Rangers Fall on Hall of Fame Night
The Lakewood Ranger football team lost 49-14 Friday night to Olmsted Falls at First Federal Lakewood Stadium. The Bulldogs entered the game as one of the top ranked teams in the area, and they looked the part. The game was part of the school’s Hall of Fame Weekend celebration, which included a halftime salute to honored alumni and staff members. Honorees included Athletic Hall of Fame members Adam Gold ’03, Julie Zickes Laub ’88, Michelle Sikes ’03, Aaron Johnston-Peck ’03, and Kelsey Moran ’09. Distinguished Alumni were Mickey Krivosh ’70, Dr. Sam Shaker ’60, David Malloy ’94, and Jennifer Griveas ’94. Staff honorees were Jan Lushbaugh Soeder ’64, Patti Komperda, and John Drotleff.
The beautiful late summer evening helped attract a large, enthusiastic crowd. This included the student section, which wore patriotic colors in a “USA” theme. Olmsted Falls scored first, as senior Jack Spellacy made a one yard touchdown run with 8:36 remaining in the first period. Junior Jake Politowski made the extra point, making the score 7-0. Ranger sophomore Evan Hampton then excited the crowd with a 38 yard return on the ensuing kickoff. However, the drive stalled and Olmsted Falls regained possession after a punt. Olmsted Falls then stretched the lead to 14-0 on a 56 yard touchdown run midway through the period. Lakewood moved the ball into Bulldog territory on the next possession, but a fumble ended the drive. The Ranger defense then forced a “three and out”, and the first period ended 14-0.
Bulldog senior Braden Galaska made a trio of crucial plays in the second quarter to put the game out of reach. First, he caught a 25 yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Teddy Grendyznki to make the lead 21-0. Then he intercepted a Ranger pass on the next possession, setting up Olmsted Falls fourth touchdown drive. Then he made a 78 yard punt return to set up another TD which made the score 35-0. Despite forcing a late fumble in the half, Lakewood trailed 42-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Ranger quarterback Albert Wilhelmy completed a 16 yard pass to Milan Jackson to move the ball into Bulldog territory. Ranger senior Kyren Jefferson then took a bubble screen from Wilhelmy and ran 46 yards for Lakewood’s first touchdown of the game. Senior kicker Justin Crislip followed with the extra point to make the score 42-7. Lakewood struck again in the fourth quarter, as Wilhelmy hit sophomore Evan Hampton with a seven yard touchdown pass to make it 42-14. That was Hampton’s third touchdown reception of the season.
“The kids continue to play hard” head coach Tom Thome said of his Rangers after the game. He continues to be pleased with their effort, even when faced with difficult circumstances. Next week the team travels to Avon Lake to face the Shoremen on Friday night at 7pm. Avon Lake is 4-0 on the year, defeating Westlake 42-7 on Friday night in Westlake.
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