- 1 of 2 Photos | View More Photos
A new-look Twinsburg football team picked up its first win of the season in a big victory at North Royalton.
The 28-27 victory at Serpentini Stadium not only notched the first win for Twinsburg (1-3), but also opened play in the Suburban League National Division Sept. 16.
In the process, Twinsburg head coach Mike Bell collected his 100th career win.
"The guys had a great week of preparation and they gave a great effort and made plays to win," said Bell.
"I think reaching 100 wins says a lot about how fortunate I have been with the players and coaches that I have worked with through the years," added the coach.
North Royalton rallied from a 14-point deficit to close within a single point, but Twinsburg's defense made stops when it had to.
It was Twinsburg's first victory since the 2015 season finale -- a wild 46-35 win over Cuyahoga Falls Oct. 30.
The Bears (1-3, 0-1) had a chance to win with a late field goal, but the kick was wide left.
"Our defense had a strong game against the run and we made plays," noted Bell.
After a Bear punt in a defensive-led first quarter, Twinsburg seized a 7-0 lead with under 2:00 left as sophomore quarterback Adam Van de Motter tossed a 14-yard touchdown strike to sophomore wide receiver Tre Radford. Senior Casey McCarthy booted the PAT.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears answered when Eddie Pfister returned the ball 94 yards for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7. He totaled 169 return yards.
In the second quarter, the Tigers scored when junior wide out Christian Edgerson exploded for a 50-yard TD run on a jet sweep. McCarthy's kick made it 14-7.
With 10:00 left, freshman Bear quarterback Joe Marousek struck quick with an 84-yard catch and run pass to Brad Kmetz down the sideline. It made it 14-14, which was the score at the half.
The Tigers took the opening second half kickoff and drove for a score as Edgerson scored again on a 48-yard TD run on another jet sweep to make the score 21-14.
"Christian has been a good threat in our quick passing game and the jet sweeps get him more touches," said Bell.
Edgerson amassed 151 all-purpose yards as he had three rushes for a career high 106 yards and 2 TD's.
Twinsburg's special teams came up big after foiling a fake punt by the Bears.
That stop set up another Edgerson score -- this time on a 21-yard pass from Van de Motter. McCarthy's kick pushed it to 28-14.
"Van de Motter played well and we feel good about him," said Bell, who has been using both Van de Motter with senior Jalen Tucker at the same time.
The speedy Tucker can be lined up in the slot, at wide out or in the backfield as the signal caller, or as a back.
"We want to continue to mix things up with those two athletes," noted Bell. "I think it makes us better. Both also play on defense as well."
Pfister took the ensuing kickoff 50 yards and two plays later, Marousek tossed a 44-yard touchdown pass to Adam Barret to cut the lead to 28-21.
Forced to punt, Twinsburg punted the ball away. A key 22-yard scamper by Marousek and a Zack Antonio 11-yard gain moved the ball to the 9-yard line, where Domenic Carriero raced 9 yards for a TD.
However, the Bears missed the game tying extra point. It was Twinsburg 28-27 late in the third quarter.
Twinsburg's defense tightened, but the hosts did move the ball off a drive that started with 8:23 left at their own 33.
North Royalton would convert a pair of first downs on fourth down conversions, but stalled and had to try a 37-yard field goal with 1:13 left. The kick sailed wide left and the Tigers ran out the clock.
Van de Motter was 9-18 passing for 162 yards, 2 TD's and no interceptions. He added three rushes for 33 yards.
Radford had a team-high five catches for 59 yards and a TD.
"Tre is an incredible young talent and he can create problems for opposing defenses," said Bell, who hopes to improve on his club's nine penalties for 143 yards.
Tucker is now a triple threat -- he had 130 total yards. He was 4-5 passing for 70 yards and no picks, plus he had 10 rushes for 41 yards, and a catch for 19 yards.
Twinsburg's offense had 430 yards, 19 first downs, and hit 40 percent on third-down conversions.
Junior back Cam'Ron McClain had 10 totes for 22 yards and had a 53-yard reception. Sophomore wide out James Besett added three catches for 45 yards.
Senior Jared Eaton had an interception on defense and is another dual threat on offense. He had two catches for 35 yards and three rushes for 8 yards.
Defensive leaders were bountiful. Linebackers James Grammens (a junior) and Isaiah Savitt (sophomore) excelled.
"Savitt continues to play well, but we had so many kids play well on defense, it was a team effort," noted Bell. "We gave up a big play, but that happens in this league."
Senior Josh Flask also played well and had a 29-yard punt return. Senior Tim Edwards also played well along with sophomores Nick Baker and Rashad Jonesland. They all had a tackle for a loss while Grammens and Savitt each had two.
Marousek passed for 214 yards and rushed for 59 yards for the Bears.
"He [Marousek] will be a good one," said Bell, of the 6-foot-1 freshman.
Twinsburg plays at Brecksville-Broadview Heights in a league clash Sept. 23. Brecksville (4-0, 1-0) has an explosive offense. Bell hopes sophomore offensive linemen Brandon Kresak can return from injury in a couple of weeks.