December 19, 2014

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Avon, Avon Lake mayors ‘up the ante’ for high school football game

Greg Zilka

Greg Zilka

Bryan Jensen

Bryan Jensen

AVON — Who will win the Aug. 29 high school football game — the Avon Eagles or the Avon Lake Shoremen?

Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen is confident the Eagles will win, so he challenged Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka to a bet: The loser must wear the winner’s jersey the entire day of the council meeting following the game.

“This is a newer rivalry because in the past Avon was never able to match up to Avon Lake,” Jensen said. “For years and years, they were always the elite team to beat in the area. But now that Avon’s program has caught up, I thought it would be neat to up the rivalry.”

Jensen said he knows Zilka will walk into work on a Monday wearing an Eagles jersey.

“I feel very confident that I’m not going to have to do it,” Jensen said of wearing a Shoremen jersey. “I will personally be dropping off a jersey at his office to make sure he gets it.”

Zilka said he is not worried because the Shoremen are a superior team — something he said is hard to admit since he played for the Eagles when he was a student at Avon High School in the 1960s.

“He laid down the gauntlet, and I’ll lay down the gauntlet,” Zilka said. “He’ll be wearing an Avon Lake jersey when council meets after the game.”

Zilka said he’s noticed a disturbing trend in the city of Avon: Folks have signs up in their yards that say “Beat Lake.”

“They won’t even say the word ‘Avon’ with Avon Lake,” Zilka said. “They just call us Lake. But we are Avon Lake, we’re proud to be Avon Lake and proud to be a neighbor of the city of Avon.”

Zilka said he was hoping Jensen would ask for some deer if Avon Lake loses.

“It’s a wonderful challenge,” Zilka said. “I thought maybe if I lost I would have to give them about 50 deer. We’d be glad to give them back to Avon, as they’ve fled Avon and all the construction and development, and have taken up residence in Avon Lake because it’s such a beautiful and comfortable community.”

Both mayors said they want to bring excitement to the upcoming high school football season.

“From the people to the cheerleaders to the band, it’s just a wonderful part of Americana,” Zilka said of Friday night football. “All the effort of everybody on both sides is great.”

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.