LORAIN - Lorain exercised its right to run in the second half of its season opener against Midview -- and the Titans didn't stop until they'd worn down and knocked out the Middies.
The Titans' running game kept the ball away from Midview's high-potential but inconsistent offense, controlling the ball for 18 minutes in the second half while running for 127 yards. Coupled with Brandon Davis' two interceptions and long runbacks --
each set up a Lorain touchdown - the Titans beat Midview, 21-9 Friday night at George Daniel Stadium.
Midview dominated the first half, keeping the Titans pinned in their end and starting five of its drives in Lorain territory. But the Middies had only nine points to show for it.
"We made some adjustments at halftime that got our running game going," said animated Lorain coach Mark Solis, who said one item in the team's "Bill of Rights" is the right to run the ball. "At the end of the day, you have to be able to run the ball. That won the game for us. We had kids coming to the sideline (in the second half) saying, 'They're tired!'"
Solis coached Davis' brother at Elyria, and used that link to lure Brandon Davis onto the football field. The younger Davis hadn't played football until this year.
Midview marched right down the field on its first drive of the game, but stalled at the 10 when Cody Callaway was intercepted by Alec Medina on a pass tipped by Malcolm Thomas. Still, the Middies gained a 9-7 halftime lead on a Johnny Walsh touchdown run and a safety, sacking Lorain quarterback Collin Bryant in the end zone after a bad snap.
The Middies, though, gained only 49 yards the rest of the way and finished with 133. Davis' first pick, midway through the second quarter, changed the game: After a 55-yard return, Anthony Maldonado scored seven plays later to cut the lead to two.
"Our defense played a heck of a football game," said Midview coach Bill Albright. "I'm proud as heck of our defense. Our defense can't be on the field the whole game. Our offense has to come to play football."
Midview had four straight three-and-outs to start the second half, and Lorain took the lead at 4:42 of the third on Christian Nogueras' 15-yard score. While Midview stalled, the Titans, too, were imperfect; Bryant was intercepted late in the third and a fumble ended another drive early in the fourth.
Given one last chance with 2:30 left, the Middies lost 10 yards and Callaway then was intercepted again by Davis, who returned it 31 yards to the 6. Pablo Gonzalez punched it in from 5 yards for the final margin.
"(Callaway) is a good quarterback, but I read his eyes on those interceptions," Davis said. "Once I had them, I just saw open field and tried to take it to the end zone.
"(Solis) motivated us at halftime to play better defense, to tighten up. We took that motivation out onto the field in the second half."
Said Solis of Davis: "I know talent when I see it. I watched him on the basketball court. I'd talk to him in the hallway (about playing football). He's got a chance to play on Saturdays."
Nice leg: Midview punter Eric Lauer twice pinned the Titans inside their 10, as Lorain had trouble escaping the shadow of its goal post. After Lauer cornered the Titans at their 6 late in the first quarter, Lorain committed one of its four turnovers, a fumble, to set up Midview's first touchdown. The teams combined for eight turnovers.
Contact Joel Hammond at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.