NORTH ROYALTON — The fact Joey Baughman is a better wrestler than quarterback is a scary thought, although Wadsworth football coach Justin Todd isn’t convinced.
Those in attendance at Serpentini Chevrolet Stadium might have a hard time believing that as well after the senior went crazy Friday in a 61-28 Suburban League National Conference win over North Royalton.
“I don’t know if I believe that,” Todd said. “He’s a pretty good quarterback, so he must be a really good wrestler.”
What Baughman did against the Bears (3-4, 1-3) had never been seen in 100-plus years of Medina County football, as he went 21-for-32 for a county-record 416 yards and three touchdowns.
The previous record was held by former Grizzly Mike Hoover (403 vs. Midview, Nov. 5, 1999), and Baughman probably would have had a lot more if not for the running clock.
Not bad for a two-time state runner-up and three-time state placer on the mat.
“He was phenomenal,” North Royalton Nick Ciulli said. “He’s definitely one of the top ones in this area. He can do it with his legs. He can do it with his arm. It’s very difficult to defend him.
“He’s got a nice group of receivers to complement him. Everything is going his way. The dual threat killed us.”
That Baughman led all rushers with 70 yards and two scores on seven carries highlights just how solid he was.
Bears quarterback Joey Marousek was 15-for-26 for 295 yards and three scores but couldn’t get out of Baughman’s shadow.
Baughman broke the record on a 74-yard strike to Mitchell Blackburn in the third quarter as Wadsworth scored on its first nine possessions.
“I’m loving it,” Baughman said. “We have great receivers, but I can’t do anything without my line. It’s awesome. We don’t practice to punt the ball. We practice to get first downs and score.”
Baughman, who threw for 188 yards in the first quarter, hit myriad receivers but had a special night with Blackburn.
His senior wideout broke a school record with 261 yards on 12 catches, eclipsing the 213 Craig Palidar had on Oct. 6, 2016 against Twinsburg.
Again, had there not been a running clock, Blackburn probably would have broken the county record held by 2004 Buckeye graduate Darren Cereshko (264 vs. Black River, Oct. 24, 2003).
“When you have Joey Baughman, who can run the ball, it’s going to open it up for me and Christian (Szalay),” Blackburn said. “When they key on other players, that’s what happens. They saw Christian getting it done on film and it opened it up for me.”
Baughman and Blackburn weren’t the only ones tearing through the Bears. Szalay made five catches for 100 yards and a score and Grant Martinez had four catches for 41 yards. Brock Snowball picked up 34 yards on the ground, caught a pass for 14 and scored three times.
“These guys come to work and I’ll tell you what, a lot of credit goes to our defense,” Todd said. “They go a lot one-v-one, and this week they were fantastic.”
That’s especially true of Brett Randolph, who fell on a ball that hit an up-man on a first-half kickoff and intercepted Marousek just before halftime.
The turnovers led to 10 points as Wadsworth walked into halftime up 48-21.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wadsworth 61, North Royalton 28
WADSWORTH 17 31 6 7 — 61
NORTH ROYALTON 14 7 0 7 — 28
W — Brock Snowball 1 run (Ryan Larj kick), 11:39.
N — Miles Strnad 25 pass from Joey Marousek (James Osborne kick), 9:15.
W — Larj 37 field goal, 7:15.
N —Jake Franczak 2 run (Osborne kick), 4:33.
W — Joey Baughman 11 run (Larj kick), 2:11.
W — Snowball 14 pass from Baughman (Larj kick), 11:47,
N — Marousek 5 run (Osborne kick), 8:23.
W — Snowball 4 run (Larj kick), 6:47.
W — Christian Szalay 49 pass from Baughman (Larj kick), 6:18.
W — Baughman 10 run (Larj kick), 0:54.
W — Larj kick 34 field goal, 0:00.
W — Blackburn 74 pass from Baughman (kick failed), 7:47.
NR — Tyler Knurek 16 pass from Marousek (Osborne kick), 5:16.
W — Dominic Loparo 3 run (Blake Turano kick), 0:13.