Everybody in the Southwestern Conference probably wondered how Westlake would react to losing its first game of the 2012 season.
The answer came quickly and decisively Friday night at Lou Duchez Field.
The Demons got three touchdowns in the first half from senior Logan Paul and shutout visiting Olmsted Falls most of the way in a 26-6 win on Homecoming and Alumni Night. Westlake, ranked ninth in the OHSAA Division II Region 6 Computer Ratings, moved to 5-1 overall.
Westlake also kept pace in the SWC race at 2-1, with a big game coming up next Friday night at Avon Lake. But on this Friday night, head coach Mark Campo talked about how his Demons rebounded from last week’s 18-15 overtime loss at North Olmsted.
“I thought it was extremely important for us to come out strong on both sides of the ball tonight,” Campo said. “We had to see how we would bounce back and answer any questions about how this team would react.
“Plus we had Homecoming going on and our Alumni Night, so there were other distractions going on throughout the week. Our kids went back to work, were able to focus and managed not to get distracted. We bounced back quite well,” he added.
Westlake scored on it’s first two possessions of the game, with both drives capped off by Paul touchdown runs.
His first one came from nine yards out, and the second from five yards away as the Demons took a 13-0 first quarter lead. The Demons failed to convert a 2-point conversion on the first score, but got the kick from Sean Bigley on the second.
In the second quarter, Paul rambled in from three yards out. The conversion kick failed, but the Homecoming crowd had plenty to cheer about as Westlake took a 19-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter, quarterback Kent Axcell scored from two yards out and Bigley added the kick to give the Demons a comfortable 26-0 lead over the winless Bulldogs.
Defensively, the Demons picked off four passes on the night. Shawn Turk had a pair of picks, while Axcell and Bryan Mackenzie had the other two. Falls was not able to score against the Westlake varsity defense.
The visitors did manage a 43-yard interception return for a score by Mitchell Dailey once the reserves entered the game late in the fourth quarter.
“This was a great team effort,” Campo said. “We played as a team, and we stressed all week that everybody had to go out there and do their job. Last week, we had people trying to do more than that, and at times it cost us.
“Tonight, we were poised and took care of our responsibilities on both sides of the ball,” he added.
Brecksville 23, North Olmsted 15
At Brecksville, the Bees, trailing 7-3 after one quarter, scored 20 unanswered points in the second quarter and stopped a late Eagle drive in the fourth to even their record at 3-3 on the season.
For the third straight week, Mike Starcovic broke a big run the get North Olmsted on the board early. The senior running back scored on a 65-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give his team that 7-3 advantage.
Down 23-7 at the half, the Eagles drew closer as junior quarterback Brad Novak found Joe Keleman on a 4-yard scoring pass. Novak also made the 2-point conversion run, and the North Olmsted was back in it at 23-15.
On their final possession of the game, the Eagles took the ball on their own 24-yard line and drove all the way down to the Brecksville 31. But the Bees, now 3-0 in the SWC, held on downs to preserve the win.
Starcovic ran the ball eight times for 94 yards and the first quarter touchdown. Novak ran the ball 17 times for 77 yards, while completing seven of 16 passes for 67 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Brecksville quarterback Tom Tupa went 20 of 33 for 273 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
North Olmsted came into the game eighth in Division I Region 1 in the OHSAA Computer Ratings.
Up Next: North Olmsted hosts Midpark, while Brecksville travels to Amherst.
Avon Lake 62, Berea 26
The Shoremen, ranked at the top of the Division I Region 2 Computer Ratings, got three touchdown passes from quarterback Dave Winkel in the first half alone in this pummeling of the Braves.
Up next: The Shoremen host Westlake, while the Braves host Olmsted Falls at George Finnie Stadium.
Midpark 56, Amherst 24
Meteors quarterback Doug Verbofsky completed 32 of 44 passes for 449 yards and six touchdowns as Midpark moved to 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in the SWC.
Amherst, trailing 28-17 at the half, allowed another 21 points in the third quarter as the meteors bounced back from last week’s loss to Avon Lake.
Avon 45, Elyria Catholic 14
In Elyria, the Eagles built an early 21-7 lead and came back home still tied with Midview for first place in the West Shore Conference.
Antonio Orr got things rolling for the visitors when he took the opening kickoff 90 yards for six. Then Avon got four touchdown passes from quarterback David Zeh, two of them to Ralph Smith. The Ball State recruit had 112 yards in receptions on the night, 29 of them on a touchdown reception in the third quarter that gave Avon a 38-14 lead.
Zeh finished the game with 296 yards passing, completing 10 of 19 passes. Justin Taylor had 155 yards rushing for the Panthers, including an 85-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
The Eagles came into the game eighth in the Division II, Region 6 Computer Ratings.
Up next: Avon will travel to Midview in a showdown for first place in the WSC. Meanwhile, the Panthers will host Vermilion.
Vermilion 19, Bay 14
In Vermilion, the Rockets lead early, 14-0 after one quarter, but still remained winless in the WSC.
Forrest Boyd hit Kyle Shreves on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 5:27 left in the third quarter to complete the Sailor comeback. It was Vermilion’s first win in the WSC since 2009.
Quarterback Jake Best had touchdown passes to Dan Heideloff and Ryan Voiers to build the Rockets’ early lead. But Bay never scored again, giving up 19 unanswered points
Bay will host Lakewood next Friday night.
Midview 8, North Ridgeville 0
At North Ridgeville, defense was the name of the game as the front-running Middies blanked the Rangers. Quarterback Cody Calloway’s 30-yard scoring run in the second quarter proved to be the game winner.
North Ridgeville travels to red-hot Rocky River next Friday night.