Jordan Mabin (27) runs for some of his nearly 300 yards in Friday's
game against Olmsted Falls. (Photo by Larry Bennet)
flies, but Bulldogs fall to Nordonia
By Matt Pawlikowski
Published Nov. 15, 2006
In the movie
“The Replacements,” Gene Hackman, who plays coach Jimmy McGintey,
of the Washington Generals is asked at halftime what his team needed
to do to win the ballgame, despite being back against the wall.
His reply was;
Heart, we need heart, as he referred to quarterback Shane Falco.
Pellerite (left ) looks like Rodin’s “The Thinker” after he
ponders his thoughts following Olmsted Falls 23-14 loss to Nordonia.
Friday night Jim Ryan found himself in a similar situation,
and as been the case all season, that heart came via the name Tyler
Falls found itself down 17-0 with 4:17 left until halftime, The
senior signal caller, aka Mr. Excitement, went to work. Faced with
third and seven play, Sparks found Dave Pellerite for a 44 yard
we play, we never give up,’’ said Sparks. “We didn’t give up this
game, we didn’t give up last game, and we ended up winning that
one. It’s just the attitude we have as a team, we don’t give up.”
On the night,
Sparks was 17 of 35 passing for 215 yards. Pellerite was just as
impressive; nabbing six Sparks passes on the night for 114 yards,
but in the end, Falls lost 23-19
That never say
die attitude Sparks spoke about, was evident on the very next series,
as the defense which held Nordonia to just 13 first downs, and 29
yards passing, held the Knights on the next series, pinning them
deep in their own territory.
Zach Boedicker, who was pinned in his end zone, shanked the kick,
and ‘Falls took over in good position.
But unlike against Maple Heights, where they capitalized
on each big play, this time the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize,
as Nordonia stood firm, holding Olmsted Falls to a three and out.
the team didn’t make any adjustments at half. But they sure came
out fired up, and although Nordonia was able to build its lead to
20-17, Nordonia’s Jordan Mabin, who rushed for 273 yards and two
touchdowns, was held to just 70 yards the final two quarters, and
Olmsted Falls led in ball possession.
With 10:20 left
in the fourth quarter, Falls would strike again, sending many of
the 4,500 fans into a frenzy. This time, Sparks needed just 3:06
of the clock, but covered 74 yards. Faced with a third and nine
from midfield, Sparks, as he has been all year, was magical, hitting
Shane Smith down the right sideline for a 47-yard strike.
seemed to be on the Bulldogs side again, when Nordonia was flagged
with a penalty, and the Bulldogs kicking off from the Knights 40
yard line. Many thought an onside kick would be the perfect game
changer, but Bulldog coach Jim Ryan and his staff elected not to
go for it, with good reason.
“Yes, that is
always a consideration, when you get a kickoff from the 45 yard
line,’’ Ryan said. “But with eight and a half minutes left on the
board, we felt our defense was playing well, and if we hold them
in three, they are punting into the wind, and we get the ball back
on the 50 yard line. So we thought there five minutes we would have
Up to that point,
the defense was playing extremely well, and momentum seemed to favor
the Bulldogs, as the only points allowed was a 23 yard field goal.
“We knew they
would be a physical team coming in, but I knew we could move the
ball on them,’’ said Mabin. “So it was getting close for a little
bit, but I wasn’t really worried.”
Mabin may not
have been worried, but he should have been, considering what Omsted
Falls did a year ago to Amherst, despite seeing Alex Knipp rush
for 375 yards against them. His
teammates must have took notice to his confidence, as on the next
series, the Knights converted three first downs, and drove 52 yards
on ten plays to set up the game winning field goal, a 33 yarder.
Even then, there
was not a point where the Bulldog players believed they could not
win the game.
and offense picked it up, and we just played as a team and worked
hard,’ said defensive tackle Addison Sedlay. “We love that team
concept, if one person falls, you pick them up, and that is just
what we do. Like we did last year against Amherst.”
echoed his sentiments.
“It was a ride,’’
said Schlecter. “We didn’t think coming in here that we would be
as good as we were, but we just took it, and we ran with it, and
all great things have to come to an end. We thought we were in it
the whole game, but their team just outplayed us, I personally think.”
finishes its year with a 10-2 slate.
Falls credit, what a scrappy group,” said Nordonia coach Keith Boedicker.
“Coach Ryan does a great job. We knew it was going to be a war,
and it was just that.”