Edgewood routs Talawanda for fifth straight win

Edgewood's Braden Sullivan crosses the goal line ahead as Talawanda's Ryan Wright pursues during a game at Kumler Field on Oct. 8, 2021. Nick Graham/STAFF
Caption
Edgewood's Braden Sullivan crosses the goal line ahead as Talawanda's Ryan Wright pursues during a game at Kumler Field on Oct. 8, 2021. Nick Graham/STAFF

Olympic medalist helps Cougars celebrate homecoming

TRENTON -- Jay Volker looked across the artificial turf at Edgewood’s Kumler Field and saw where he wanted his Talawanda football team to be.

The first-year Brave coach had just finished watching his team get demolished by the Cougars, 49-14, in a Southwest Ohio Conference game that was played with a running clock in the second half after Edgewood took a 35-0 lead into halftime.

“Obviously, it wasn’t very pretty,” Volker said. “That was a drumming, from top to bottom – offensively, defensively and special teams.”

ExplorePHOTOS: Edgewood vs. Talawanda

Working in Edgewood’s trademark Wing-T offense, junior fullback Tavionne Crosby scored three touchdowns and senior running back Jaquan Dailey added two as the Cougars improved to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the Southwest Ohio Conference with a fifth straight win going into a crucial game on Friday against Ross at Kumler Field. Ross is 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the SWOC after Friday’s 55-17 win over Harrison.

Edgewood celebrated Homecoming with a special guest. Swimmer Zach Apple, a 2015 graduate, was on hand to serve as the parade grand marshal. The two gold medals he won while anchoring the United States Olympic 100-meter freestyle relay and 100-meter medley relay teams this summer at the Tokyo Olympics hung on red, white and blue round his neck.

“This was a great night,” Crosby said. “We’ve just got to keep going.”

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One of Edgewood coach Scott Clemmons’ main concerns going into the game was his team looking past Talawanda, which dropped to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the SWOC.

“One-win teams can be dangerous,” he pointed out. “They’ve got nothing to lose, They’re like wounded animals. They’re going to come out scratching and clawing.”

“We knew Talawanda isn’t Ross,” Crosby said. “Ross is harder. We’re looking forward to that.”

Edgewood's Tavionne Crosby carries the ball in for a touchdown during their football game against Talawanda Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 at Edgewood's Kumler Field. The Cougars won 49-14. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
Edgewood's Tavionne Crosby carries the ball in for a touchdown during their football game against Talawanda Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 at Edgewood's Kumler Field. The Cougars won 49-14. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Edgewood took care of business, punting on its first possession before scoring touchdowns on its next five and just missing a 45-yard field goal try on its final possession of the first half. Crosby increased the lead to 42-0 late in the third quarter before Talawanda unveiled a flea-flicker. Freshman quarterback Cale Leitch pitched back to junior running back D.J. Morris-Williams, who connected with junior wide receiver Hayden Marcum for a 79-yard touchdown in the last minute of the third quarter.

Marcum also caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Leitch in the fourth quarter.

“It wasn’t the fight in us,” Volker said. “They’re just bigger and faster and stronger.

“They beat us up front. That’s where it starts. You could tell our lack of depth and size up front.”

Volker is hoping to instill a change in the Talawanda culture that will get players into the weight room during the offseason instead of waiting until practice starts in August. He figured Edgewood’s players were in the weight room on the first day allowed by Ohio High School Athletic Association rules after the end of the previous season.

“One of our starters showed up on August 2,” he said.

He also pointed out that Talawanda doesn’t have freshman or junior varsity teams and started at least as many freshmen against Edgewood as seniors.

“They’re running an offense their kids start running in the fourth or fifth or sixth grade,” he said.

Still, Volker wasn’t completely dismissing his team’s chances at pulling out some sort of salvation from this season, especially since the Brave wrap up the regular season with home games against Mount Healthy and Northwest. Talawanda went into Friday’s game ranked 21st in the weekly Harbin computer ratings. Edgewood was seventh.

“With the 16-team playoff, who knows what can happen?” he said. “If we beat Mount Healthy and Northwest, maybe we can squeak in.”