NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The Middies could’ve sulked after last week’s close loss to Avon that deprived them of a West Shore Conference championship.
They could’ve gone through the motions Friday night on the road against their rival, especially with their playoff chances all but gone.
They could’ve lost second place to North Ridgeville.
Instead, Midview proved it’s a team to be reckoned with in 2011 and in the future.
Just ask the Rangers, who took the brunt of Midview’s wrath in a 41-0 loss that was only close in the first five minutes.
Both teams finish the regular season 8-2, but Midview claimed second place in the West Shore at 5-1. North Ridgeville dropped to 4-2.
Eddie Johnson had a career night with four touchdowns — his only scores of the season.
“Eddie’s been playing in the shadow of Jacob (Bennett) pretty much all year,” Midview coach Bill Albright said. “It’s unfortunate but sometimes that’s the way it is.
“Sometimes you get stuck behind a great athlete and that’s what Jacob is. That’s why we put that formation in several weeks ago to take advantage of both Eddie and Jacob and it paid big dividends tonight.”
The Middies entered the night 12th in the Division II, Region 6 computer rankings, and the top eight qualify for the playoffs. They needed a win and a lot of help, and didn’t appear to get it. The official playoff pairings won’t be announced until Sunday, but the Middies will likely be on the outside looking in.
Albright wasn’t worried about what he couldn’t control. He said he’d wake up in the morning, check the standings and deal with the results.
He had no complaints about the results Friday night, but the game might’ve gone differently had the Rangers been able to complete their first drive.
“It’s unfortunate because I thought early on we got the momentum when we stopped them on their first possession,” North Ridgeville coach Jeff Riesen said. “Then we pretty much took the ball and took it down the field. Then we had an interception and then they took it down and turned it into points.”
Starting at their 30, the Rangers moved the ball to the Midview 13. Then two bad things happened.
First was a 15-yard penalty for a chop block. Then came the interception. That ended whatever hopes North Ridgeville had of jumping on the Middies and gaining momentum.
Midview used seven plays following the interception to score its first touchdown. The key play was a 37-yard Cody Callaway pass to Eric Lauer to the North Ridgeville 12. Johnson took it in from there.
It was Bennett’s turn following a three-and-out by North Ridgeville. Once again the Callaway-Lauer connection set up the score with a 28-yard completion to the Rangers 29. Bennett finished off the five-play drive with an 18-yard run for a 14-0 first-quarter edge.
“I knew my number was going to be called tonight,” Johnson said. “And I was going to do everything I could to help this team get the win for the seniors.”
Midview built the lead to 21-0 at halftime and 34-0 by the end of the third quarter. Callaway connected with Lauer for a 27-yard touchdown just before the end of the third quarter.
The coaching staff challenged the veteran defensive group to prove that last week’s loss wouldn’t define them.
“We challenged them and, boy, they really responded to that,” Albright said.
Footnote: Once again the schools held their food challenge, where the schools collect food for their respective Community Care Centers. Once again Midview came out on top by almost 1,000 items more than North Ridgeville. The big winners are the respective Community Care Centers.