MACEDONIA — Following his team’s five-turnover disaster in week one vs. Bedford, Nordonia football coach Jeff Fox said his team came into practice this week with a chip on its shoulder.
By comparison, Woodridge coach Jeff Decker had to practice this week with several of his starters absent due to injury.
The combination of the Knights’ motivation and the Bulldogs; attrition combined into a tidal wave of offense for Nordonia Friday.
Nordonia erupted for 499 yards of total offense — and only one turnover — on route to a 51-10 rout of the Bulldogs Friday at Boliantz Stadium. Both teams moved to 1-1 on the season.
Fox said Nordonia worked on fixing the two things that killed it the previous week vs. Bedford: Finishing drives and turnovers.
"That was a point of emphasis throughout practice this week," Fox said. "We did a lot of red zone drills. They won this game on Monday and Tuesday. The performance last week pissed off everybody, so they came in and fixed a lot of things."
Decker said the Knights’ athleticism overwhelmed his team, as he noted the game seemed to snowball after Nordonia seized the early lead.
"It was a difference in team speed tonight," Decker said. "We’ve got a lot of sophomores playing. They looked at our weak spots and continued to attack them all night."
Woodridge was able to move the ball early in the game and were marching their opening drive. But the drive ended when Nordonia stripped running back Dohntay Williams of the ball and Ryan Short on it at the Nordonia 35.
The Knights offense would get to work, as quarterback Billy Levak found receivers open all over the field. Nordonia’s opening drive ended with a two-yard touchdown plunge from running back Sal Perrine, making it 7-0 with 7:27 left in the first quarter.
It was the start of a big evening for Perrine, who finished with 104 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just eight carries.
After Woodridge was forced to punt, Perrine ripped out his biggest run of the night, as he swept right, ran over a Woodridge defender on the sideline and ran 72 yards for the score.
"All week, I was working on sideline drills," Perrine said. "We’ve been practicing on finishing all week."
Woodridge showed it had some fight on its next play. William was able to rip off a 71-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 14-7 with 4:15 left in the first. Williams with nine rushes for 120 yards.
However, Nordonia responded quickly. After a couple of long runs by Marvahun Johnson, Perrine found the end zone agains from two yards out with 3:44 left in the first.
The two teams then traded field goals, with Woodridge Carson Lehrer kicking on form 35 yards out, followed by 25-yard kick from Nordonia’s Jonah Ucker.
From there, however, Woodridge’s offense stalled, while Nordonia’s kept revving.
Levak found Jon Henderson with a 20-yard touchdown pass with 6:25 left in the second quarter, followed by Levak turning a broken play into a 57-yard touchdown run with 4:29 left in the half.
"Billy was able to make some plays with his leg tonight," Fox said. "We hadn’t seen that yet at the varsity level, because he took all summer to learn at quarterback."
Norodnia’s offense punt the icing on the cake with a two-minute drill to end the first half. Getting the ball back at the Nordonia 17 yard line with 1:21 let, Levak engineered an 11-play drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Joel Jones with five seconds left in the half.
Levak had huge night, going 17-of-27 for 204, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran five times for 84 yards and a score.
Up 41-10 at the half, Nordonia had its starters in for one series in the second half. As Woodridge’s continued to sputter on offense, Johnson got into the act with 4:30 left in the third quarter, as he swept for a 64-yard touchdown run.
Johnson ended up as Nordonia’s top rusher, running for 108 yards on just five carries.
Decker chose to put his reserve players in early in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs suffered more injured players in the loss.
"When you’ve got as many guys as we have, losing one or two players hurts more," Decker said. "We’ve got a lot of guys going both ways.
"We definitely had some execution issues tonight," he added. "We just told the guys, it doesn’t matter what the score ends up being, we’ve got to be able to move forward."
Woodridge quarterback Andrew Mekeal was limited to just 3-of-10 passing for 14 yards.
Nordonia will take on Mayfield next Friday at 7 p.m., while the Bulldogs will travel to Chagrin Falls next Friday at 7 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_GHO