The High School Game of the Week is presented by Ohio CAT and in association with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and Raising Cane's.
Our week 1 winner is the St. Edwards Eagles who defeated the Massillon Tigers 24-23 in Friday's opener.
This week we met with Coach Tom Lombardo from the Eagles.
Now let's go "Inside the Hudl" where we'll discuss top plays from last week's game.
- Massillon received the opening kickoff – drove down the field and picked up three points on a field goal attempt by placekicker Alex Bauer.
- However, as we will see Joel Castleberry would return the ensuing kick 95 yards for a touchdown.
Cleveland Browns: Coach, can you take us through this play?
Coach Lombardo: The Eagles had a middle return set up, the correct blocking was set up and Joel Castleberry made a phenomenal play.
- Defense and special teams would be key factors for the victory Friday night.
Browns: Did you stress defense and special teams this offseason?
Coach: We stress special teams and defense every year. Our special teams coordinator does a great job. This year in particular, we knew it was very important due to the shortened offseason.
- Massillon's Jayden Ballard would catch two touchdowns before you would put three more points on the board with 6:05 left in the second quarter.
Browns: How difficult was it to try and contain the Ohio State commit?
Coach: We actually thought his best play was the one-hand play on defense. We saw a wide receiver playing defense and thought we could possibly turn him around, but he made an incredible play. He is definitely worthy of his four-star status, Ohio State got a good one.
- Massillon would take the lead going in to half 20-10.
Browns: What was your speech to the team during the delayed halftime?
Coach: It was an hour long halftime so it was difficult to give them a speech for that long (laughter). I just told them to keep at it. If we cut the score down to one possession by the end of the third quarter, we'd have a chance.
- The Eagles first possession on offense in the second half would result in a failed fourth down conversion. However, Noah Rios would sack the Tiger's QB to force a punt. The punt was miss hit - which was a pivotal play as the Eagles would take over at their own 47 yard line.
- On this possession, the Eagles would have two big plays. Malachi Watkins would start the drive off with a run up the middle of the Tigers defense.
Browns: What was the key to spring this play open?
Coach: We actually had this play earlier in the game, but the quarterback made the wrong read. We came back to this play, an inside zone, and it was blocked properly. Malachi made a great run.
- Christian Ramos would later connect with Andrew Cook for a touchdown bringing the Eagles within three points of the Tigers – 3:23 left in the third quarter at this point.
Browns: Great play call, can you tell us what happened on this play?
Coach: It was an old school Larry Kehres (legendary University of Mount Union Head Coach) play. Tight end under. We had two crossers and Andrew slipped open for the touchdown.
- Both teams would play stout defense in the third and the score remained 20-17 at the end of three quarters.
- In the fourth quarter, senior linebacker CJ Hankins would come up with a HUGE interception for your Eagles defense.
Browns: Can you take us through this play? What was CJ's responsibility?
Coach: Yeah, CJ appeared to be blitzing on this play and then dropped back into the curl zone and made a big play.
- The next play on offense was a fumbled snap, but that would set up the double pass. Incredible call!
Browns: Why did you dial up the double pass at this time?
Coach: Hey Darrell, it's better to be lucky than good sometimes. It was late in the game and we are in the playoffs, let's go for it. It probably won't work later in the season. The cornerback got sucked in and we made a play.
- That play would tie the game, and the extra point would put the Eagles on top with a final score of 24-23.
Browns: Great game, coach! We appreciate you spending time with us today on the very first episode of "Cleveland Browns: Inside the Hudl."
Coach: Thank you, and good luck the rest of the way!