LHS Community Honors Giffels; Rangers Fall to Titans
The Lakewood High Athletic Community honored the life of LHS Athletic Secretary Anne Giffels on Friday night before the football game vs. Berea-Midpark. Fans, players, band members, and cheerleaders wore pink in remembrance of Giffels, who passed away last week after a lengthy battle against cancer. Special t-shirts bearing the phrase “No One Fights Alone” were exchanged for donations to Community Closets, a school program that provides toiletries and necessities to students in need. The program, started by Giffels, has been renamed “AG Community Closets” in her memory. Her husband Tom and her sons were presented with a customized varsity letter jacket, as well as a plaque recognizing the Community Closets program.
The game itself did not go well, although the Rangers showed some positive glimpses. Berea-Midpark jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. The Lakewood offense was out of sync, and the high-powered Titans moved the ball swiftly through both the ground and passing games. The Rangers finally got on track early in the second quarter, when sophomore Milan Jackson made a nifty 58 yard run down to the Titans 6 yard line. Jackson spun out of multiple tackles on the play, firing up the home crowd at First Federal Lakewood Stadium. Senior Jared Naida scored a touchdown on the next play, a six yard run. Senior kicker Attila Nagy made the extra point to cut the lead to 21-7 less than a minute into the second period.
The Titans quickly responded, as workhorse running back Bryce Agnew accounted for 56 yards of a 63 yard touchdown drive that pushed the lead to 28-7. Agnew, who would have a pair of touchdowns in the game, capped the drive with a 13 yard TD reception from Trevor Bycznski. The Lakewood offense answered with another strong drive, going 65 yards down to the Titans 10 yard line. The longest play of the drive was a 22 yard pass from senior Austin Mahar to senior Dayvon Hanible. The drive stalled at the ten, in part due to a dropped pass in the endzone that would have made the score 28-14. The Rangers decided to attempt a field goal, to disastrous results. Multiple Titans broke through the line to block Nagy’s attempt, and the ball was returned for a Berea-Midpark touchdown. Instead of 28-14, it was 35-7.
Berea-Midpark squashed any momentum from Lakewood, and stretched the lead to 42-7 before half. That kicked in the OHSAA “running clock” rule, which was in effect for the entire second half. Jackson provided the best Ranger highlight of the second half, making a 74 yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The final score was 56-14.
The Rangers have made a lot of progress since last season, but this game was a stark reminder that it’s a very long road ahead.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1