Buchtel football coach Ricky Powers is not one to shy away from competition.
Just like when he was a player, Powers likes a challenge.
Saturday afternoon’s challenge came in the form of visiting Lakewood St. Edward, a regular Division I playoff participant with three state titles in the past eight years.
Buchtel is hoping to become a playoff team this season in Division IV, but Saturday’s result was not favorable as St. Edward left Akron with a 42-7 victory.
“I saw a lot of good things, but I also saw a lot of things that we missed on,” said Powers, a star running back on Buchtel’s Division II state championship teams in 1987 and 1988.
“We missed a lot of plays. We just gotta find a way to play to our potential. That is a great football team that we played, but if we play to our potential it could have been a different game. I know you look at the score, and you’re like, ‘Dang, I don’t know what coach Powers is talking about.’ And the same thing with Canton McKinley, where if you look at the score [and say], ‘Man, what the heck is he talking about?’
"If you actually watch the game you will see that we make a lot of mistakes. It has been plaguing us and we need to find a way to get over them. Now, it doesn’t help that we are playing the best teams in the state and make mistakes because you don’t really see how really good you can be. These next four games, we need to try to play more mistake-free football and make plays.”
Powers is leading a 3-3 Griffins team with wins over Division IV Woodridge, Division II Firestone and Division III North, and losses to Division I teams McKinley and St. Edward and Division II Avon.
Buchtel’s remaining regular-season games are against Division II teams Kenmore-Garfield and Ellet and Division III squads St. Vincent-St. Mary and East.
“You can’t make mistakes against great football teams,” Powers said. “When you do, this is what happens. I just want our players to know that we are a great football team, too, and we have to play like it. We have four more games to prove it.”
St. Edward took a 7-0 lead with 2:09 to go in the first quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jordan Castleberry and the first of six extra points by Gianluca Russo.
Logan Nash returned a blocked field goal 65 yards for an Eagles touchdown with 10:32 left in the second quarter to make it 14-0. The Griffins countered eight minutes later with a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Mychael Leno to sophomore Martavien Johnson, and an extra point by sophomore Dylan West.
St. Edward expanded its lead to 21-7 with 1:15 remaining in the second quarter when Garrett Dzuro threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Quintel Kent.
“I feel like we had a chance in that game,” Leno said. “We are a lot better than what the score says up there [on the scoreboard] and I feel like we are going to learn from this.”
The Eagles built on their lead with 21 third-quarter points. Kent returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown at 11:46, Joseph Formani rushed for a 2-yard score at 6:02 and Dzuro connected with Christopher Elliott on an 18-yard touchdown pass.
“Us as a team, we gotta come out stronger in the first half,” Johnson said. “If come out stronger in the first half and then play to our potential, we can get a W.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.