Wadsworth's Barret Labus (4) stiff-arms Stow-Munroe Falls' Jack Costa (25) in the first half of Friday's game at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. Labus scored on the play. (NICK CAMMETT/GAZETTE)
STOW — Wadsworth had to weather more than it expected at Stow on Friday.
The Grizzlies and Bulldogs endured a 68-minute lightning delay in the first quarter, but Wadsworth plowed ahead, with quarterback Trey Shaffer throwing for 308 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-21 Suburban League National Conference win that ended almost four hours after it began.
Wadsworth (5-0, 2-0) coach Justin Todd said the key during the delay was to get his squad to take it easy.
“We had them take their helmets and pads off and told them to relax,” he said. “We knew it was going to be 30 minutes and I saw some consecutive flashes, so I figured it would be a lot more. We talked about refocusing and went over our assignments again.”
Wadsworth was leading 14-7 at the time of the stoppage, with 1:22 left in the first quarter. The Grizzlies came out of the break and went 70 yards in 10 plays on their second series, with Brock Snowball (11 carries, 50 yards) scoring from a yard out for a 21-7 lead. Dom Loparo added another TD run before halftime and Wadsworth led 28-17 and never looked back.
“Our theme this week was discipline,” Todd said. “We’re doing that right now.”
Shaffer went 21-for-32, throwing a
24-yard TD to Barret Labus in the first quarter and a 25-yard score to Tyler Montgomery in the third. Shaffer did not throw a pass in the fourth.
Carson Risher, the leading receiver in the county, added to his haul with six catches for 88 yards.
Defensively, the Grizzlies allowed just 92 yards rushing before the final series of the game. Mason McMillen knocked out Stow (1-4, 1-1) quarterback Josh Andrassy for a time, and Wadsworth picked off a pair of passes.
“Our defense is predicated on speed and we have to attack those plays,” Todd said of the pressure brought to Stow’s quarterbacks.
The Bulldogs began the game with a bang, as senior Brian Cartwright ran the opening kickoff back 51 yards to the Wadsworth 47-yard line. Seven plays later, Bryce Sheppert ran the wildcat option, taking it in from 9 yards out for a 7-0 lead.
The Grizzlies went three-and-out but forced a three-and-out from the Bulldogs. As Stow went back to punt, the snap bounced through the hands of Paulo Gill into the end zone. Gill tried to pick it up, fumbled and Cole McComas recovered for Wadsworth for a touchdown.
After another three-and-out, the Grizzlies took over on their own 37 and needed just four plays to score. Shaffer started with a 39-yard pass down the seam to a wide-open Risher, then finished the drive with a swing pass to Labus, who ran down the sideline and cut in past a defender for a 24-yard score.
Stow drove to midfield on its next series, but just before it was going to punt on fourth-and-10 from the 50-yard line, a lightning delay interrupted action.
After Snowball’s touchdown run, Stow answered back. With Andrassy on the sideline after McMillen’s hit, the Bulldogs went into the wildcat offense and Sheppert drove them down the field. Stow scored from 11 yards out as Sheppert faked a draw and flipped a pass to Jaelen Crider, closing the gap to 21-14.
The Grizzlies marched right back, going 65 yards in 10 plays, with Loparo taking a counter and running over two Stow defenders to find the end zone from 13 yards out.
Stow had one more chance to score in the half, but Chris Miller missed a 27-yard field goal and Wadsworth led 28-14.
The Grizzlies started the second half with a 70-yard drive that capped by a 2-yard Risher run for a 35-14 lead. With Andrassy back in the lineup, Stow drove back and scored on a 22-yard pass to Cartwright. But the Grizzlies went 83 yards on the next series, with Shaffer hitting a wide-open Montgomery for the score.
After Jack Grice returned an interception to the Stow 3, Labus ran in on the next play to cap the scoring.
Contact Chris Freeman at email@example.com.
Wadsworth 48, Stow 21
WADSWORTH 14 14 20 0 — 48
STOW 7 7 7 0 — 21
S — Bryce Sheppert 9 run (Chris Miller kick), 8:56.
W — Cole McComas fumble recovery in end zone (Blake Turano kick), 6:49.
W — Barret Labus 24 pass from Trey Shaffer (Turano kick), 3:42.
W — Brock Snowball 1 run (Turano kick), 7:45.
S — Jaelen Crider 11 pass from Sheppert (Miller kick), 4:48.
W — Dom Loparo 13 run (Turano kick), 0:54.
W — Carson Risher 2 run (Turano kick), 9:06.
S — Brian Cartwright 22 pass from Josh Andrassy (Miller kick), 7:32.
W — Tyler Montgomery 25 pass from Shaffer (Turano kick), 1:46.
W — Labus 3 run (kick failed), 1:17.