ASHTABULA, OH-The annual matchup between the Lakeside Dragons and Edgewood Warriors has produced some of Ashtabula county’s most thrilling and hard-fought games ever seen and Friday night was no exception. In this year’s rendition of the “Battle for the Bridge,” the Edgewood Warriors would come out on top with a 32-28 victory that would culminate with one last defensive stop at the 1-yard line.
The Warriors started the game in electric fashion with senior Christian Cunningham taking the opening kickoff on a 65-yard house call. The next score would come from the Warriors on a 21-yard pass from Ashtabula county’s leading passer, junior Tony Hall to Christian Cunningham followed by a two-point conversion to junior Jacob Ernst making the game score 14-0 Edgewood. The Lakeside Dragons offense would struggle throughout the first quarter and started the second quarter by throwing an interception caught by Edgewood’s Jacob Ernst. That turnover would develop into another touchdown for the Edgewood Warriors by way of a ten-yard connection between the Warriors Hall and Cunningham and an unsuccessful two-point conversion making the score 20-0. The Dragons would evade disaster after a fumble and pass interference would open the door for the visiting Warriors to potentially take a 4-score lead. The Dragons defense would step up and force a turnover on downs. That series would awaken the Lakeside offense as well and the Dragons rushing attack led by junior QB Alex DiSalvitore and sophomore Nate Bartone and would end in a 10-yard touchdown run by Bartone and two-point conversion to senior Kam Crockett making the new score 20-8. Lakeside would start the second half on fire gouging the Warriors defense for big gains both in the air on the ground resulting in a 12-yard pass from Disalvatore to Lakeside senior Malachi Matlock and an unsuccessful two-point conversion with a new score of 20-14. The Warriors offense would answer right back on the ensuing possession with a 14-yard touchdown pass to junior Logan Kray and unsuccessful two-point conversion for a new score of 26-14. The Lakeside offense would continue to find success on the ground on their next possession in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion run by Bartone and a new score of 26-22. The Edgewood Warriors responded with a 22-yard screen pass from Tony Hall to Jacob Ernst but could not convert the two-point conversion and a new score of 32-26.
Lakeside would not give up, answering with their own touchdown on a 1-yard run by Bartone with an unsuccessful two-point conversion and a new score of 32-28. The games final four minutes would result in some of the most exciting, back and forth, anxiety ridden football any fan could fathom. Lakeside following their score to put them down by just 4 points would get a successful onside kick giving them a chance to take the lead for the first time in the game. Lakeside’s offense would sputter and turn over the ball going four and out and giving the Warriors the ball with 2:37 on the clock.
The Dragons would have one final shot at keeping the Battle of the Bridge trophy after an interception caught by senior Angelo Collazo placed the Dragons on the 30-yard line with just under two minutes on the clock and no timeouts for either team. The final play of the game would come with just 7 seconds on the clock and would end in heartbreaking fashion for the Dragons as the Warriors would stop Lakeside’s Angelo Collazo on the 1-yard line in an ending that was reminiscent of Kevin Dyson’s outstretched hand in Super Bowl 34.
One of the points discussed in the pregame build-up was that in order for Edgewood to come out on top Warriors junior quarterback Tony Hall would have to place his stamp on this rivalry. His 4 touchdowns and 260-yard night did just that. With playoff seeding on the line for both teams for the first time in the rivalries’ history this game was every bit as entertaining as advertised and will serve as motivation for both teams for years to come.
Points are still being divvied and assigned but at the time of this article, it appears both Lakeside and Edgewood will continue their seasons into week 11 with Lakeside most likely traveling to Riverside and Edgewood to play Struthers on the road unless Salem beats West Branch which would result in Edgewood playing Jefferson at Jefferson in a rematch.
Best of luck to both teams on their playoff journey.
*Contributed by YSN/440 and Goal’s Sam Torres