive tackle, which means he labors in anonymity. He's getting some attention from a few colleges.

Two games away from the State Title.
Title: Re: Blue Devils are Division I Region II Champions
Post by: Henny on November 20, 2007, 08:03:01 AM
Thanks Henny.

He's the starting right offensive tackle, which means he labors in anonymity. He's getting some attention from a few colleges.

Two games away from the State Title.

A potential scholarship - even better!