Jeff Brewer


WADSWORTH: Undefeated Nordonia had too many weapons for Suburban League opponents in 2014.



Now the question is: Do the Knights have too much firepower for Division II?



Ranked fifth in the state, Nordonia used big plays Friday night to overwhelm Wadsworth 41-7 in a damp regular season finale at Art Wright Stadium.



“It’s just great to be the first team to do this in Nordonia history,” said senior two-way standout Alex Alders, moments after the Knights clinched a perfect regular season and an outright Suburban League championship.



Since Day One, Nordonia (10-0, 7-0) has been on a mission, and the Knights left nothing to chance against the Grizzlies.



“It’s great to finally get a home game [in the playoffs] and a Suburban League title after being so close the last two years,” Alders said.



Nordonia senior quarterback David Murray (14-of-24 passing, 233 yards, 107 rushing yards) threw three touchdown passes and added a scintillating 76-yard scoring run.



Ohio State-bound senior Denzel Ward (four receptions, 114 yards) caught two touchdown passes, including a leaping 72-yard catch and sprint.



Alders (six receptions, 92 yards) was dominant on both sides of the ball, and capped a razzle-dazzle, 37-yard touchdown pass play in which he took the center snap and then caught the scoring pass from Murray.



Nordonia coach Jeff Fox also rotated his young running backs to perfection, giving sophomores Anthony Perrine (six carries, 44 yards, one touchdown, two receptions) and Daniel Banks (four carries, 19 yards), as well as freshman Tye Evans (13 carries, 67 yards, one touchdown), enough touches.



Senior linebackers Connor Olczak and Noah Pennypacker were prominent defenders for the Knights.



Wadsworth’s offense hinged on junior running back Daniel Weinerman, who carried 29 times for 111 yards, and caught three passes for 28 yards.



Senior quarterback Adam Dennison (7-for-14 passing, 64 yards) played his final home game for is father, Wadsworth head coach Greg Dennison.



The Knights overcame two early turnovers to build a 20-0 halftime lead. On first-and-10 from his 28, Murray rolled right and threw a dart to Ward near midfield. Ward then sliced through the Grizzlies’ secondary, running right to left, for a 72-yard scoring play at 3:37 of the first quarter. Senior kicker Jimmy Embrescia added the extra point to make it 7-0.



Behind Weinerman, Wadsworth drove 48 yards to the Nordonia 27 before giving up the ball on downs. The Knights extended their lead to 14-0, completing a 73-yard march in 12 plays with Perrine scoring from 3 yards out midway through the second quarter.



Nordonia defensive end Justice Alexander short-circuited the Grizzlies next possession with a tackle for loss on third-and-7.



The Knights took over at the Wadsworth 41, after a nifty, 19-yard punt return by Alders. Five plays later, from the 37, Alders took the snap and pitched the ball to Ward, who pitched it back to Murray. Alders caught Murray’s strike on the right sideline, spun toward the middle of the field, and eluded four tacklers on his way into the end zone. A slippery snap prevented a kick try and Nordonia led 20-0 with 3:40 left until half.



“It was a broken play, and [Wadsworth] covered it well,” Alders said. “Murray ended up throwing a good ball and we made something out of it. Denzel [Ward] threw a good block, and I ended up getting in.”



The Grizzlies had a chance to score before half, but lost a fumble at the Nordonia 14.



Early in the third quarter, Murray bounced off a would-be Wadsworth tackler and zigzagged 76 yards to the end zone.



Dennison’s 1-yard scoring toss to junior Connor Montgomery got Wadsworth on the board, trailing 27-7 with 4:04 left in the third.



Ward in the third quarter and Evans in the fourth added touchdowns for the Knights to round out the scoring.



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