Mogadore looking for shot at redemption against Youngstown Christian Friday night in Ravenna

By Colin Harris | Staff Writer Published:

Revenge isn't necessarily on Mogadore's mind before tonight's Division VI regional final contest with Youngstown Christian.

But the chance to even the score with the team that eliminated them in the first round of last year's playoffs is a challenge the Wildcats are happy to embrace.

The two teams meet Friday night at Ravenna High School's Gilcrest Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

"We're excited for the challenge," Mogadore head coach Matt Adorni said. "We definitely feel more comfortable having been on the field with these guys before."

The script last year was a clash of stark contrasts. Mogadore, a four-time state champion, came into last year's contest with more regional championships (15) than Youngtown Christian has fielded athletic programs (8).

Tradition is a great thing, but Mogadore's playoff pedigree did not stop the Eagles (9-2) from picking up a 20-17 victory for its first-ever playoff win.

Adorni said his team learned a lot from that setback, and enters tonight's game with a different mindset.

"I think this (Mogadore) team has a little bit more meanness to us than the team last year did," Adorni said. "I really feel like our guys this year are running just a little harder, hitting a little harder and playing a little harder on every page."

In last week's regional semifinal contests, Youngstown Christian got a 25-20 victory over Malvern, while Mogadore (12-0) rolled past Western Reserve, 28-7.

Mogadore will need to play its best game so far as it will be squaring off with one of the most athletic teams on its schedule.

"You don't get this far in the postseason if you're not a very good football team," Adorni said. "We're not overlooking Youngstown Christian because they've beaten us before.

"In terms of how they compare to teams we've played, they're a blazing fast team like Woodridge."

Mogadore was successful in containing the Woodridge offense in 35-28 Week 4 victory.

To stop Youngstown Christian, Adorni said, the Wildcats' defense will have to remember the fundamentals.

"Youngstown Christian is a team that can make you look silly if you can't tackle," Adorni said. "We're going to have to make open-field, one-on-one tackles because those are the situations we'll find ourselves in (defensively).

"(Making open-field stops) was a big problem for Malvern last week in their loss to Youngstown Christian," Adorni said of the 212 yards rushing on just 19 carries that Eagles running back Ryan Grier posted in Week 12.

The Eagles are led by Grier (1,532 yards, 17 touchdowns) and quarterback Emmett Underwood (1,340 yards, 17 touchdowns to eight interceptions). Receiver Darrien Townsend is a big-play weapon for Youngstown Christian, posting 34 catches for 570 yards and nine touchdowns as a part of an over 1,000 all-purpose yard and 14 total touchdown season.

On defense, KaeVon Green leads the way with an eye-popping 22 sacks and 70 tackles.

Adorni said that this year's Youngstown Christian team is different than the Eagles squad he saw a year ago in one major aspect.

"This Youngstown Christian team seems more like a big play team this year, whereas last year's team was more drive-oriented," Adorni said. "We know exactly what they're going to try to do with the big play -- it's just a matter of if we're able to stop it."

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