Big offensive night leads Nordonia football past nemesis Wadsworth

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Nordonia running back Sal Perrine looks for room during the Knights' week two game vs. Barberton. Perrine ran for 222 yards and three touchdowns in Nordonia's 63-49 win at Wadsworth Sept. 11.

Jeff Fox has seen his fair share of offensive fireworks during his tenure as Nodonia head football coach.

On Sept. 11, the Knights' offense put on a show to take down one of its nemesis rivals on its home turf.

Nordonia raced out to 28-7 lead and weathered several comeback attempts from Wadsworth en route to a 63-49 win over the Grizzlies at Art Wright Stadium in Wadsworth.

Nordonia improved to 2-1, 1-1 in the Suburban League National Conference.

How good was the Knights offense? Nordonia put up 638 yards of total offense and nine touchdown and did not punt on the night, though it did lose two fumbles.

"That was awesome," Fox said. "Like I told the kids, that wasn't 48 minutes of performance. That was 11 months of preparation. Our guys have been working hard under some very trying circumstances. It really made that performance very satisfying.

"They're a good team. Our kids just executed at an extremely high level."

Wadsworth's offense was pretty spectacular as well, as the Grizzlies ran up 500 yard of total offense.

Despite this, Fox said he was proud of his defensen's effort.

"The numbers might not make it look like it, but that was actually a good defensive performance," Fox said. "Wadsworth's offense is one of the best around. They really put you in a bind with the schemes they run.

"Their quarterback made some great plays, but we made them earn it. We're very happy with our defense."

Nordonia's senior backfield duo of quarterback Billy Levak and running back Sal Perrine combined for one of the best games in school history.

Levak didn't quite equal his career-best 499 yards passing from the previous week, but he was efficient and prolific, going 24-of-32 for 416 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions.

"Its about being consistent for him. This was the most consistent he's been all year," Fox said. "He made some great decisions in that. He did a good job getting the ball out quickly. It turned out to be a very productive evening."

Not to be outdone, Perrine ran 25 times for 222 yards and three touchdowns.

"It was awesome to see Sal Perrine get going to show how tough of a runner he actually is," Fox said.

"What our offensive line did was great," he added. "Last week, we decided to throw the ball exclusively. Any offensive linemen will tell you they'd rather run the ball, so they prepared well this week."

Levak opened the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Rusk, but Wadsworth answered with a with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Evans to Barret Labus.

Evans was the engine of Wadsworth's offense. He went 17-of-29 for 279 yards passing with four touchdowns and an interception, while also leadsing Wadsworth with 26 rushes for 113 yards.

Levak responded with the first of three touchdown passes to Joel Jones — a 23-yarder with 4:53 left in the first — followed by an 18-yard touchdown strike to Matt Hayes after the two teams exchanged fumbles.

With Nordonia up 21-7 after one quarter, Perrine busted out a 45-yard run nad capped the drive with a 3-yard TD plunge with 11:11 left in the half.

Levak made it 35-14 in the second quarter with his longest pass of the night, finding Jones open for 68-yard bomb for a touchdown.

Jones had a huge night as well, catching eight passes for 190 yards and three scores.

Wadsworth showed no quit. Evans tossed his second touchdown of the game just before the half. Then, the Knights special teams gifted Wadsworth a tocuhdown when a muffed punt resulted in Wadsworth's Davis Nye returning it 20 yards for a touchdown.

With the lead cut to 35-28, Nordonia's offense got back to work. Perrine got his second touchdown on the night on a 14-yard with 4:53 left in the third.

Levak would then hit Jon Hederson with a 37-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in the third, though the two-point conversion run failed. Henderson caught seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown.

However, Wadsworth kept coming back, as Evans threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 48-42 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Nordonia finally got some breathing room.

Levak tossed his third touchdown to Jones with 11:05 left in the fourth and also hit Jones with a two-point conversion pass.

Then after Tucker Rusk intercepted Mitchell, Perrine ran in a 26-yard touchdown with 5:55 left for Nordonia's final score.

Wadsworth got a two-yard touchdown run from John Pasco with 24 seconds left. but it was no enough for the Grizzlies.

Nordonia will take on Medina Highland at home Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.