GV smells win over Bombers
WINDHAM — The wafting from the grill overcame your senses as you entered Ed Liddle Field.
It was followed by a sweet smell. Elephant ears? It made you wonder why you didn’t get something at the concession stand instead of waiting in an excruciating long line at McDonald’s on the way home.
Grand Valley was a little more decisive against Windham, the Portage County town located 20 minutes west of Warren, during Friday’s 27-18 victory.
Fans filled the metallic stands, but their attention was also divided — looking at their phones, watching and listening to Game 2 of the American League Division Series in which the Cleveland Indians eventually defeated the New York Yankees in extra innings.
Time didn’t stand still for Grand Valley and Windham. Bombers boys basketball coach Marty Hill, who operated the scoreboard on the east side of the stadium, made sure the logistics went off without a hitch.
The same could be said of Michael McGovern.
The Grand Valley senior quarterback orchestrated a well-crafted offensive attack, threading passes to receivers. He executed the three-step drop, saw Jerone Evans run a 45-degree angle across the field, catching the ball in mid stride. One of 12 completions on the night for McGovern.
“It’s chills,” McGovern said. “You connect with someone. It’s great.”
His passing attack and rushing amassed more than 300 yards, which came at a good time for the undefeated Mustangs (7-0, 3-0 Northeastern Athletic Conference).
Eduardo Hernandez, a quick-strike artist who has the propensity for long rushing plays, was quelled by the aggressive defensive attack of Windham (5-2, 2-1). Hernandez couldn’t jet to the outside and find any running room against the Bombers — and was held to less than 40 yards.
Finding space wasn’t an issue as Hernandez took a dump-off pass from McGovern, found a sliver of space and used his track speed to leave a Windham defender at least 5 yards behind in the first quarter for a 75-yard pass reception.
“He just makes moves I’ve never seen anybody make,” McGovern said. “It’s an easy throw for me. Seventy-five yard touchdown, I only have to throw 5 yards.”
McGovern earlier had a 75-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the first quarter.
The two scores amassed 150 yards in four plays. Guess Grand Valley still had its afterburners intact.
“That was our game plan coming in here,” Grand Valley coach John Glavickas said.
The Bombers found themselves down by 17 late in the first quarter, but decided the mistakes Windham made on defense on the speedy GV scores wouldn’t happen again. Time for some ball control by the Bombers. They countered the Mustangs with a pair of scores from Phillip Maiorca to trim the GV lead to five by halftime.
Maiorca, the 5-foot-6, 140-pound junior tailback, has some stops and starts which flustered the Mustangs en route to his third and final touchdown, which cut the GV lead to 24-18 with 11:41 remaining.
“He’s all heart,” Windham coach Anthony Maiorca said of his son, who had three rushing touchdowns. “He’s 140 pounds soaking wet. He’s probably 135, but he likes saying 140. He has no quit in him. His field vision is really good. His start, stop time is really good. He can stop, then go. He does a real good job of reading blocks.”
Brandyn Spoon kicked a 29-yard field goal with 2:18 remaining, completing an elongated drive.
Windham threw an interception in the last minute and a half. From there, GV went into victory formation.
The Bombers missed a conversion and a couple of extra points. Spoon is a soccer player who came out for the team this year. Something Glavickas is glad about as his team has the NAC title all but assured, if the Mustangs keep winning the next two weeks against Pymatuning Valley and Mathews.
Spoon actually wasn’t on the roster, but made a key score to force Windham to score twice to surpass the Mustangs.
“He’s a weapon for us,” he said. “We didn’t have that going into the season.”
With the win, the Mustangs remain in the top four in Division V, Region 17, against a Windham team which was fifth in Division VII, Region 25 coming into Friday’s game.
Grand Valley made the postseason last season, but realized it didn’t have a multi-faceted attack. With McGovern, it sure does.
“On a night like tonight where they shut Eddie down, Michael stepped up,” Glavickas said.