Rangers Fall to Top-Ranked Avon
The Lakewood football team went on the road Friday to take on the top Division II team in the state of Ohio – the Avon Eagles. To make matters worse, recent injuries caused some shuffling in the Rangers lineup, particularly on the offensive line. Lakewood was able to stay in the game early, but the Eagles eventually pulled away 54-21.
Faced with a massive challenge, Lakewood decided to do some “trickeration” on the game’s opening play. They attempted on onside kick, but were unable to recover. Avon used the short field to take a quick 7-0 lead in the first minute of the game. They went 48 yards in three plays to score in just 29 seconds. On its first offensive possession, a pair of bad snaps (a byproduct of the team’s shuffled lineup) resulted in a safety. Avon led 9-0 only three and a half minutes into the game. The Eagles received the ensuing free kick, and marched for another TD to make the score 16-0 with 7:24 left in the first quarter. Things were ugly, and it looked like a quick blowout was at hand.
The Rangers came to life on the second play of their next drive. Wingback Dayvon Hanible broke free for a 74 yard touchdown, a beautiful run off the right side. Junior Justin Crislip then make the extra point to cut the lead to 16-7 with 6:28 remaining in the quarter. Things were about to get even better for the Rangers. Senior kicker Attila Nagy fired the kickoff directly into an Eagle up man, and the ball ricocheted back. Nagy, a starter on the LHS boys soccer team, took the rare opportunity to make a play with his hands. He grabbed the ball and retained possession for the Rangers. After a poor start, the Rangers were right back in the game. On the next play, senior Will Adams carried the ball 12 yards into Eagle territory. Senior quarterback Austin Mahar then completed passes to senior Jay Boyd and Hanible to take the ball to the Eagle 22 yard line. The Rangers were threatening to narrow the lead yet again, but another errant snap backed the team to the 41 yard line. Avon would intercept a pass two plays later to kill the drive with 2:40 left in the first period.
Avon extended the lead to 23-7 early in the second quarter, and the teams exchanged punts on the next possessions. Avon then scored on its next two possessions to take a commanding 37-7 lead late in the first half. The Rangers responded with a TD drive before the half, moving 80 yards on six plays to cut the lead to 37-13. The drive featured a 31 yard run by Hanible, and was capped by a 31 yard touchdown pass from Mahar to Boyd.
The Eagles pulled away in the second half, putting the OHSAA “running clock” rule into effect during the third quarter. Adams scored a late touchdown (followed by a two point conversion) which made the final score 54-21. The Rangers fall to 0-7 on the season, and travel to Westlake for a game Friday night at 7pm. Like Lakewood, the Demons have an 0-7 record this season. Tonight Westlake fell 55-6 at Midview. This will be Lakewood’s best chance so far to break into the win column. To do so, they will need to show some of the offensive spark they have developed in the past couple weeks, and also regain the stubborn defense play they showed early in the season.
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