CUYAHOGA FALLS — Joey Baughman remembers his gridiron dreams as a kid. So do Brock Snowball, Mitchell Blackburn and Christian Szalay.
The quartet reminisced Friday about sitting in the stands at Art Wright Memorial Stadium and watching the 2011 Wadsworth football team roll to a Division I regional final.
After a 59-0 Suburban League National Conference victory over Cuyahoga Falls on Friday, this year’s version of the Grizzlies is a win away from winning its first seven games.
That’s exactly what the 2011 team did en route to an 11-1 record, when it rolled to a game against Toledo Whitmer that the Panthers eventually had to vacate.
Equaling, if not bettering that team, has become a battling cry for Wadsworth (6-0, 3-0), which plays North Royalton next week in search of win No. 7.
“Being 11 years old, we all looked up to those guys,” Baughman said. “They were amazing. They were huge. They were all role models to us. I had a cousin on that team (Bret Baughman), and I always looked up to him on the football field.”
Snowball remembers his brother Jack chewing up yards and running over future Michigan standout Ben Gedeon in the playoffs when the current Minnesota Vikings linebacker played for Hudson.
As a 9-year old, he wanted to emulate his first-team All-Ohio brother. The way the Grizzlies laid waste to the Black Tigers (0-6, 0-3), he’s well on his way.
“I remember coming home after all those games,” Snowball said. “I was just excited to see him after football games.”
Snowball finished with 36 yards rushing on only six carries, but made the most of them with two scores.
Now averaging 50.5 points and 395.2 yards this season, the Grizzlies took the gift of an average starting spot of the 50-yard line and blitzed the Black Tigers for 43 points through 24 minutes.
Baughman (16-for-23, 214 yards, 4 TDs) and Co. scored on the first five possessions and Kyle Arrowsmith didn’t punt until 54 seconds remained in the first half.
It was just the next step for an offense that has played with four running clocks this season.
Szalay had four catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns, Blackburn had six receptions for 90 yards and two scores and Baughman hit seven receivers.
“It’s awesome in this offense because there are so many options on each play,” Blackburn said. “If they guard me and (Szalay), we’re going to run the ball. If they focus on the run, (Baughman) is going to air it out. We’re just going to do what we have to do.”
It wasn’t just the offense, as Snowball returned a punt for a score and Szalay took back a kick. Special teams also recorded two safeties on errant snaps and the defense limited Cuyahoga Falls to minus-96 yards rushing and 37 total yards.
“Our coaching staff is just preparing us and we’re feeding off of it,” Szalay said. “Every day in practice we get closer as a team. We bond in and outside the locker room. We’re only going up. We have good things ahead.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cuyahoga Falls 0
WADSWORTH 23 20 16 0 — 59
CUYAHOGA FALLS 0 0 0 0 — 0
W — Brock Snowball 5 run (Ryan Larj kick), 6:20.
W — Safety (ball snapped out of end zone), 4:49.
W — Mitchell Blackburn 25 pass from Joey Baughman (Larj kick), 3:46.
W — Christian Szalay 15 pass from Baughman (Larj kick), 1:04.
W — Snowball 35 punt return (Larj kick), 11:13.
W — Blackburn 20 pass from Baughman (kick failed), 7:12.
W — Szalay 14 pass from Baughman (Larj kick), 3:33.
W — Szalay 88 kickoff return (Larj kick), 11:25.
W — Safety (Tristan Wright recovers snap in end zone), 5:57.
W — Snowball 9 run (Larj kick), 3:11.