POLAND, Ohio –
Sophomore quarterback, Jackson Johnson, and the Salem offense needed no time at all to get going against what has been regarded as one of the top defenses in the area. In less than 4 minutes, Johnson had his first touchdown pass of the game to junior receiver, Blaize Exline.
The offense showed it was alive and the defense fed off their enthusiasm, forcing the Bulldogs to go three and out on their first drive of the game. Following a pair of drives that would stall out, Salem would get the ball back on their own 3-yard line.
Despite having their backs against the wall, the Quakers still looked to be aggressive. In under 3 minutes, Salem was able to go 97 yards and extend their lead to 14, thanks to a great catch and run from junior receiver, Austin Sinkovich.
Up two scores on the defending Region 13 winner, Salem reached into their bag of tricks and pulled out an onside kick. The Quakes would recover, and had the Bulldogs on the ropes, and just 39 seconds later, Salem was holding a 21-0 lead, curtesy of Johnson’s third touchdown pass of the half.
Dazed and confused from the Quakers right hook, Coach Ryan Williams threw a wrinkle in hisBulldogs offense. Taking over at quarterback would be 6 foot 1, 220-pound fullback, Christian Colosimo. With Colosimo at the helm in their wildcat formation, Poland was methodically marching down the field until Colosimo took the air out of the stadium with a 57-yard bomb to senior Andrew Centofani, closing the Salem lead to just 15.
After a pair of stops from both defenses, Salem would take over in their own territory with a little over a minute remaining in the half. Trying to keep their aggressiveness, Salem took Johnson on a designed quarterback run on the first play of the drive, but a great tackle by Poland’s Peyton Mrakovich knocked the ball loose and allowed the Bulldogs to take over in Salem territory.
Looking to take all the momentum into the locker room, Poland would go for it on 4th and goal from the Salem 2-yard line, but Colosimo would lose control of the ball diving across the goal line, leaving the score at 21-6 going into the half.
Although their attempt to close the lead to one score heading into the locker room was unsuccessful, Poland picked up right where they had left off in the second half of work. The Bulldogs took 4 minutes and 50 seconds off the clock with their first drive of the second half. Great runs by junior quarterback, Jack Fulton,highlighted the Poland drive that was eventually capped by a 7-yard touchdown run from Mrakovich, a failed two-point conversion left the score at 21-12.
With the offense coming into its own, the Bulldog defense made sure they wouldn’t be left behind, keeping the Quakers out of the endzone and giving their offense the ball back. After a huge run by Fulton into Quaker territory, the Bulldogs would close the gap even more with Colosimo’s second touchdown of the night, this time from 11 yards out on the ground.
After another failed Quaker drive, Poland would get the ball back in their own territory with under 8 minutes remaining. Trailing by a field goal, the Poland offense went to work. An end around run by Andrew Centofanti got the Bulldogs into Salem territory, then impressive runs by Colosimo and Fulton had the Bulldogs into the endzone for their 24th unanswered point of the night.
Salem’s final drive of the night spelt more of the same for the Quakes. Poland had weathered the Quaker storm early, and made some key adjustments coming out of the half to get in the face of and contain the Salem dual-threat quarterback.
Poland: The Bulldogs will play host to the Chagrin Falls Tigers (5-2), who were automatically advanced into the next round following a forced cancellation from Field.
Salem: Though there is no game scheduled for next week as of now, the Quakers still have matchups against East Liverpool (4-4) and United (5-2) in the coming weeks.
*Contributed By YSN’s Jamie Thomson