AVON — Two communities separated by the width of a single Norfolk Southern railroad track are miles apart on the football field following Thursday night’s 41-10 rout by Avon over Avon Lake.
In what was expected to be a toss-up, the Eagles made all the plays when they needed in dominating the Shoremen for the third time in the past four years. The two will be league rivals next season when Avon joins the Southwestern Conference.
“Trust me, we’re going to see that team again,” Avon coach Mike Elder said. “They’re good. They’re real good. At the end of the season, it might be a different game.
“I have great respect for Avon Lake. They have great coaches and great players. They’ll bounce back. We’re in the same region now.”
The two powers traded punches to start the game — Avon Lake getting a 40-yard field goal off the foot of Alex Voloshen answered by a 16-yard scoring pass from Avon senior Tommy Glenn to classmate Braeden Friss — but it was all Eagles from that point.
“We had some question marks coming in,” Elder said. “We only had three guys back on offense. Our defense, we thought could be strong and stout. (Avon Lake) is very big and physical. We were concerned with stopping the run, but the kids hang in there.”
Avon Lake did get 207 yards on the ground, but it was Avon that came up with the plays. When the Shoremen opened the second half with a sustained scoring drive and quickly came up with a turnover on the ensuing kickoff, the Eagles made the stop. The Shoremen failed to score when a field goal attempt from 29 yards was wide.
Elder’s concerns were answered several times.
Avon came right back to score and put the game away at 34-10 with 1:39 left in the third quarter. If they needed a 10-yard gain, they got 11. If it was fourth-and-1, they weren’t afraid to pass for a first down. They made play after play after play. It was that way all night long.
In the first half, when Glenn got in trouble under a big push from the Shoremen defensive line, he found sophomore Gerrett Choat for a back-breaking middle screen worth 72 yards and a 20-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
“I saw the two Avon Lake guys blitzing (Glenn),” said Choat, just a sophomore.
“They’re going to kill him, I was thinking. I just saw him lob it up, caught it, turned around and there was nobody.”
Not exactly. Choat juked and twisted his way into the open field.
“They executed, we did not down the stretch,” said Larry Laird, who took over Avon Lake’s storied program from longtime coach Dave Dlugosz this season. “They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. That was something we were not expecting. I guarantee it will not happen again.”
Glenn, who replaced injured David Zeh during last year’s playoff loss to Toledo Central Catholic, is determined to bring Avon along this year.
“Of course,” answered Glenn when asked if he expected such dominate play. “You always come in thinking like that. Being a senior dominated team — we have like 11 seniors on offense besides Choat — we always click together, we always have. The preparation coming into the game was very good.”
“Tommy Glenn is a senior who waited his turn,” Elder said. “A lot of people questioned whether he could do the job. He came into a situation last year Week 13 after an injury and didn’t play his best game. I’m so proud of him. This is a great big stage and for him to come out and get his first varsity start and perform like that.”
Glenn was outstanding — piling up 328 yards on a 14-of-19 performance with four touchdowns. Choat finished with 99 yards on the ground and another 93 in receptions.
Friss caught six balls for 121 yards and two scores.
“He’s just a sophomore,” Elder said of Choat. “We can’t be nice to that kid yet.
Choat’s a good player but we have other good running backs. I have three running backs. (Thursday) it was Choat’s show but what’s great about this team, they’re unselfish. Every week it could be a different guy.”
THE OLD BALL COACH: Dlugosz was on hand — coaching the linemen and linebackers for Avon Lake on Thursday. When Laird asked the coaches for any comments after the loss, Dlugosz spoke up. “Nothing you can do about that,” he said pointing at the scoreboard. “But I don’t want to see any puppy-dog looks from any of you. We have to get ready for Lorain (next week’s opponent).”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avon vs. Avon Lake
Avon 41, Avon Lake 10
Avon Lake 3 0 7 0 — 10
Avon 6 21 7 7 — 41
AL — FG Alex Voloshen 40
A — Braeden Friss 16 pass from Tommy Glenn (pass failed)
A — Gerett Choat 3 run (run failed)
A — Choat 72 pass from Glenn (Friss pass from Glenn)
A — Choat 1 run (Eric Sumislawski kick)
AL — Matt Gottshall 24 pass from David Winkel (Voloshen kick)
A — Friss 13 pass from Glenn (Sumislawski kick)
A — Nick Varich 2 pass from Glenn (Sumislawski kick)
RUSHING — (AL) David Winkel 15-105, Collin Lucas 15-64, Wyatt Ohm 11-38, Brian Sharpe 3-24, Jeremiah Campo 3-5, Team 2-(-29). (A) Gerett Choat 13-99, Joe Travagliante 7-18, Tyler Vaccarella 7-16, Antonio Orr 1-1.
PASSING — (AL) David Winkel 3-10-36-1-0. (A) Tommy Glenn 14-19-328-4-0, Jake Sopko 3-4-19-0-0.
RECEIVING — (AL) Matt Gottshall 1-24, Maz Seipel 1-7, Kyle Beck 1-5. (A) Braeden Friss 6-121, Gerett Choat 2-93, Rhys Ratino 3-74, Chris Maxwell 2-31, Michael Stuckart 1-13, Paul Duesler 1-13, Nick Varich 1-2.