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Lake County Sentinel
Blue Devils end season with 59-7 win over Bison  

(WICKLIFFE, OH) - Friday night closed the season for the visiting Wickliffe Blue Devils and home Beachwood Bison at Beachwood. Neither team had the season they hoped for as the Blue Devils headed into the game 3-6 while Beachwood entered the game 0-9. The Blue Devils were in control from the start, running away with a 59-7 win to finish the season 4-6.

It didn’t take long for Wickliffe to get on the board when Junior Nunzio Zivnoska bolted 41 yards to the end zone, followed by the extra point by Senior kicker Eliza “Automatic” Wills to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead with just 1:10 off the first quarter clock.

After Beachwood turned the ball over on an interception on their first offensive play of the game Wickliffe took possession at the Beachwood 27-yard line. One play later the Blue Devils were up 14-0 after Senior Bobby Plumb rumbled 27 yards to pay dirt and Wills once again converted the xp with 10:41 left on the first quarter clock.

Things did not get any better for the Bison as they threw another interception, and it took three plays for Wickliffe to increase their early first lead to 2-0 when Mike Alstott clone Senior Noah Dohm scampered 13 yards into the end zone with 8:22 left in the first quarter.

The first quarter nightmare continued for Beachwood as they turned the ball over for the third consecutive possession, this time a fumble recovered by Plumb and Wickliffe took possession at the 50-yard line. The Bison did have a positive stand on defense as they held the Blue Devils to a field goal when “Automatic” Wills split the uprights from 21 yards out giving Wickliffe the commanding 24-0 with 4:09 left in the opening quarter.

Things continued much the same in the second quarter as the Bison turned the ball over once more when they fumbled the kickoff after a 44-yard TD run by Senior Chase Bonadio with 9:40 left in the second quarter giving Wickliffe a 31-0 lead. The 31-0 lead initiated the running clock per OHSAA rules. One play after the fumble Blue Devils Senior EJ Mester jetted 37 yards to the endzone extending the Wickliffe lead to 38-0.

The final points of the second half came when Senior Brady Gilbride, with just :36 left on the clock took the ball into the corner of the end zone on an 11-yard run.

Wickliffe scored twice in the second half. The first came on a three-yard TD run by Sophomore Frankie Bucar with 4:48 left in the third quarter. Wickliffe tallied their final points when the Bison fumbled, and Junior Logan Ruscin recovered the ball and carried it eight yards to the end zone giving Wickliffe a 59-0 lead.

Beachwood scored their only points of the game when Senior Josh Rosenberg pounded the ball into the end zone from seven yards and the extra point was converted by Sophomore kicker Tristan Brown.

The Blue Devils ran up 379 yards offensively in the game all rushing on 21 attempts. While the Wickliffe defense allowed only 66 total yards, 36 on the ground and 30 through the air. The defense also forced four turnovers and the special teams forced one.

Bonadio led the Blue Devils in rushing with 96 yards on five attempts. Mester had 74 yards on four carries and Dohm had 59 yards on three attempts.

Wickliffe improved by three games over 2022 where they went 1-9. After a few rough years it looks like Coach Marce Porcello’s Blue Devils are headed back in the right direction in the future.   
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com follow Tim on Twitter @TBBucsTim or follow us on Twitter @LCSentinelcom 
​POSTED 10/21/2023 02:32
                                                                         Photo by Tim Shirer