Tri-Valley dealing with loss of Aidan Fritter, elite Wadsworth offense

By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

Tri-Valley pulled off an upset few saw coming against Barberton in the opening round of the playoffs, but now has a new set of challenges ahead.

Sophomore Swiss army knife Aidan Fritter went down in the third quarter and did not return. Even though the team still managed to pull out a 10-0 win, Scotties coach Kevin Fell confirmed some very unfortunate news for the quarterback/running back/receiver.

“He broke his wrist, and he’s getting a cast on it today,” he said during Thursday’s practice. “He came down on it (awkwardly) around the third quarter.”

Fritter was the leading passer for the Scotties in the win over the Magics, as well making a game-high five catches. In his place will be senior Luke Fargus, who is also dealing with some shoulder soreness, according to Fell.

Wadsworth will undoubtedly be the biggest test Tri-Valley has all season long, Fritter or no Fritter. The high-powered offense for the Grizzlies ripped off 633 yards of total offense, thanks to running back tandem of junior Dom Loparo and senior Brock Snowball.

An experienced offensive line has led the way for Wadsworth, who is coming off a 2017 campaign where the team reached the regional semifinals, only to fall to Olmsted Falls, 21-20. But this team looks far different than last year’s.

Tri-Valley might have to lean on its rushing attack heavily, given the loss of Fritter. Jordan Pantaleo struggled against the Magics with 14 carries for just 24 yards, while Blake Sands put forth a solid 16 carry, 76-yard clip.

Dealing with the Wadsworth defense and senior middle linebacker Mason McMillen will be a burden all night. McMillen has been a force manning the middle of the field on defense the last two years, earning 92 solo tackles last season and 110 total tackles this year.

For Fell and his team, the attitude remains the same — play hard, play fast and play like you’re supposed to be here. Tri-Valley has the right mental attitude of being able to beat any team at any time, but that mentality will be put to the test Friday night,

Fell is planning on another big night defensively to keep the Scotties season alive.

“We’re going to go as far as our defense will take us,” he said. “Our defense played tremendous last week. We actually played pretty well offensively, we just did not score. We moved the ball well, we had opportunities to score. We just kind of broke down. Our defense was lights out.”

For Fell, it’s the 14th time he’s made it to the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs, while Tri-Valley as a team has a its own well-known streak. The pairing of a Hall of Fame coach and a team that’s like royalty in the Muskingum Valley League has proven fruitful so far, but the true measure of the Scotties comes down to Friday night’s outcome and beyond.

Friday’s game will kickoff at 7 p.m. from Crater Stadium in Dover, Ohio.