Coming from Gary, Ind., the young men on the Lew Wallace Academy football team probably weren’t too intimidated when their bus pulled into Mendon Friday night. Appearances can be deceiving, and the host team showed its teeth from the outset in a 50-0 drubbing at Schwartz field.
“I thought the difference in the game was we were aggressive on offense and defense and right up front,” head coach John Schwartz said. “That made the difference in the ballgame and I don’t think [Wallace was] ready for that.”
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Mendon, ranked No. 2 in Division 8, improved to 4-0 and has now outscored its opponents 184-13. Wallace (1-2), despite some impressive athleticism pulled from a much larger student-body pool, never stood a chance, finishing with just one first down and 55 yards of total offense after having fallen into a 26-0 first-quarter hole.
Junior quarterback Jordan Medich completed 6 of 9 passing attempts for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and Mendon’s backfield did the rest with 334 yards on 31 carries. After losing junior tailback Mitchell Coler to a knee injury last week, seniors Kaleb McCarroll and Danny Cleveland, and junior Brandon Bray formed an effective committee. McCarroll, moving from tight end, rushed six times for 45 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and added a nine-yard scoring reception from Medich.
Bray led the team with 11 carries for 194 yards and a 35-yard TD and Cleveland surpassed 100 yards on 12 takes for two touchdowns. Senior Robert Riley added a 19-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.
“They all did a nice job,” Schwartz said. “Bray had the most carries, but McCarroll is the new guy we’re trying there. He was impressive. We didn’t give him any carries in the fourth quarter. He starts on defense, so we didn’t want to get him hurt.
“We punted once and in the fourth quarter we tried two field goals. We got one of them (the other was a bad snap from 29 yards). We need to work on them and that was the time to do it.”
From the outside looking in, Mendon has certainly been aggressive through all four games. However, Schwartz sees his squad figuring out new things week-by-week and acting accordingly.
“I think it’s just getting better,” he said. “As they become more confident and know exactly what they’re doing on offense and defense, you become more aggressive. You play faster and run downhill. Right now they’re pretty alert to what their assignments are and what’s going on.”
Junior linebacker Josh Hawkins had 12 tackles, Derek Zagon added a blocked punt to his seven stops and McCarroll, Cleveland, Bray and Christian Adams each finished with five tackles.