ELYRIA — Kevin Fell has waited all year for his Elyria Pioneers to play a complete game.
Friday may have been as good as it’s been as Elyria rolled past Stow-Monroe Falls 49-13 in Northeast Ohio Conference River Division play. The Pioneers improved to 6-2 and will set sail for Hudson next week and Mayfield in Week 10 with visions of the playoffs still dancing in their heads.
“I thought the running backs ran hard,” Fell said. “Our quarterback (sophomore Hunter Parsh) made some good decisions. He made a couple bad ones but he’s learning. He’s played a much better second half (of the season). We’ve got a host of guys that can find the end zone. All of the receivers are capable. About every one of them made a big play.
“The defense has played well since the North Royalton game. I think we’re ready to go. I think we’re ready to meet the challenge. We’ll find out how good we are.”
That all starts next week at Hudson,
7-1 and ahead of the Pioneers in the computer rankings for Division I, Region 2.
After stuffing the Bulldogs on a three-and-out to start the game Friday, Elyria scored the first two times it had the ball and led 27-0 late in the first half.
Dontae Dukes, who took in two touchdown passes from Parsh in the first half, shared the highlights with shifty wideout Da’Jaun Glover, tailback Jumarr Lewis and slotback Danny Ratliff. Glover took a pass from tailback Jordan Connell and turned it into a 29-yard score. Lewis caught a short middle screen from Parsh and ran it in for a 71-yard score. Ratliff returned a punt 80 yards to close out the Pioneers’ scoring in the third quarter.
Elyria’s weapons were evident everywhere.
“We ran just about every play we have,” Fell said.
“It’s two tough weeks,” Dukes said. “We have to mentally prepare for it. We’ve had more focus in practice and have stopped playing around.
“We’ve been talking about the playoffs. We just want to make it happen.”
Dukes, Glover and Ratliff combined for 13 receptions and 178 yards. Lewis and Connell combined for 128 yards on the ground. Parsh threw for 221.
The final stats for the defense are misleading. After jumping in front 27-0, Elyria was content to allow Stow small gains here and there to keep the clock running. Stow had just 56 passing yards in the first half and 60 on the ground.
“I’m proud for our DBs,” said linebacker Connor Kamczyk, Elyria’s leading tackler on the year who turned in another gem. “They’ve really stepped up. First couple games they were blowing coverages, but they’ve worked the whole season and now they’re not giving up the big plays. They’re locking down and we’re playing as a whole team right now.
“I’m like the quarterback of the defense. I want to be sure everyone is in the right position.”
Kamczyk, Shawn Masterson, Tracy Sprinkle and Paul Males had big nights. Masterson picked off a pass and Sprinkle had at least one sack to add to their team-leading totals.
“The defense has played well the last month,” Fell said. “We had one bad defensive lapse (Friday) but that was because we were substituting. We had some offensive holding penalties but sometimes that can happen. Overall, we played pretty well. Stow had been playing pretty tough coming into this. I’m happy with the way we played.”
THINK PINK: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, Ely Stadium’s goal posts are adorned with pink pads. Elyria’s cheerleaders have pink uniforms and the players have been using pink socks and tape on their ankles.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or email@example.com.