April 20, 2014

Elyria
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H.S. Football Playoffs: Ross Douglas leads Avon’s second-half surge

AVON — Neither Ross Douglas nor coach Mike Elder was too happy at halftime, but they weren’t too disappointed being down just 3-0 with 24 minutes still to play.
Douglas, who had fumbled away an opportunity in the first half, came on in the second to lead Avon past Perrysburg, 28-11, Friday in the Division II, Region 6 quarterfinals.
“We’re a resilient team,” Douglas said. “We were in the same position last year against Toledo Central Catholic. We were down 21-7 at halftime so me being a senior this year — it was just like that.”
“We sputtered on offense,” said Elder. “We missed a field goal and had a turnover. We knew we were close. We didn’t panic at halftime.”
Just like that, Douglas, who had a so-so 50 yards on the ground on 10 carries the first half with a lost fumble, turned it on right away in the third quarter, much like receiver Matt Eckhardt did a year ago against Central after being held without a catch in the first half.
“It was just like that,” Douglas repeated himself. “We just came out the second half and got the win.”
Douglas finished with 262 yards and scored three times, including a back-breaking 70-yarder right after Perrysburg tried to make a game of it.
Douglas started the second with a 9-yard run and seemed to get stronger and harder to bring down the more he toted the ball. It even inspired some great runs by teammates Mark Kvach and Kevin Stoyko, who joined in on the fun. Kvach finished with just over 80 yards and Stoyko had a huge 12-yard carry for a first down on Avon’s second drive.
Elder knew he could count on Douglas to provide the spark.
“That’s kind of what great players do,” Elder said. “They respond. We always talk about in our program, ‘Play the next play.’ You can’t change the past. You have to have short memories. Whether you get beat on a pass play or fumble the football, you have to be ready for the next play. You can’t turn back time.”
“(Perrysburg) did a good job containing me in the first half,” said Douglas. “The offensive line opened good holes for me. I just did what I do. We knew Perrysburg would be a big physical team. They had a big D-line and big, physical linebackers. Our line just found a way to get me to the second level and I was on my way.”
That offensive line includes seniors Tim Von Salter, Grant Visocky and Alex Cranmer. Underclassmen Steven Brown, Dominic Bodnar and Chris Maxwell also helped provide the daylight.
“We didn’t play our best football (the first half),” Douglas said, “but it was only 3-0. We knew we had to come out and fight hard the second half.”
“We’re a little more physical than we’ve been in the past,” said Elder. “We lean on our run game when the time gets tough and sticky.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.