The Roughriders trailed 14-12 at halftime, but erupted for 30 points over the final two quarters while the defense held the Dukes to one TD in that same stretch.
“Really proud of the way our kids fought,” Western Reserve coach Ty Stevenson said. “Our offense was outstanding tonight and did a great job of blocking for Cody up front. Just a really good win. It was a long game, but a great start to the season to come out of here with the win.”
Western opened the season with a big play as JJ Weisenberger caught a 57-yard pass from Jude Muenz. The Dalton Webb kick was blocked for the 6-0 lead.
After Wellington scored on a 20-yard TD pass, Benesh got his big night started with a 50-yard TD run to give the ‘Riders a 12-7 advantage.
However, the Dukes responded with an 11-yard TD run for a 14-12 lead, which is where things stood at halftime.
Benesh scored from three yards out in the third quarter, then the big running back traded scores with the Dukes. Wellington came back with a 35-yard scoring strike, but Benesh capped a drive with his third score of the night on a 20-yard run for a 28-21 lead.
Wellington then returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to tie the game at 28.
But not to be outdone, Benesh scored on a 64-yard TD run to begin the fourth quarter, and Webb’s kick gave the ‘Riders a 35-28 lead with 11:48 left.
The Roughriders then got a key defensive stop, and Benesh broke things open for the ‘Riders with a 2-yard score with eight minutes left. Webb’s kick made it 42-28.
The Dukes then pulled within 42-34 with 2:36 left on a 61-yard pass, but the ‘Riders ran out the clock for the win.
Muenz was 11-of-19 passing for 113 yards and a TD, as Weisenberger caught four passes for 81 yards and the score.
All told, the Roughriders racked up 471 yards of offense on 60 snaps.
Western Reserve is back in action next week when it travels to Castalia to face Margaretta.
W. Reserve 6 6 16 14 — 42
Wellington 0 14 14 6 — 34
WR — JJ Weisenberger 57 pass from Jude Muenz (kick blocked)
WR — Cody Benesh 50 run
WEL — Jon Brasee 20 pass from Ben Higgins (Dudziak kick)
WEL — Mason McClellan 11 run (Dudziak kick)
WR — Benesh 3 run (pass failed)
WEL — Brasee 35 pass from Higgins (Dudziak kick)
WR — Benesh 20 run (Riley Suhr from Jude Muenz)
WEL — Kaleb Taylor 74 kick return (Dudziak kick)
WR — Benesh 64 run (Dalton Webb kick)
WR — Benesh 2 run (Webb kick)
WEL — McClellan 61 pass from Higgins (kick failed)
Edison 40, Firelands 25
MILAN — Both teams in Friday night's season opening gridiron clash at Edison High School felt they had something to prove after disappointing 2018 campaigns.
Both Edison and the visiting Firelands Falcons have had a stretch of success heading in to last year, including deep playoff runs for the host Chargers, losing seasons for both teams left a bitter taste in their mouths.
A good start could set the tone for the rest of the year.
Edison got what it was looking for. Behind a punishing rushing attack and a very good run defense, the Chargers walked off the field with a 40-25 victory on Friday in Milan. Spurred by a five-touchdown effort from fullback Jacob Brewer, including a 25-yard run with under three minutes to play that provided the dagger, the Chargers put teams on notice that they are not to be taken lightly.
"We found out a little about ourselves," Edison coach Jim Hall told his team after the game. "This is what football is all about."
The first half saw polar opposites of the respective offenses, as Edison found its success on the ground while the Falcons gained their yardage mainly through the air.
The Chargers workhorse was the 6-foot, 215-pound. Brewer, who gained finished the night with 233 yards on 19 carries. He had 108 yards on 10 attempts by halftime. He had touchdown runs of 2 and 8 yards in the first half, then added 8 and 9 yard runs before his final burst to put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter.
Edison did lose three of four fumbles, two of which directly led to Falcon points, including a short 12-yard touchdown drive. The Chargers also had 10 penalties for 73 yards, correctable errors, according to Hall.
"We've got a ton of stuff to fix," Hall said. “What we don't have to fix is effort."
The Chargers had a slim 14-10 halftime lead, and traded scores with Firelands throughout the game until Brewers back-to-back touchdown runs in the final period.
Edison now owns a 4-1 record in the series, which began in 2015.
Edison travels Friday to Seneca East in a non-conference matchup to try to continue the momentum.
Firelands 7 3 15 0 — 25
Edison 7 7 13 13 — 40
E — Jacob Brewer 2 run (Remington Bauer kick)
F — Caden Bomback 14 run (Evan Tester kick)
E — Brewer 8 run (Bauer kick)
F — Tester 38 field goal
E — Joe Stoll 28 run (Bauer kick)
F — Carter Janicek 3 run (Jacob Fraley run)
E — Brewer 8 run (kick blocked)
F — Bomback 88 kick off return (Tester kick)
E — Brewer 9 run (run failed)
E — Brewer 25 run (Gsrrett McQuillen kick)
Plymouth 48, Cardington-Lincoln 18
PLYMOUTH — The Big Red started out the 2019 season with a bang by routing visiting Cardington-Lincoln on Friday at Alumni Field.
The Big Red raced out to a 36-0 halftime lead and never looked back.
Lukas Montgomery scored on a 9-yard TD run, while Stevens added an 11-yard score and a 6-yard TD — while QB Walker Elliot scored on runs of 13 and 9 yards in the first half.
Stevens ran 14 times for 111 yards, with Montgomery adding 54 yards on eight attempts. Elliot ran three times for 29 yards and passed for 49 yards on 5-of-6 passing.tw