FOOTBALL Western Reserve holds off Malvern
The Blue Devils posted a 33-26 victory.
By RYAN JONES
MALVERN -- At first a messy game seemed inevitable for both teams. A torrential downpour was in full swing five minutes before kickoff. However, the clouds vanished and Western Reserve High managed to capture its first win in the season opener, toppling the Malvern Hornets 33-26 on Saturday.
"It feels great to get the first win," said first-year coach Lew Speece. "It was a great game, both teams played hard, and it wasn't over until the final play."
The Blue Devils struck first with 6 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Just two plays after Luke Srock recovered a fumbled punt snap, quarterback Jake Zatchok connected with Mike Pence for an 8-yard score.
Again in the third quarter a punting miscue hurt the Hornets. Punter Craig Lama was tackled deep in Blue Devil territory. Five plays later Cliff James ran in from 3 yards out.
Malvern answered Western Reserve's first score with an eight-play, 80-yard drive that featured the right arm of Malvern quarterback Duston Walter.
Three completions of over 15 yards quickly moved the Hornets down the field, the longest a 47-yard strike hauled in by receiver Mike Solvey. Two plays after Walter sneaked in from 1 yard out.
Western Reserve answered on the next drive when Srock scored from 4 yards out, following a 23-yard scramble by Kyle Trimble.
Malvern came right back, through the air once more. Solvey made a sensational leaping catch for 31 yards, down to the Blue Devil 9-yard line.
Running back Kenny Lawson punched it in from 1 yard out two plays later.
Blue Devils extend lead
Already up 14-12, Western Reserve extended its lead before the half when junior tailback Srock crossed the goal line again, this time from 8 yards out. Srock finished with 59 yards and two scores.
The productive passing continued for Malvern in the second half. Walter hit Jeff Eddy late in the third quarter for a 5-yard touchdown.
Following a punt by the Devils, Walter found his favorite target Mike Solvey, when they hooked up on a 48-yard bomb to bring the Hornets within one point, 27-26, early in the fourth quarter.
Walter totaled 265 yards passing, completing 18 passes. Solvey was the recipient of 161 of those yards.