PAINESVILLE, Ohio - With the inaugural Pride & Passion Trophy on the line, the Walsh Cavaliers football team used a nonstop rushing attack and a big defensive game against the Lake Erie College Storm on Saturday (Oct. 5) afternoon at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium.
Walsh defeated the Storm 21-6 for the first win of the season.
Lake Erie scored on their first drive on a 40-yard touchdown pass by Javarian Smith. The extra point was blocked by Trent Harrell, as the Storm led 6-0 with 5:04 left in the first quarter. The Storm was driving down the field as the first quarter ended but the Cavaliers' defense held the Storm on fourth down deep in Walsh territory. Lake Erie led 7-0 after one quarter.
On the Cavaliers' second drive of the second quarter, Walsh gave the ball to Koby Adu-Poku ten times and he ended the drive with a four-yard TD run. Walsh took their first lead of the day, 7-6 with 3:36 left before halftime. Sal Sidebotham thwarted the last second Hail Mary attempt for the Storm as he intercepted the pass from Smith. Walsh took a 7-6 lead into the halftime break in Painesville.
Lake Erie started the second half with the ball and Tyree Broyles picked off Smith on the first play in the half. The drive stalled as Walsh could not capitalize on the second interception by Smith.
With Lake Erie pinned in their territory, Walsh supplied pressure on a Storm punt late in the third quarter. Shawn Roper blocked a punt as Myles Williams picked up the loose ball and returned it 12 yards for a Walsh touchdown. Walsh pushed the lead to 14-6 with 1:20 left in the third quarter.
Walsh forced a fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter as Morgan Trust forced a fumble on a sack that was recovered by Marcus Shellenbarger. After the fumble recovery, Walsh went ten plays (all run plays) for a touchdown drive. Dominic Davis took the option call for a eight-yard touchdown run. Walsh's lead grew to 21-6 with nine minutes to go as the idea of bringing the Pride & Passion Trophy back to North Canton became more real.
Marlyn Hill capped the defensive effort with an interception with five minutes left. The Cavaliers ended a four-game losing streak with a 21-6 win over the Storm.
Walsh had their best offensive effort with 330 total yards, 299 of them coming on the ground. The Cavaliers rushing attack ran the ball 65 times (3rd most in G-MAC history) with a 4.6 per run average. Adu-Poku accounted for 147 yards on 34 rushes (tied for 3rd in G-MAC history) with one touchdown. Davis had 49 yards on seven carries. Antwand Wilson ran seven times for 32 yards.
The Walsh defense forced five turnovers and had two block plays. There were three total interceptions by Sidebotham, Broyles and Hill along with two forced fumbles by Trust and Keller.
Sidebotham led with five tackles on defense with Zach Sturmi adding four tackles.
Walsh will gear up for Findlay as they will host the Oilers at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium next Saturday (Oct. 12) at 1:00 PM.