Spartans use strong ground game to defeat Tigers

Sep. 9—CHAGRIN FALLS — When Conneaut running back Wyatt Payne looks at quarterback Max Gleason, he pretty much see's himself.

"We are pretty much the same exact person," Payne said of his senior classmate after the pair combined for 332 yards rushing in a 21-0 win at Chagrin Falls in a Chagrin Valley Conference crossover matchup of 2-1 teams entering Friday night.

"We are the same height, almost the same strength, and almost the same speed." Payne continued of the pair that lead the Star Beacon coverage area in rushing this season. "We have the same running ability, and we pretty much are the 'Dynamic Duo' in the backfield, and it really makes me happy."

Payne was all smiles after the game. He rushed for a career-high 230 yards on 27 carries and a pair of touchdowns.

Gleason, also a senior, did damage as well. He rushed for 102 yards on 17 carries and a scored touchdown of his own.

"When one of us gets keyed on, the other takes over," Payne said.

Conneaut coach Rocco Dobran praised the ability of his two standouts, but was also quick to point to his entire offense in helping make that happen.

"Our offensive line has been absolutely dominant the last couple of games," Dobran said. "And our receivers have been so unselfish. All they do is block, block, block knowing they aren't going to get many attempts."

The Spartans scored on their opening possession, marching 98 yards on 14 plays, which included 13 runs.

Gleason converted a key 4th down with a 5-yard run midway through the drive, before Payne capped it off with a 36-yard jaunt to take a 7-0 lead.

Neither team scored in the second quarter, although Chagrin Falls missed a 32-yard field goal on the last play of the half.

Gleason scored on a 6-yard fourth-down run to cap a 11-play drive to open the half, giving the Spartans a 14-0 lead.

Then, Payne left no doubt of the outcome with a 12-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

Conneaut amassed 329 yards of offense.

And the defense posted its second shutout of the season, holding the Tigers to 129 total yards, including just 33 yards rushing.

"Our defensive coordinator [Tim Talbacka[ does a great job of putting our defensive game plan together," Dobran said. "Our linebackers are phenomenal, our D-Line has been phenomenal, and our young DBs are starting to get to where they need to be."

Conneaut will

look to continue its winning ways, hosting Hawken in a battle of 3-1 teams Thursday evening.

Chagrin Falls (2-2) travels to Edgewood (3-1) the same night.