The Edgewood Warriors will have a second crack at putting together a winning streak this season Friday night when they journey to Thompson to take on the Ledgemont Redskins at R.W. Sidley Field.
Fresh off a big 53-23 triumph against visiting Pymatuning Valley last week, coach Dom Iarocci’s Warriors (2-2) will look to get past the .500 mark. To do so, they will need to avenge a 49-12 beatdown handed to them by the Redskins — who defeated visiting Conneaut, 43-20, for its first win of the season in four games last week — a year ago at Corlew Stadium, something that remains fresh in the mind of Iarocci.
“Ledgemont beat us up pretty good last year, so I have been emphasizing that all week that they put 49 points on the board against us last year,” he said. “Our mission is to go down there and to continue to play the kind of football we have been playing.”
That kind of football certainly worked to the Warriors’ advantage a week ago as led by Riis Smith, Edgewood blew past PV.
Smith had 204 yards rushing on 18 carries and scored five touchdowns on runs of 57, 8, 45, 27 and 5 yards.
“Riis was pretty outstanding,” Iarocci said. “Anytime you carry the ball 18 times for 204 yards and have five touchdowns, that’s about as exceptional as it gets.
“His touchdown runs of 57 yards, 45 yards and 17 yards were good, but I thought his two touchdown runs of 8 and 5 yards were just unbelievable efforts. He also made a great catch at the end of the half, which set up our fourth touchdown with only two seconds left on the clock.”
Smith was ably supported by Dylan McCaleb’s 117 yards rushing on 13 carries and quarterback Louie Wisnyai’s solid night, which included an extremely efficient 13-of-18 passing effort for 130 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions and four carries for 36 yards on the ground.
Iarocci was pleased with his offense as whole, starting up front.
“Our offense pretty much had its way,” he said. “The offensive line just did a outstanding job blocking and our backs ran extremely hard.
“We played the type of football that I have been preaching for many years — hard nosed, come at you, power football.
“I thought (Wisnyai) did an outstanding job executing the game plan and staying within himself.”
Defensively, lineman Matt Fitchet continued to cause havoc and linebacker Anthonie Magda had 10 tackles. The Warriors were without standout lineman Alex Spangler (shoulder), who is listed as doubtful for this week.
“Matt Fitchet is one of the most outstanding offensive and defensive linemen I’ve seen in a long time,” Iarocci said. “It seems like he’s in the backfield almost all the time on defense.”
Now, the attention turns to Ledgemont. Coach Joe LaRosa’s Redskins (1-3) were hammered by graduation, especially in the form of stud tailback Danny LaRosa, who ran for 203 yards on 21 carries and scored four touchdowns in the win at Edgewood last fall, Ledgemont’s first win in the series in five all-time meetings. The Redskins led that game, 35-0, after three quarters.
Iarocci says nothing will be taken for granted even though Danny LaRosa has graduated. Ledgemont has been to the Division VI playoffs in each of the last two seasons, running the table in the regular season a year ago.
The Redskins run an offset I, a pro I and out of an empty-backfield set on offense and use a 4-3 on defense.
“They have some very good athletes,” Iarocci said. “The running backs who impress me are Kyle LaRosa (Danny’s younger brother), Mike McKeon and Derek Lang. Their receivers, Anthony Jennings, and Josh Loveland, are both pretty good and their quarterback, Kyle Degener, is a big, tall kid who was 8 for 18 for 162 yards against Conneaut. He also was the starter on last year’s team that went 10 and 0 and made it to the playoffs.”
Iarocci said attention to detail is being stressed this week.
“They definitely have some people who we have to pay attention to,” he said.
The coach is aware of what must be done for Edgewood to bring a win home, a victory that would give the Warriors three for the season, matching their win total from the entire season a year ago.
“Obviously, we have to stop Kyle LaRosa, who is a very good running back and we have to contain their quarterback, Kyle Degener, who likes to put the ball in the air,” he said. “It’s more about us being consistent with the things we do and making sure we get better each week.”
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