September 21, 2014

Elyria
Thunderstorms
68°F
test

High school football: Seniors-only meeting sparks Avon Lake past North Ridgeville

Avon Lake's Collin Lucas digs for long yardage as North Ridgeville's Jacob Ruoff and Shawn Stumpf try to stop him. LINDA MURPHY/CHRONICLE

Avon Lake’s Collin Lucas digs for long yardage as North Ridgeville’s Jacob Ruoff and Shawn Stumpf try to stop him. LINDA MURPHY/CHRONICLE

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — It may have taken 21½ hours to complete the game, but Avon Lake coach Larry Laird isn’t complaining.

His Shoremen rallied Saturday to pull out a 14-7 win over North Ridgeville in a game postponed by bad weather Friday night.

Avon Lake improved to 3-1 while North Ridgeville fell to 2-2.

The teams started where they left off Friday night with 6:36 left in the first half. The Rangers had the lead 7-0, but Avon Lake had possession with a first down at its own 34-yard line.

“We made some adjustments, but the biggest thing is that we came out and played physical football tonight,” Laird said. “Last night I don’t know what was going on, but we kind of slept-walked through the first quarter and a half. Last night when we got back to the school the seniors held a seniors-only meeting and hashed some things out.”

The Shoremen finished off the 80-yard, 11-play drive they started just before play was stopped to tie the game at 7 going into halftime.

North Ridgeville couldn’t get its offense untracked but Avon Lake’s defense had a lot to do with that as they held the Rangers to three three-and-outs in the third quarter. The Shoremen took advantage of one of those stops after holding the Rangers at the North Ridgeville 10.

Following a punt, Avon Lake started a four-play, 40-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a David Winkel-to-Max Seipel 18-yard pass. The Rangers’ Bailey Gannon had good position but Seipel was able to pull it in. Alex Veloshen added the point after and Avon had a 14-7 lead.

“Tonight we came out with a lot more fire and a lot more energy,” Avon Lake tailback Wyatt Ohm said. “Last night we were playing like zombies and that’s not who we are. We weren’t playing Shoremen football, but tonight we were. The line played a lot better than yesterday and I was a lot better than yesterday.”

North Ridgeville didn’t go down easily though.

With 1:55 left in the game, the Rangers put together a drive from their own 25. In 10 plays they had a first-and-goal on the Avon Lake 1 following a 23-yard pass from Jason Lucas to Gannon, who tried in vain to get the TD, with 1:04 left in the game.

Three runs failed to get into the end zone as time ran out and Avon Lake celebrated the comeback win.

“When you play a good team anything can happen,” North Ridgeville coach Jeff Riesen said. “Unfortunately they took the ball on the opening drive and tied it up, but I like the way our team responded. They never quit. Field position was in Avon Lake’s favor and they took advantage of it. The only thing you can say is that they came and took advantage of what they had. They played very tough football, but our kids never backed down.”

“The game was definitely played on our half of the field most of the night. Two good football teams played here tonight and unfortunately we came out on the short end.”

Contact Ron Nenadal @ 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.