CLEVELAND — If you like your football with a lot of offense, you loved the Avon Lake-Avon battle in the annual charity game at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Saturday night.
The two teams put on a first-half slugfest before the Shoremen pulled away for a 50-25 win in a renewal of a rivalry that was last played in 1960.
Avon hit Avon Lake first with an
87-yard strike from junior quarterback Ryan O’Rourke to junior wideout Brett Jensen with 9:16 still to play for a 6-0 lead. O’Rourke threw for 312 yards on the night — 248 coming in the first half. He also threw a pair of TD strikes.
“They caught our guys on their heels a little bit,” said veteran Avon Lake coach Dave Dlugosz. “They hit the pass and (Jensen) took it to the house. The thing I enjoyed most about that was our offense coming right back with a nice long drive establishing the physicality of Avon Lake.”
The Shoremen running game was at its textbook best. Mike Haddad, the game’s MVP, ran for 167 yards and four touchdowns, and backfield mate Jeff Tell added another 159 yards. Avon Lake amassed 518 yards on the ground with two other backs — Mike Mansnerus and Scott Shaffer — getting more than 70 yards each.
“They better thank the offensive line,” Dlugosz said. “They did a pretty good job. (Avon) was shooting linebackers all over the place and I’d say 90 percent of the time we were pretty successful on picking them up.”
The teams battled back-and-forth through a wild first quarter.
Both teams scored twice with only a missed extra-point the difference. Avon had successfully hit the point-after but a procedure penalty forced the Eagles to attempt the kick again. This time they missed.
Avon Lake started to pull away in the second quarter when Haddad scored twice, the last on a 60-yard run that put the Shoremen up 36-19 at halftime.
“That woke us up,” Haddad said of Avon’s early score. “We’re here to play too. We knew they were here to play and we live every play like it could be our last. We brushed it off and came back.”
“We’ve got a pretty good quarterback,” Avon coach Mike Elder said. “Ryan’s one of the best around, there’s no question about that, and he made a great throw. We wanted to start out throwing the ball deep and it worked out for us.
“Initially, we were able to stand in there toe-to-toe. Avon Lake’s a good football program. I have nothing but respect for Coach Dlugosz. To be honest, this game was won in the offseason. That’s a big, strong team. It’s an indication where we need to go.”
Avon Lake’s grinding, power football eventually was the difference. Haddad and Tell took turns on punishing runs, finding open holes in the Avon defense.
“That’s the kind of offense we run,” Haddad said. “We like to grind ’em, run ’em down. By the second half, they’re not going to want us anymore.
“We just run at them, the holes open up and we’re good to go.”
Avon Lake 50, Avon 25
Avon 13 6 0 6 — 25
Avon Lake 14 22 7 7 — 50
AVON – Brett Jensen 87 pass from Ryan O’Rourke (kick failed)
AL—Mike Haddad 3 run (Joe Prendergast kick)
AVON – Kyle Gregory 7 pass from O’Rourke (Marquis Harrell kick)
AL – Nick Brill 15 run (Predergast kick)
AL – Ryan Scherer 7 pass from Nick Firment (Prendergast kick)
AL—Haddad 14 run (Patrick Stokes pass Firment)
AVON – Bryent Robertson 1 run (pass failed)
AL—Haddad 60 run (Prendergast kick)
AL—Haddad 5 run (Prendergast kick)
AL—Mike Mansnerus 1 run (Prendergast kick)
AVON – Dan Stotko 1 run (kick failed)
First downs 11 19
— by rushing 0 18
— by passing 10 1
— by penalty 1 0
Yards rushing 33 518
Yards passing 313 50
Total offense 245 558
Passes att./comp. 27/13 10/6
Intercepted by 0 1
Fumbles/lost 1/1 2/1
Penalties/yards 2/10 6/35
RUSHING— (Avon) Marquis Harrell 9-17, James Schuster 6-7, Ryan O’Rourke 3-0, Dan Stotko 5-11, Bryent Robertson 1-1, Matt Mentler 1-(-6), Zak Wearsch 1-6, Emery Rowe 1-(-2); (AL) Mike Haddad 17-167, Jeff Tell 14-159, Kevin Mansnerus 2-27, Scott Shaffer 6-71, Nick Firment 2-0, Alex Jones 3-8, Pete Hart 1-(-11), Mike Mansnerus 4-88, Gentry Rohn 3-(-4), Jordan Cooper 2-2.
PASSING—(AVON) Ryan O’Rourke 13-25-313-2-1; (AL) Nick Firment 6-10-50-1-0.
RECEIVING—(AVON) Brett Jensen 1-87, Kyle Gregory 5-53, Marquis Harrell 1-23, Matt Logan 1-69, James Schuster 1-4, John Harrison 2-39, Tyler Irwin 1-14; (AL) Mike Haddad 1-11, Ryan Scherer 2-18, Eric Cail 1-9, Sean Oxley 1-9, Peyton Armbrecht 1-1.