Cleveland Hill Powers Its Way Past Southwestern…Again
Big plays were scarce, big hits were plentiful. It was a good old-fashioned smash mouth battle.
Basically, it was Cleveland Hill football the way it’s supposed to be played. In a rematch of last year’s Class C Section VI championship, the Eagles celebrated Homecoming with a 12-0 win over Southwestern on Saturday at Carl J. Kuras Field.
“We do like our defensive games with tough, physical play,” Eagles coach Glen Graham said. “Our kids on defense really stepped it up today and that’s what it came down to.”
The win was the fourth straight for Cleveland Hill over Southwestern. In the previous three meetings, the Eagles averaged 50.6 points per game. It was clear from the get-go; there’d be so such firepower this time around.
“It was very intense,” Cleveland Hill running back Aaron Wahler said. “Hot weather, big crowd, sectional rematch. We had to put it on the line for that crowd. We just grinded it out. All the work we did in practice, all the conditioning, that’s what it came down to today.”
Southwestern came into the game at 3-0 with a combined 97 points in those three wins. Quarterback Cole Snyder threw for 606 yards in those games but the Trojans passing attack was out of sync all day long against Cleveland Hill.
“Their pressure was good and their DBs did a good job of disguising their defense,” Southwestern coach Jehuu Caulcrick said. “We have to win offensively and it goes back to coaching. We have to do a better job of getting them ready.”
Wahler ran for 111 yards and a two-yard touchdown late in the first half. Southwestern immediately responded with perhaps its best drive of the game, reaching the Cleveland Hill 4-yard line but time ran out.
Brett Kochanski got his team some breathing room in the third quarter when he broke through the line on a quarterback keeper and went 65 yards for a score. The rest was up to the defense and the Eagles delivered.
James Purpura and Manny Al-Hemyari each had two sacks for a Cleveland Hill defense that recorded seven sacks on the day. Michael Clark had an interception.
“They’re scoring a lot of points and they have one of the best quarterbacks in the area,” Graham said. “It was real nice to see how well we played today. We told the guys all week that if you’re a d-back or a d-lineman, this is a game that should be fun because you’re going to see action.”
And the Eagles could see more action in the postseason. Cleveland Hill and Southwestern have met in the playoffs in each of the last three seasons and both are favorite to win their respective divisions in Class C.
“It is always nice to beat them,” Graham said. “This was a real nice matchup, hopefully we can see each other again down the road. It was tough, they’re a real good football team. As good as they were last year, I think they’re even better this year.”
Cleveland Hill (3-1 overall, 1-0 Class C North) now prepares for three league games to close the year against Akron, Eden/North Collins and rival John F. Kennedy, a game that very well may decide the league championship.
“Going forward we have to keep the practices strong,” Kochanski said. “We have to keep it coming. That’s the only thing that’s going to get us more wins.”
Southwestern (3-1, 2-0) Class C South) has won 12 straight games against teams other than Cleveland Hill. The Trojans will celebrate their Homecoming next Friday with a 7 p.m. game against Dunkirk.
“All our goals are still in front of us,” Caulcrick said. “We can still repeat as league championship. We have a big one next week and we’re excited to be in front of our home fans.”