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Cleve Hill’s Strong Start Leads To Non-League Upset

The number one seeded team in Class C North, the Cleveland Hill Eagles, upset the visiting Medina/Webber Mustangs on Saturday afternoon by a final score of 8 – 6. The MVPs of the game for the Eagles were their senior quarterback Tyler Phillips, and senior running backs Matt Eldridge and Aaron Wahler.. Phillips, Eldridge and Wahler, along with their fellow seniors in the Class of 2017, were recognized prior to the game’s start.

“I’ve been up here since 9th grade, this is the last regular season game I’m gonna play here, it means a lot,” said Eldridge when asked about being a senior on senior day. His classmate Tyler Phillips chimed in, “It’s special, but we look forward to playing some playoff games here, though.” Cleveland Hill Head Coach Glen Graham commented on it being senior day and how great of a feeling it was to beat the visitors, “Senior day, last regular season home game, they’ve got a great team over there, I’m just so proud of my team.”

Any coach would be proud of his team after handing a team their first lost in week 6 of the regular season, not to mention that the Medina/Webber Mustangs are a class bigger than Cleve Hill. Coach Graham stated, “It’s a great sense of pride for us, and it gives us, hopefully, a lot of confidence and momentum going into our rival game vs JFK next week and the playoffs.”

The first score of the game ended up being the decision maker, as QB Tyler Phillips ran four yards on a 2nd and goal just 10 minutes into the game. The Eagles went for 2, and a Phillips pass completed to Dejon Wardlaw put Cleve Hill up 8-0, just under 10 minutes into the game. Little did Phillips know that that touchdown and two-point conversion would end up being the deciding factor in the game. “It put us in a good mindset for the rest of the game, we didn’t get too hot afterwards,” recalled Tyler Phillips, who went 1/1 in the air for 7 yards, but ran for 57 yards and a TD on 8 carries.

The holders of first place in the Class B East division didn’t come out with a spark as they usually do. Whether it was due to it being a Saturday afternoon, or against a C school, Mustangs Head Coach Eric Valley says that it was a matchup favored toward the host team’s defense. “They have a tremendous defense and they had a great gameplan for us. We’re not big up front. Hats off to them, they really flew to the ball.”

Medina/Webber seemed to had found it’s groove entering the second quarter. On the Mustang’s third drive of the game, after a 12 yard loss to a sack on 3rd and goal, the team’s sophomore quarterback Izaiah Rhim threw a gorgeous 19 yard floating spiral, perfectly placed for Jalin Cooper to get Medina/Webber on the board. As the Mustangs went for 2, running back Jake Cotter, who would go 17 yards on 9 carries, couldn’t find the end zone. That failed 2-point conversion won Cleve Hill the game.

The scoring would cease there, as the remainder of the game was handled neatly by the Eagles and their defense. The Mustangs pushed Cleve Hill about as far as they could go, and with 4:00 left in the game, Cleve Hill needed to get every first down possible, and kill as much clock as possible. After a 35 yard run for a touchdown was called back on a holding call, Cleve Hill preserved the victory in front of their home fans.

“I was just telling our guys to keep pounding, keep pounding, and we talk about that all the time. Keep pounding, keep pounding, and good things will happen.” Coach Graham takes a page out of the Carolina Panthers book, there, with the ‘keep pounding’ quote.

Next week, Cleveland Hill heads to JFK to play their final game of the regular season, now standing at 5-1 overall. Medina/Webber, who will not be affected seeding-wise for the playoffs from this non-league loss, will host Albon for their final game of the season before heading into the playoffs.

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