Photo by Logan Smith
(CANTON, Ohio) – While Walsh may have been designated as the visitors on the scoreboard, it was clear who controlled the home turf as the Cavaliers defeated rival Malone 24-7 Saturday night. The Cavs (2-7, 2-7) were methodical in surgical throughout the game en route to their rivalry best seventh-straight victory over the Pioneers (0-7, 0-7) to ensure the Bankert-Gallagher Memorial Trophy stays in North Canton.
"It feels good. This is a game I don't really have to be a motivator for our team," Coach Karras said about preparing for this week and defeating Malone. "They wanted to own the trophy again, own this field, and we were the visitors, and we took care of business today. I'm proud of the guys for that."
It was a defensive-minded game as neither team had a play longer than 36 yards from scrimmage. It was also the defense that set up the first score of the game, a touchdown by Malone, on the first play of the second quarter. Both teams exchanged fumbles that set up the Pioneers on its own 49. Thanks to a stingy Walsh defense, it took Malone 11 plays to punch it in after a Cavs penalty set them up at the four yard line.
From there on, all the scoring belonged to the Cavaliers.
Walsh immediately answered on the ensuing drive as Michael Dudics kicked a 45-yard field goal to tie his season-best to make the score 7-3. Later in the quarter, Reid Worstell gave the Cavaliers the lead after he scrambled on a busted play that left him almost sacked in the pocket, but the redshirt freshman went to his right and plunged in from five yards away with a few Pioneers on his back. That made the score 10-7 with 3:41 until halftime.
Another athletic run gave the Cavaliers their next score and put the pressure on Malone. This time it came from Kalvin Gordon. He was hit hard around the five, but after he bounced back a yard or two, he re-routed and plunged in for a 12-yard touchdown run. The score capped off a six play, 81-yard drive, the longest for either team in the game.
The final score came after Nicholas King intercepted Malone quarterback John Iacucci and returned it 25 yards to set Walsh up in the red zone. Two plays later, Mack Coleman lined up in shotgun behind center and ran left outside the tackle and scored from three yards out for his third touchdown in two weeks and set up the final score.
King's interception capped off a spectacular game for him in which he recovered a Malone fumble early on and made seven tackles on the night. Skyler Parks was also impressive with 11 tackles, three of which were for a loss of a combined 14 yards. Not to be lost in those numbers was a forced fumble.
Alex Jones added two sacks on the night, the only two Walsh had for the game, which were part of his three tackles for a loss that totaled 26 yards. He had six on the night.
Offensively Aaron Male was four yards shy the century mark with 96 yards on 15 carries for a 6.4 average. Worstell was 17-of-26 for 148 yards.
Malone's offense was figuratively carried by Matt Blasiole. The sophomore running back carried the rock 35 times, but only gained 86 yards and was responsible for the Pioneers' only score. Eian Elsass caught seven passes for 72 yards, but the majority of those came in the final minutes of the game when the Pioneers were forced to pass.
The win is the second in a row for Walsh as it gears up for Homecoming next week. The Cavaliers host Wayne State for the first time ever with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.