April 24, 2014

Elyria
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High school football: Defense comes up big as Elyria finishes off Valley Forge

Elyria Jumarr Lewis runs for yardage Saturday in the Pioneers' win over Valley Forge. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONCILE

Elyria Jumarr Lewis runs for yardage Saturday in the Pioneers’ win over Valley Forge. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONCILE

ELYRIA — If Kevin Fell was concerned his Elyria football team wouldn’t show up mentally Saturday afternoon to complete its game with Valley Forge, he needn’t have worried.

Elyria’s defense kept Valley Forge out of the end zone after a couple of red-zone interceptions and completed Friday’s postponement with a 44-6 rout of the Patriots.

The Pioneers were leading 14-6 when the game was postponed Friday with 7:49 remaining in the first half. Elyria scored on its first possession to go up 22-6 and managed to turn back Valley Forge after turnovers had given the Patriots two opportunities inside the Elyria 20.

“I’m not sure if it was Saturday afternoon or what,” Fell said.

“The one that Hunter (quarterback Hunter Parsh) threw, the kid (Valley Forge’s Richard Worship) made a real nice play on across the middle. But we got back to playing offense again. Defense played very well. They’ve played well all year.”

“Defensively, we capitalized on our offensive mistakes,” senior tailback/cornerback Jumarr Lewis said. “Defense played a tremendous game. The defense won this game.”

Lewis certainly did his part on both sides of the ball — coming up with 120 yards on the ground and 18 yards receiving, while scoring three touchdowns and adding a pair of 2-point conversions. On defense, he made some big tackles and did well in coverage — coming up with an interception himself.

Lewis and his sidekick — Jordan Connell — seem to take turns in the limelight. Connell scored Friday night and finished with 50 yards rushing.

Trayvon Cummings had the key interception return for a score Friday and played well again Saturday. Isaac Miller, Zach Robinson, Mike Church and Lonzell Cash also played well. Of course, so did linebacker Conner Kamczyc, who was all over the field making stops.

“We can’t complain what the offense does,” Kamczyc said. “We just have to be mentally tough and make sure we do what we have to do to get that stop so (the opponent) can’t take advantage of those mistakes and make the game closer.”

The offense took the cue and was practically unstoppable from that point. Parsh shook off the picks to complete eight passes in succession at one point, engineering three touchdown drives. Senior Tavon Kurtz — Parsh’s favorite target — caught four passes for 113 yard, including a 55-yard TD on an outstanding catch and run.

With Valley Forge in the rear-view mirror, the Pioneers are already focused on next week’s opponent.

“Mayfield has knocked us out two years in a row in the 10th game,” Lewis said. “I believe our team this year is stronger mentally and we’ll be ready to play.”

“Our whole team is improving every single week,” Kamczyc said. “I have a good feeling about this year. Everybody just has to do their job. We want to beat the teams that beat us last year.”

VOICE FROM ABOVE: Because of Friday’s postponement, Elyria baseball coach Ed Piazza volunteered to take over as the public address announcer and he had the press box regulars in stitches with his commentary. His best line may have been a “wagonload of Pioneers on the tackle.”

Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or timothygeb@msn.com.