By Joe Ostrica
Avon Lake looked like a playoff-bound team when the Shoremen dismantled Amherst in a 42-0 shutout Friday. The win improved Avon Lake to 8-2 overall, 5-1 in Southwestern Conference and earned a berth in the Division II, Region 4 playoffs.
Shoremen head coach Larry Laird was pleased his defensive unit locked up its first shutout of the season Friday.
“I liked the way our defense ran to the ball,” Laird said. “They did a good job of running to the football all night long. We controlled the line of scrimmage, which was good for us. We controlled the line of scrimmage on both side of the football.”
Senior running back Wyatt Ohm was 28 yards shy of 1,000 total yards entering the contest. Ohm reached the milestone on the first snap of scrimmage, running 70 yards for the first score of the game. Ohm finished the contest with 181 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. He has 1,153 total yards for the season. It’s the second straight year Ohm has rushed for 1,000-plus yards.
“Our offensive line is doing a great job,” Laird said. “They’re really starting to come together. Wyatt is really coming into his own for us. This is the second year in a row he’s rushed more than 1,000 yards, which is quite a big accomplishment for a high school player. We’re very proud of that. I believe he’s now seventh on the school’s all-time career leading rusher list.”
Avon Lake quarterback David Winkel was 7-for-18 passing for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He threw touchdown passes to Matt Gottshasll (18 yards) and Jace Russell (four yards). Max Seipel led all Shoremen receivers with 30 yards on three catches.
Anthony Thielman, who finished the game with 49 yards on three carries, scored touchdowns on two of those runs, scoring on runs of 23 yards and 10 yards in the third quarter.
As the eighth-seeded – and final – team in the Division II Region 4 bracket, the Shoremen will take on the No. 1 seed Highland Hornets, who wrapped up the regular season 10-0.
“We look forward to the challenge,” Laird said about the matchup. “We’ll have our hands full and we scrimmaged with them in the preseason. We matched up well with them and they matched up well with us. It should be a good high school game.”
Stating Highland’s roster boasts a strong quarterback, running back and wide receiver, Laird said the Hornets are a zone read offensive team who also runs well on defense.
“Our best defense is to keep their offense off the field,” Laird said. “We want to control the football and keep their powerful offense off the field. We’ll focus on taking time off the clock and moving the chains.
“It’s a new season. Everybody is 0-0 in the playoffs. We look forward to the challenge. Our kids are excited. We like our matchup with Highland. To this point we’ve proved every week we’re a good team, but we still feel like we haven’t played our best game yet, so that’s exciting.”
The game against Highland will be played Friday at North Royalton High School at 7:30 p.m.