LEETONIA, OHIO (WKBN) – Behind the running of Dom Schadl, the sixth-seeded McDonald Blue Devils knocked off the third-seeded Leetonia Bears 41-24 in Division VII, Region 25 action Friday night. The victory advances the Devils to play the winner of the Independence – Lucas game next week.
The Devils, who improve to 7-1 on the season, scored on four of their first five possessions in the game and built a commanding 28-0 lead at halftime. That offensive charge was powered by their quarterback Dom Schadl who ran for 239 yards and scored all six of the Devils touchdowns in the game.
“I think we played well offensively,” Schadl remarked. “I think we played a nearly perfect game both offensively and defensively. Coach told all week that we need to play free and I think we did that.”
“He’s a gamer,” Blue Devils head coach Dan Williams stated. “”The kid is unbelievable. We have been riding him and the whole team has been on his shoulders the whole year. We threw the ball a little bit more tonight than normal and had some guys make some big plays with catching the football.”
He would score on a 7-yard run on the Devils first possession and then again on a 6-yard run with 3:25 remaining in the first quarter. He would add a 14-yard scamper on the first play of the second quarter, and then an 8-yard run with 4:07 remaining before halftime.
But the Bears showed why they are the third seed in the tournament by coming out to start the second half and scoring on a 10-yard run by Marco Ferry on the Bear’s first offensive possession. Following an onside kick recovery by the Bears, they scored again at the 5:38 mark of the third quarter on a 2-yard blast by Ferry to make it 28-16 in favor of the Devils.
Ferry would rush for 171 yards to lead the Bears offense on the night. He would score 2 touchdowns on the night.
The Blue Devils would respond with a 62-yard, 8-play drive with Schadl scoring on a 9-yard run with 1:30 left in the third quarter to make it 35-16.
“At half we told the kids that they can’t relax and you know they scored a couple quick ones on us,” Williams said. “Then our kids had to rise up and answer the challenge.”
It looked like the Devils might seal the game as they were driving deep in Bears territory when the Devils committed a turnover at the Bears 29. The Bears took advantage of the miscue and quarterback Dylan Lennon hit Jaedon Finley on a 39-yard touchdown pass with 8:40 remaining in the contest. That score cut the Devils lead down to 36-24.
But once again the Devils would answer back as Schadl would explode up the middle on a 39-yard run with only 4:53 left in the game to make it the final 41-24 score. Schadl would also connect on 6 of 8 passes in the game for 93 yards.
“I’m proud of this group,” Bears coach Paul Hulea remarked. “After what happened in that first half and how we played in that third (quarter). In all phases, we played just outstanding in the third quarter. I’m proud of our seniors and we have nothing to be ashamed of. We fought to the final gun.”
With the loss, the Bears drop to 6-2 on the year. They will close their season next Friday when they will travel to Sebring.
The Lucas – Independence game was postponed Friday night due to the weather and will play Saturday, so the Devils will have to wait until tomorrow night to find out who they will be playing. Last year the Lucas Cubs knocked the Devils out of the playoffs in a close contest.
“That’s what we have been waiting for,” Schadl admitted about the possibility to play Lucas again. “They beat us in two sports by a combined three points so we are hungry to get a win against them.”
“I think our kids will have a little more confidence if we play Lucas,” Williams said. “I do like the fact that if Independence wins, then they come to our place and we get to play at home. Maybe we get a home game and if you are at home I think you have an advantage in the playoffs.”
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