MACEDONIA: The Nordonia football team’s high-scoring offense was slowed by an injury Friday night against visiting Tallmadge.
Senior quarterback Tyler Alders had the Knights rolling as usual, but then sprained his left ankle in the second quarter. He missed one series, returned to the game and contributed admirably as a passer and runner but he was limited.
The Knights needed junior running back Jordan Nobles and their defensive unit to step up. Nordonia coach Jeff Fox got just that as the Knights defeated the Blue Devils 34-28 at Boliantz Stadium.
The win propels Nordonia (6-1, 4-0) into first place in the Suburban League and drops Tallmadge (5-2, 3-1) to second.
Nordonia led 31-21 at halftime. The two teams’ defenses became stout in the second half and scoring declined.
“This was a big win,” said Nobles, who rushed for two touchdowns and gained 171 yards on 32 carries. “We came into halftime and made some defensive adjustments.”
Alders completed 8-of-13 passes in the first half for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Alders sprained his ankle after a pass with 1:02 to go in the second quarter. Sophomore David Murray entered at quarterback and guided the Knights to a 39-yard field goal that senior Ryan Bauer converted as time expired.
Alders completed 5-of-9 passes in the second half for 50 yards, and he ran less as his mobility was affected by a taped ankle.
Nobles and the Knights’ offensive line picked up their play to grind out the win.
“Coach Fox came up to me at halftime and said since Tyler was [hurt] we we’re going to run the ball more and the game was on my shoulders,” Nobles said. “I was happy; I was excited.”
Seniors Nick Rezek and Victor Hudson made significant contributions on defense and special teams for Nordonia along with juniors Alex Woicehovich and Sterling Brabson and sophomores Alex Alders and Noah Pennypacker.
“We came out and played hard,” Woicehovich said. “We made a couple of changes after the second quarter.”
Alders completed a 60-yard touchdown pass to Hudson with 9:53 remaining in the first quarter to open the scoring.
Almost four minutes later, Tallmadge tied the score at 7-7 when senior Anthony Gotto threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to senior Zach Cleary.
The Knights built a 21-7 lead with 10:08 left in the second quarter after Alders’ 9-yard touchdown pass to Rezek and Nobles’ 24-yard touchdown run.
The Blue Devils tied the score at 21-21 with 4:56 to go in the first half after two Gotto touchdown passes — a 76-yard connection to senior Johnny Linn and a 40-yard completion to senior Logan Banks.
Nobles scored his second rushing touchdown with just less than five minutes left in the second quarter.
Bauer kicked a 27-yard field goal to account for Nordonia’s second-half points and Linn had a 4-yard rushing touchdown for Tallmadge.
“We did do a great job in the fourth quarter of running the clock out,” Fox said.
“You are in a mode where all of a sudden you change. We were trying to gain first downs to get the victory rather than trying to score points as quick as possible like we normally play.”
Gotto completed 14-of-30 passes for 329 yards.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.