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Eagles Crush Cardinals, Advance to Class C Title Game

With a berth in the Section VI Class C championship game on the line Saturday afternoon, the Cleveland Hill Eagles did what they knew how to do best.

Take care of business.

A 42-0 romp over the Randolph/Frewsburg Cardinals helped solidify the Eagles as not just worthy of facing Southwestern next week at New Era Field, but as a serious threat to win the Class C title.

“Our team is just getting better and better every week,” coach Glen Graham said. “We knew coming into today that Randolph was a bit banged up, but they’re tough. We really had to be on our game today in order to win, and it’ll be the same story next week.”

Eagles running back Aaron Wahler, who had an excellent day with three touchdowns and a fumble recovery on defense, was ecstatic over the win.

“We’re really excited right now,” Wahler said. “We knew going in that Randolph wasn’t going to be an easy opponent. The only way we could take them down was by sticking to what we do best, and we did a great job of that.”

Wahler kicked off his day with a 46-yard run to put the Eagles up 6-0 midway through the first quarter. Following the score, each team traded punts, but a pattern began to develop – the Eagles’ defense and special teams would make sure that their offense would consistently have good field position.

That play on special teams was exemplified early in the second quarter, when Javon Thomas blocked a punt, scooped up the ball and returned it 46 yards to put the Eagles on top 14-0.

“In wet, rainy weather conditions like we had today, special teams and field position are always important factors, and they came up big today,” Graham said. “It’s great to play on turf too, because we didn’t have to worry about bad field conditions.”

From there, the rout was on. Wahler reached the end zone again from 30 yards out nearly two minutes later, and Thomas found paydirt for a second time after running 65 yards around the edge to the house.

The Eagles came out in the second half not wanting to let the Cardinals have any sort of momentum, and it showed immediately. 29 seconds into the third quarter, Wahler received a handoff at the Eagles’ 30-yard line and promptly took it the distance – ending the Cardinals’ season in the process.

“Running the ball is really what we’re good at,” Graham said. “We’re a physical group, and we know what our strengths are… Wahler’s a rarity for us. He’s a four-year varsity player, and he’s done a tremendous job for us for a long time.”

Chris Diem added a 41-yard touchdown run of his own midway through the fourth quarter.

The Trojans await the Eagles next week, and Graham knew that they – a team that has won every game but two by 21 points or more this season – would be his team’s biggest challenge thus far.

“They’ve got a really potent offense, one of the best quarterbacks in the area and a great group of receivers,” Graham said. “We’re going to have to do our best to match up with their personnel, and make sure we’re effective offensively and take care of the ball.”

“Every year, getting to New Era Field is our goal,” Wahler said. “We’ve been here before, and it feels awesome to get there. It’s a feeling I’ll never get used to, and now we just have to go out there and do our jobs and come out with a win.”

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