Irish onslaught brings an end to Avon playoff run|
With 3:26 left in the first quarter, Avon quarterback David Zeh moved away from pressure, tucked the ball under his arm and rambled 15 yards for a touchdown.
Eric Sumislawski made the conversion kick, and the Eagles were tied with Toledo Central Catholic at 7-7 in the Division II Region 6 championship game. Avon’s defense followed up with a six-play stop, further steering the momentum in the Eagles’ favor.
At that point, nobody on either sideline...
Video: Maloney, defense shine as Eagles advance|
Avon, sparked by the defensive play of Kevin Maloney, advanced to the OHSAA Division II Region 6 championship game with a 24-14 win over No. 1 Tiffin Columbian Friday night in Fremont.
Maloney had a hand in four turnovers, three of which led directly to the Eagles’ three touchdowns on the night.
His first-half interception resulted in quarterback David Zeh’s 9-yard touchdown run that pushed Avon’s lead to 10-0. Later in the second quarter, Maloney recovered a fumble that led to Ross Douglas’ 8-yard scoring...
Season over: Madison stuns Demons in overtime|
As Kent Axcell rolled out of the pocket, there it was:
The end zone. There for the taking.
His intended receivers covered, the junior signal caller did what he had done time and time again during Westlake’s championship season. He made a move through the front line of the Madison defense, got into the open and turned up field.
A trio of Rams converged. Axcell made another move, but could not avoid the oncoming collision. Diving forward, he and the ball hit the turf at the muddied 1-yard line.
The Demons, stunned knowing their season had come to an end, could only watch as the visiting Rams and their fans began to celebrate their 14-7 overtime win in the first round...
CHAMPIONS! Demons blank Bees, claim SWC title|
Needless to say, Friday night’s pivotal Southwestern Conference game between Westlake and Brecksville wasn’t played under the best of conditions.
A late-October wind and torrents of rain were wipping through the stands, nearly sideways at times. The puddles at Lou Duchez Field were getting larger, and the mud even deeper. The stadium scoreboard was failing well before the opening kickoff, making the time remaining in each quarter a mystery to all. In the end, none of that mattered to anyone wearing the Green and White....
Give me five: Douglas' TD outburst thwarts Pirates|
With 11:12 left and the game hanging in the balance, Rocky River’s Keelan Boettcher ran a quarterback sneak from two yards out. Xhuljo Harunaj nailed the conversion kick, and the Pirates were all tied up at 21-all with West Shore Conference leader Avon.
What happened next could be summed up in two words:
The University of Michigan recruit, who had already scored three...
Week Nine: Area teams inch closer to the playoffs|
With nine weeks of the 2012 high school football season in the books, the postseason prospects of four Westshore area teams continued to look bright.
In Division II Region 6, Avon and Westlake continued their winning ways.
Avon, behind a five-touchdown performance by Michigan recruit Ross Douglas, scored the last 21 points of the game and left Rocky River with a 42-21 West Shore Conference win. The Eagles, now 8-1, started the night as the No. 5 team in the region and all alone in first place in the WSC.
And Westlake, the No. 3 team in the region heading into it’s game with Berea, got four touchdowns from Logan Paul on the way...
Football: Demons, Eagles move into playoff hunt|
Last year, the Avon Eagles won the West Shore Conference championship, qualified for the OHSAA playoffs and advanced all the way to the Division II state championship game.
This year, with two regular season games remaining, the Eagles aren\'t the only Westshore area team thinking playoffs.
When this week\'s OHSAA Computer ratings came out Tuesday, the numbers revealed that five area teams have legitimate shots at playing in Week 11. Avon, Avon Lake, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake are all...
River ground game leads to 19-7 win over Rockets|
Down 7-6 at halftime, Rocky River head coach Rick Adams stuck to a game plan that had worked to perfection during the Pirates’ three-game win streak.
“We knew what we had to do,” Adams said.
And that plan was to run the ball.
The Pirates, behind the efforts of running backs Michael Dickey, Martin Finnegan and Jesse Singler, controlled the ball nearly 18 minutes of the second half on their way to a 19-7 win over...
Westlake moves into first place, playoff contention|
Even after defeating Avon Lake last Friday night, head coach Mark Campo knew there were still plenty of challenges ahead for his Westlake Demons.
One of those challenges came Friday night as Midpark, with it’s rifle-armed quarterback Doug Verbofsky, paid a visit to Lou Duchez Field. The 6-1 Demons needed a win, not only to stay in the Southwestern Conference race, but to make headway in the Division II state computer ratings.
Westlake, thanks in part to a career rushing night by Logan Paul, moved to 7-1 on the season and took another step toward the playoffs with a thrilling 39-28 win over the Meteors.
The Demons also moved into a three-way tie...
Coach Dlugosz: "They outplayed us today. Period'|
As members of the media entered the Avon Lake locker room Friday night, they made their way past the Shoremen players on their way to meet with head coach Dave Dlugosz.
Most of them were still in full uniform, having just come off the field after a 28-21 loss to Westlake on their Homecoming Night. And most of them were quiet, going through a full gamut of emotions following a rare Southwestern Conference defeat on their home field. In the coaches conference room, Dlugosz offered...
Demons rally, end drought in win over Avon Lake|
The year was 1984.
That was the last time a Westlake varsity football team had beaten Avon Lake. It was a time when players like John Kolesar roamed the turf at Read Field and longtime head coach Vern Long was leading the Demons to Southwestern Conference championships.
Friday night at Avon Lake, it was almost as if those ghosts of Demons past had returned to suport their 2012 brothers: Axcell, Paul, Massaad and Campo. The drought was over...
Week Seven: River rolls; Eagles ground Meteors|
Friday night’s wet and windy weather was the perfect climate for a defense-oriented football team with a good running attack.
A team, for example, like Rocky River.
The Pirates, behind a stout defense and the 169-yard rushing performance of Marty Finnegan, disposed of North Ridgeville, 33-16, Friday night at Rocky River Stadium. It was the third win in a row for the Pirates, who now find themselves tied with Midview for second place in the West Shore Conference.
The previously undefeated Middies were unbeaten no longer after visiting Avon dished out a 28-0 decision in Grafton. The Eagles moved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the WSC, with River and Midview both a game back at 3-1.
“Our kids did a great job tonight,” said...
Rocky River wins first bridge battle with Lakewood|
During the preseason, Rocky River head coach Rick Adams felt his defense and running game would set the tone in 2012. Six games in, the Pirates have started to throw some big-yardage plays into that mix.
The result? The Pirates have won two in a row and are hungry for more.
Friday night, River scored on a pair of 60-plus yard plays and kept Lakewood out of the end zone in the second half in a 21-13 West Shore Conference win at Lakewood Stadium. The win evened the Pirates’ record at 3-3 and gave them bragging rights in the first-ever ...
Week Six: Demons bounce back; Eagles fall short|
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...
Rodriguez kicks Eagles past Westlake in overtime|
With time expiring in regulation and the crowd on the edge of their collective seats, Tommy Rodriguez’s 25-yard field goal attempt sailed just wide of the right upright.
Not to worry. The North Olmsted senior didn’t have to wait long for his shot at redemption.
With the game moving into overtime, the Eagles’ defense stopped visiting Westlake on four straight plays. North Olmsted took over, and Rodriguez ended the game on a 22-yard field goal to give the Eagles an 18-15 win over the previously...
Week Five: Rangers, River get much-needed wins|
With both teams in the throngs of three-game losing streaks, Lakewood and Rocky River were looking for the tide to turn in Week Five of the high school football season.
While they took startling different paths to get there, both the Rangers and Pirates accomplished their goals.
Lakewood, after building a 22-0 halftime lead at North Ridgeville, had to hold on for dear life in the final seconds to come away with the 22-21 road win. It was Lakewood’s first-ever win in football as a member of the West Shore Conference. At Rocky River, the Pirate defense...
Week Five: Unbeaten Demons to be tested again|
Westlake head coach Mark Campo doesn’t pull any punches when he talks about the Southwestern Conference football championship race, or how his Demons fit into the title picture.
It may only be week five on the schedule, but it’s a must win in his eyes.
“The kids understand that we’re in conference play now and that we can’t afford a loss,” Campo said, as his undefeated squad prepares for a trip to North Olmsted Friday night.
“I’d venture to say that the team that wins the conference will finish undefeated, so it’s real important to be prepared each week. And that’s something that I think the kids have learned. We’re learning how...
Shoremen rally, grind out a win at North Olmsted|
With North Olmsted holding a 13-7 halftime lead, Avon Lake head coach Dave Dlugosz had seen enough.
Penalties. Fumbled snaps. Interceptions. It was a trend that continued into the third quarter when a holding call stopped one drive and a David Winkel interception, his second of the game, stopped another.
On their third possession of the second half, the Shoremen went back to what they traditionally do best: Run the football...
Week Four: Defending champs open with big wins|
High school football picked it up another notch Friday night as league play began throughout Ohio. Here in the Westshore area, that meant both Avon and Avon Lake began defense of their respective conference crowns.
Both squads got off on the right foot.
Avon Lake, behind the rushing performances of Collin Lucas and Wyatt Ohm, scored 26 unanswered points in the second half. The Shoremen rallied to stun North Olmsted, 33-13, and put a damper...
Westlake remains unbeaten, rolls past River 29-13|
Before the season started, Westlake head coach Mark Campo knew he had a slew of offensive weapons at his disposal. Rocky River head coach Rick Adams felt his team’s defense was the core his Pirates would build around in 2012.
Something had to give Friday night at Rocky River Stadium.
Westlake took the opening kickoff and drove down field for a touchdown. The Demons would build a 20-0 halftime lead, then hold off the Pirates in the second half on the way to a 29-13 win that kept them undefeated...
SWC Wrapup: Eagles lasso Rangers, move to 3-0|
During the first two weeks of the season, North Olmsted’s defense has been a dominating force in wins over Valley Forge and Lakewood.
Friday night against North Ridgeville, the Eagles’ offense got its final tuneup before the start of the Southwestern Conference season.
Head coach Mike Ptacek liked what he saw.
Mike Starcovic ran for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while quarterback Brad Novak...
Video: Demon defense keeps The Jug in Westlake|
It’s Labor Day 2012, and the Little Brown Jug has resumed the same spot it has called home over the past 11 years:
In the Westlake trophy case.
The Demons sputtered offensively, but dominated on defense Friday night in a 13-3 win over Bay before a huge crowd at Memorial Stadium. Westlake moved to 2-0 on the season, mostly by holding the Rockets to 160 yards of total offense.
“We gave up a couple of plays here and there, but overall we held things together defensively,” said Westlake head coach Mark Campo last Friday night. “They couldn’t do much...
WSC Wrapup: Avon bounces back against Dukes|
It didn’t take long for the Avon Eagles to get back on the right track.
Avon’s defense pitched a shutout while Austin Bevins ran for 159 yards to help the Eagles to a 33-0 win over Wellington Friday night in their 2012 home opener.
They Eagles, now 1-1, held the Dukes to 100 yards of total offense for the game and scored the only touchdown they needed late in the first quarter. That’s when quarterback David Zeh found Bevins with an 11-yard scoring strike.
Wellington’s defense played well early on, and had some momentum going when it forced...
Defense does the damage as Eagles top Rangers|
If Mike Ptacek was pleased with his defense after last week’s win over Valley Forge, he had to be ecstatic over what he witnessed Friday night at Lakewood Stadium.
The North Olmsted head coach was all smiles after his Eagles came up big defensively and blanked Lakewood, 31-0, to begin the 2012 season at 2-0.
The combination of some big-play defense and an opportunistic offense had the visitors in control of the game from the start. The hometown Rangers, after scoring 51 points in their opener against Lincoln West, probably wondered what would go wrong next in falling to 1-1 on the season.
“I felt coming into this season that we would have...
Week Two: Demons, Rockets battle for 'The Jug'|
Bay’s Memorial Stadium will be buzzing with activity Friday night for a number of reasons.
Bay will be honoring its latest entries into its Athletic Hall of Fame, and it will also be the Rockets’ football home opener. The game with neighborhood rival Westlake was also voted the Cleveland Browns’ High School Game of the Week by the fans of both schools.
Both teams are coming off Opening Night wins for the first time in years. And, to top it all off, they’ll be playing for the cherished Little Brown Jug, a symbol of the lone-time rivalry between the two schools.
“This is a rivalry that’s been going on for a long time,” said Westlake head coach Mark Campo of the annual game that has been played since the two teams were both in the Southwestern Conference.
“Tradition is always a big thing, so playing for the Little Brown Jug is meaningful for our team, our school...
SWC Wrapup: Eagle defense holds down Patriots|
During the preseason, North Olmsted football coach Mike Ptacek said his team’s success in 2012 would start on the defensive side of the ball.
The Eagles made sure that happened in their Friday night opener with Valley Forge. The visiting Patriots, who led 3-0 early on in the second quarter, managed just 121 total yards of offense on the night in a 21-10 loss to North Olmsted.
North Olmsted’s defense put the first points of the season on the scoreboard when James Ahern intercepted a Forge pass and raced 70 yards for the touchdown. Tommy Rodriguez kicked the extra point, and it was 7-3, Eagles.
Forge regained the lead briefly...
WSC Wrapup: Rockets hold on for win over Lions|
Don’t look now, but the Bay Rockets are on a two-game winning streak.
It might not seem like much, but Bay, which has gone 3-7 in each of the past two seasons, is one a bit of a roll after holding on late on the road to beat Orange, 21-20, Friday night in the season opener.
The Rockets, who got a strong performance from junior quarterback Jake Best, closed out last season with a win over arch rival Rocky River. That was Bests’ first varsity start, with Friday night’s contest being start No. 2.
Friday night, the junior threw three touchdown passes, the first one coming in the second quarter. Bay was down 7-0 when Best hit on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Scott Rapps. Matt Toth made the conversion kick, and the Rockets were back in the game.
The Lions would score another touchdown in the first half to take a 14-7 halftime lead. But Bay would come right back in the opening drive of the third quarter to jump right back in it. Best hit Ryan Voiers on a 51-yard scoring toss, Toth made the kick and...
Video: Big fourth quarter gets Shoremen by Avon|
Through three quarters of play, the battle on the gridiron between rivals Avon and Avon Lake was tied at 28-28 at Memorial Stadium.
By that point, the Eagles had already seen enough of Shoremen receiver Jimmy Hessel.
Hessel, who scored the first two touchdowns of the game, caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Winkel to give Avon Lake the lead in the fourth quarter. Collin Lucas capped off the night...
Physical Demons ride roughshod over Ridgeville|
Throughout the preseason, Westlake head coach Mark Campo talked about the potential strengths of his 2012 football Team.
He talked about the weapons the Demons had on offense. He felt the program was starting to develop depth, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. He looked forward to seeing what his up-and-coming underclassmen could contribute.
But he wanted to see one thing seemingly more than anything else: He wanted to see his Demons play a physical brand of football. On Friday, Campo and a large crowd at Lou Duchez Field...
Week One: Demons open up with tough challenge|
It’s finally here.
The first week of the 2012 high school football season has arrived, with several teams in the Westshore looking to vastly improve their win totals from a season ago.
Avon, of course, was the area’s cream of the crop in 2011, ripping through the West Shore Conference unbeaten and advancing all the way to the Division II state championship game. Avon Lake, after getting thumped by the Eagles in it’s season opener, recovered to again win the Southwestern Conference with a 7-0 mark.
But the Shoremen’s 1-2 non-conference...
Shoremen look to continue their SWC dominance|
As Avon Lake head football coach Dave Dlugosz makes his way off of the Shoremen practice field and back to the coaches office, you can’t help but notice an extra spring in his step
No, it’s not because his squad is once again a favorite to win the Southwestern Conference championship – he’s already guided 18 Shoremen teams to that fete in his 20 seasons as the bench boss. And no, it’s probably not because he recently retired as a teacher in Avon Lake, giving himself more time to spend plotting and planning another season.
No, just ask anyone that knows Dave Dlugosz: It’s all because it’s his own Christmas in August...
Experienced Rockets prepared to turn the corner|
The summer camps, the two-a-days and the scrimmage games are over.
Now it’s time to see what progress the Bay football team has made, according to third-year head coach Ryan Gorius. The Rockets open the 2012 season this Friday night when they travel to Orange.
Over the past two seasons, Bay has gone 3-7 twice and finished in the bottom half of the West Shore Conference. But there are signs that things may be starting to turn around in Rocket Country, Gorius said.
“The most encouraging thing right now is that our kids are playing hard,” said Gorius...
Eagles planning to pick up right where they left off|
After winning 13 games and coming up just short of a state championship in your school\'s first-ever trip to “Week 15.” what could the Avon Eagles possibly do for an encore?
Head Coach Mike Elder believes you pick up right where you left off.
“We graduated a lot of great players from a state championship runner-up team, but I was very pleased with our off season, and I like our junior class and believe that they will step up with our current seniors,” said Elder, who enters his sixth season as head coach. “I think we are right where we want to be.”
Gone are 13 players from last year’s...
Eagles returning skill, experience for 2012 season|
After a 1-3 start to the season, North Olmsted bounced back to close out the season 4-2 and finish in the top half of the always-rugged Southwestern Conference.
In fact, one could argue the Eagles were just a handful of plays away from running the table and finishing 7-3. A 13-10 loss to Brecksville and a 21-14 loss to Olmsted Falls late in the game had the Orange and Black settling for a 5-5 campaign.
As the 2012 season draws nearer, Eagles veteran head coach Mike Ptacek welcomes back 36 lettermen from that team. He feels a combination of skill, experience and character will allow his team to take the next step...
Lakewood football preparing for first WSC season|
As the 2012 high school football season approaches, the West Shore Conference will have a different look for the second year in a row.
Last season, Elyria Catholic joined the league and brought its storied football program into the fold. This fall, Lakewood comes in to finish off filling the void created when Fairview and Firelands left for the Patriot Athletic Conference.
The Rangers are coming off a 6-4 season and are led by former Rocky River head coach Ron Lewis. Prior to Saturday’s scrimmage with Westlake, Lewis talked about his program and what it will be like joining a new league.
“The thing for us is that we need to get back to playing Lakewood football,” said Lewis...
Senior class, run attack to bolster Pirates' hopes|
Despite a narrow 10-6 loss at Westlake, the 2011 football season was looking good early on for Rocky River.
The Pirates bounced back the following Friday and opened West Shore Conference play with a 14-6 win at Vermilion. They were 3-1 heading into the Midview game and had allowed less than six points per game at that point in the season.
That’s when the bottom dropped out of the Pirates’ season.
River allowed 34, 42, 42 and 44 points in the next four outings and lost the final six games...
Optimistic Demons look for improvement in 2012|
There was a palpable sense of optimism hovering over the football practice fields at Westlake last week as the 2012 season officially began. The frustration of the 2011 season was nowhere to be found.
After a promising 3-1 start last season, things didn’t go as planned the rest of the way for the Demons. They lost five of their last six games, a number of those losses coming late in the game.
This year, head coach Mark Campo and his staff welcomed back a balanced group of Demons, with hopes of turning some of those tough losses into wins.
“We have a good mix of juniors and seniors,” said Campo, who begins his fourth season in charge of the Demons’ program. “We have a strong senior class and a pretty good junior class, and some of them played for us last year as sophomores. The ones who played...