September 17, 2014

Elyria
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High school football: Avon seniors leaving legacy of winning

CLYDE — The Avon seniors weren’t exactly overjoyed after the Eagles’ 42-14 loss to Toledo Central Catholic in the Division II regional championship Friday night, but they also knew they had put together an impressive four years.

“This is a tough loss,” said running back Ross Douglas, who will play cornerback at Michigan next year. “It’s a tough day for me and the senior class because we know we can never play together as one again in the purple-and-gold uniform at Avon. But I don’t regret anything I did on that field tonight so there’s more tears of joy than tears of sadness. It’s just tough it ended this way.”

Douglas and the seniors played in 49 career games, won three consecutive West Shore Conference championships, earned three postseason berths and finished as the state runner-up last season.

“I think there’s four of them that played their freshman year for us,” Eagles coach Mike Elder said. “It’s a great class and they should have great memories.”

The handful of seniors that played during the Eagles’ 6-4 season as freshmen are the only current players who have experienced a loss in the WSC. As sophomores, the Eagles went 10-0 in the regular season before losing in the regional quarterfinals to Sandusky. They lost their season finale to Lake Catholic as juniors, before winning four straight playoff games to reach the final, where they lost to Trotwood-Madison. This year, their only other loss was in the season opener to Avon Lake.

“It’s been great,” said wide receiver Ralph Smith, who will play cornerback for Ball State next year. “We have teammates that are great. It’s just been a fun time for all of us.”

Several seniors said it was the work of those who played before them that helped them find success the past four years, and they believe those who are returning next year will continue to build on the legacy.

“They’re going to keep it going,” Smith said. “The coaches will push them hard, they’ll keep going and they’ll beat Avon Lake (in the 2013 season opener).”

Feels like home

Even though Avon was the lower seed, it was the home team and dressed in its home colors. The Eagles’ band had the honor of playing “The Star Spangled Banner” and Avon’s fans filled the home side at Robert Bishop Jr. Stadium.

Two-for-two

Central Catholic knocked out both the West Shore postseason qualifiers. The Irish opened their run with a win over Midview prior to eliminating Avon on Friday.

Central lost its final regular-season game to Division I Toledo Whitmer, 42-0, but bounced right back to beat the Middies 50-7 and Mansfield Madison 45-7.

Central has made 13 postseason appearances, including eight in a row, and won the 2005 state title in Division II.

Tim Gebhardt contributed to this notebook. Contact Shaun Bennett and Tim Gebhardt at 329-7137 or sbennett@chroniclet.com. Fan Bennett on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.