ORCHARD PARK — A mid-Novemeber snow storm hit the Buffalo area prior to Saturday’s Section VI Class C championship game, covering the field at Highmark Stadium with a thick blanket of snow throughout the contest between No. 1 seed Medina and No. 3 seed Fredonia.
But it was a Mustangs stampede the completely hit over the overmatched Hillbillies.
Greg Thompson, Xander Payne and Noah Skinner each rushed for over 100 yards and Medina racked up nearly 600 yards on the ground as it absolutely annihilated Fredonia 58-6 to capture the program’s second straight Section VI Class C crown and its first at the home of the Buffalo Bills since 1988.
Thompson led the way with 262 yards and four TDs on just 10 carries, Payne finished with 192 yards and three scores on 19 totes and Skinner finished with 115 yards and score with five two-point conversion runs as the Mustangs ran 48 times for a whopping 590 yards in the win
The senior QB Payne had run for just 185 yards and four TDs on the entire season before Saturday when he had 174 yards on the ground and three touchdowns — all in the second quarter — in the opening half as Medina opened up a commanding 32-6 lead at the break.
“In the beginning of the game, the snow was coming down really hard but once we got going, with the adrenaline flowing, you could really notice that we just played our way of football,” Payne said.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs defense was once again impressive as Skinner had nine total tackles and Joe Cecchini added eight as Medina forced three turnovers in the sloppy conditions, while holding the Hillbillies to just 190 yards of total offense.
Medina appeared as though it was going to score on its first possession of the game when on the sixth play of the opening drive Thompson took a counter off the right side and looked as though he was going to score before he fumbled on the four yard-line, which was recovered by Fredonia.
The two teams then traded punts until late in the opening quarter when Medina started to take over.
On the second play of Medina’s third possession of the day, Payne took a keeper right up the middle and raced 71 yards down to the Fredonia 20 on the final play of the opening quarter. Three plays later, Payne again kept it, this time from five yards out to put the Mustangs up 8-0 with 10:40 left in the first half after a Skinner two-point run.
On the Hillbillies’ next possession, quarterback Nick Whitfield fumbled, which was recovered by the Mustangs on their own 46 yard-line. Less than three minutes later, Payne struck again, this time on a third-and-10 when he scampered 28 yards untouched around the right side for a 16-0 advantage. And the rout was on.
Medina proceeded to force and three-and-out on Fredonia’s next possession, which resulted in a bad snap on a punt attempt, which was recovered, again, by the Mustangs. On the very next play, Thompson raced 32 yards for a 24-0 lead with 4:42 left in the half.
Following another three-and-out, Payne got into the action again, this time with a 56-yard TD run and it was 32-0 with two-and-a-half minutes left before the break.
With Fredonia’s only big play of the afternoon, Whitfield raced 63 yards for a score with just 37 seconds left in the half to close the gap to 32-6 but it would never be in doubt the rest of the way.
Other than the long Whitfield run, Medina held the Hillbillies to just 27 yards rushing on 24 carries. Meanwhile, Whitfield — one of the most talented passers in Section VI — struggled in the poor weather, as he finished the day just 9-of-30 through the air for 72 yards and an interception.
On the other side, Medina set the tone early and ran for over 300 yards in the first half.
The domination would continue on both sides of the ball in the second half as Skinner broke off of 39-yard TD run to make it 40-6 midway through the third quarter before the Thompson show took over in the fourth.
Thompson, a senior, had just 271 yards rushing and one rushing score on the season in the first 10 games before he would finish off the Hillbillies with TD runs of 44, 82, and 45 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the easy win.
“This definitely means a lot because not a lot of people get this opportunity,” Medina senior Jarin Rhim said.
The Mustangs defense would hold Fredonia to just 63 yards of total offense in the second half as they improved to 11-0 overall and won for the 17th straight game.
Medina will meet the Section V winner between East Rochester/Gananda and Bath-Haverling in the Class C Far West Regional final next weekend.
“As long as we stay together as a team and execute plays, we should be good. We’ve just got to execute 100 percent every time,” Rhim said.