- 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos
After last year's come-from-behind 24-21 win at Wadsworth, Stow-Munroe Falls football coach Mark Nori wanted his team to start quickly.
The Bulldogs made sure there would be no need for last-drive heroics this season.
Stow's passing attack led the Bulldogs to a 21-0 lead after one quarter. Stow then cruised to a 38-15 win over Wadsworth Sept. 16 at Bulldog Stadium.
Stow improved to 4-0, 1-0 in the Suburban League National Conference, while Wadsworth dropped to 1-3, 0-1 in the National Conference.
Nori said the Bulldogs' fast start was vital.
"We thought that was an important thing because last year, they fought us to the last drive of the game," Nori said. "They had nine guys back on defense, so they had a good idea of what we do."
"Going into the game, we had a game plan to pass the ball," said quarterback Kyle Vantrease, noting Wadsworth played good run defense.
The passing game was the difference in the contest, as Stow finished with a 284-33 edge in passing yards. The Bulldogs' defense held Wadsworth starting quarterback Joey Baughman to 1-of-11 passing for 9 yards.
Vantrease had no such issues. He completed five passes on the first drive, which culminated with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Joe Andrassy with 9:29 left in the first quarter.
Vantrease had one of the most efficient nights of his career, going 15-of-17 for 245 yards and three touchdowns -- all in the first half.
"He definitely was efficient tonight," Nori said. "He has so much faith in his arm and his receivers."
After forcing a three-and-out, Stow marched 73 yards in eight plays on its next drive. Running back Terrian Wray capped the drive by sweeping left for a 10-yard touchdown run.
Wray led the Bulldogs with 51 yards rushing and a touchdown on just six carries.
Wadsworth then had a screen pass picked off by Stow's Bryce Sheppert and returned to the Grizzly 29.
Two plays later, Vantrease found Andrassy in the end zone again, this time from nine yards with 3:07 left in the first quarter.
Stow went to its bag of tricks midway through the second quarter. The Bulldogs ran the hook-and-ladder play, as wide receiver Jared Wright caught the ball before pitching it to guard Matt Esterle.
Esterle rumbled 27 yards down to the Grizzly 13.
"That's about the only way that play will get called -- when they give it to one of my offensive linemen," Nori said. "It's exciting for the guys to run a play like that."
"I was electrified when they called it," Vantrease said. "[Esterle] did a lot better with it than I thought he would."
On the next play, Vantrease found a more traditional target -- wide receiver Logan Lindsay -- for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 7:02 left in the half.
Lindsay finished with five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, while Andrassy had six catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.
"I'm super confident in both of them," Vantrease said. "We've been playing together since we were little kids."
Wadsworth's best chance to score in the first half came when Stow muffed a punt and the Grizzlies recovered the ball at the Bulldog 12.
However, a 23-yard field goal attempt by Conner Mendel went wide right.
Stow reacted with a quick drive, which saw Vantrease hit Andrassy with a pass down to the Grizzly 12.
Junior kicker Gavin Costello then came on and hit a 29-yard field goal from the left hash mark as the first half expired.
Costello was also 2-of-2 on extra-point attempts, after Vantrease hit the first three extra points for Stow.
Stow had its reserve players on for the entire second half, but the backups added to the lead late in the third quarter.
Junior quarterback Coryon Rice threw a screen pass to Sheppert, which he turned into a 20-yard touchdown with 1:42 left in the third.
Wadsworth was able to avoid the shutout thanks to a pair of touchdown passes by backup quarterback Tyler Caudill late in the fourth quarter.
Stow was to host Nordonia Sept. 23 for its homecoming game, but results were not available at press time.
The Bulldogs next will travel to Twinsburg Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.