File photo For the first time in a century, the Medina and Albion football teams won't meet on the gridiron this season.

MEDINA — The Medina football team will compete in Class C this season for the first time in school history.

Last season, the Mustangs merged with Lyndonville and Barker. But with the dissolution of the merger this offseason, Medina dropped down a classification along with five other Section VI schools who made a move from ‘B’ to ‘C’.

“We have a good blend of size up front and speed and experience at the skill positions,” said Mustangs head coach Eric Valley. “We’re excited to be playing football again and looking to be competitive in a tough division.”

Senior running back Brian Fry leads a list of returning starters. Fry recorded nearly 700 yards of total offense a season ago, including nine touchdowns. From his defensive back position, Fry made 62 tackles to go with five interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

“Brian is one of the most complete athletes I have ever coached - offense, defense and special teams,” said Valley. “He plays multiple positions, so it’s difficult for teams to game plan for him. He elevates the play of his teammates.”

Joining him in the backfield will be junior Iverson Poole, who will take starting RB snaps when Fry moves to the outside to wide receiver. Also on the outside, senior wideout Tyler Chinn is expected to have a big year, while junior tight ends Joe Cecchini and Jarin Rhim will contribute as well.

“We have a nice blend of size, speed and experience,” added Valley.

Rhim was the team’s starting quarterback last season, but coming off of a solid campaign on the JV squad, junior QB Xander Payne will take the reins under center for the Mustangs this season.

“Jarin filled in for us last year when we didn’t have a true QB - he is a better WR/TE, where he prefers to play,” said Valley. “Xander played a bit on varsity last season and we felt it was the best combination for us offensively to make that move.”

Up front, Medina will be led by senior offensive lineman Robert Morehouse, who will be joined by fellow senior OL Mitchell Silversmith and sophomore Chris Johnson.

First-year lineman Zach Oliver and Chase Weese, both juniors, will also help Medina’s cause, as will sophomore fullback Dominic Larabee and senior linebacker Corey Saj.

“Last year, the top teams in Class C were Wilson, Akron and Salamanca,” said Valley. “Along with the five schools moving from ‘B’ to ‘C’, defending state champion Clyde-Sherman-Panama are up from Class D.”

It won’t be easy for the Mustangs to find their way in their new classification, but they’re off to a good start. Medina opened the season with a 50-0 win over Newfane on Thursday night.

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