Football week #5 recap
By Ryan Kaczmarski
The hopes and prayers of a NORTH OLMSTED victory over the visiting WESTLAKE Demons rested on the foot of Eagles running back and kicker Tommy Rodriguez not once but twice, on Friday night.
After missing a field goal to give the Eagles a victory as time expired in regulation, Rodriguez was given another chance, and his 22-yard kick went through the uprights in overtime to give North Olmsted an 18-15 victory over the previously unbeaten Demons.
“There’s no better person that I’d want kicking that than Tommy Rodriguez,” North Olmsted head coach Mike Ptacek said. “He’s been a great player for us. He’s a senior and he’s been through that (situation before). He’s always been a clutch player.
“You know, so what, he missed it and we just leaned right back on him in overtime,” he added. “We’re very proud of everything he does.”
The Eagles defense made some big stops in overtime to keep Westlake from scoring on its possession.
“(Westlake’s) a good football team,” Ptacek said. “They were a 4-0 football team, and it’s a very good win for us.
“We know our defense is good,” he added. “We’ve had about a half of a bad quarter this season. We played tough last week and we played tough the first three weeks. This is the way we’ve been playing football all year, so nothing surprised me.”
North Olmsted (4-1, 1-1 in the Southwestern Conference) drew blood first, when senior Mike Starcovic ran for a 69-yard touchdown with 4:40 left in the first quarter (PAT by Rodriguez) to give the Eagles the early 7-0 lead. Two plays later, Starcovic recovered a Demons fumble to give the Eagles another scoring chance, but after gaining a first down, North Olmsted went for three negative plays and was forced to punt.
Westlake (4-1, 1-1 in the SWC) was not able to score in the first half, but the Demons came out after halftime and started to turn things around. Westlake’s Shawn Turk intercepted a Brad Novak pass on the third play in the second half, setting up the Demons’ first scoring drive, capped by Logan Paul’s 8-yard touchdown run (PAT by Sean Bigley) to tie the score at 7-7 with 7:17 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles took the next possession 68 yards to paydirt on 11 plays, with Novak running it in from the 1-yard line. The Eagles were good on the two-point conversion attempt, with Novak passing the ball to Joe Keleman, who was alone in the endzone.
Westlake tied it up on its next possession, when Turk ran for a 46-yard touchdown and Logan Paul ran in the two-point try, to even it up at 15-15 with 11:46 left in regulation.
Both teams had stalled drives, before North Olmsted’s field goal attempt was no good with 4.6 seconds on the clock.
The Eagles knew before the season began that this game was not going to be an easy win.
“I knew coming into the year this would be one of the hardest games of the season, because you’re always up for Avon Lake – because they are Avon Lake – and we knew that Westlake was going to be a very good football team,” Ptacek said. “It’s hard, at any level, to get up two weeks in a row. We fought through the disappointment of (losing) last week, and found a way to win.”
Starcovic led the Eagles in rushing with 140 yards on 21 carries, and a 37-yard pass reception. Paul led the Demons with 140 yards rushing on nine carries, while Turk ran 19 times for 90 yards.
“When two good teams play each other, there are probably seven or eight plays that are going to determine the outcome of the football game,” Westlake head coach Mark Campo said. “I can go back and tell you seven or eight mistakes that we made that were key to (North Olmsted) scoring, and key to us not scoring. That was the difference in this football game.
“Give them credit. They were physical and made plays when they had to and we came out on the short end.”
Westlake will host Olmsted Falls for homecoming on Friday at 7 p.m. North Olmsted will travel to Brecksville on Friday at 7 p.m.
AROUND THE WESTSHORE:
LUTHERAN WEST (2-3, 1-1 in the Patriot Athletic Conference) defeated the Brookside Cardinals 40-0 on Friday at Brookside High School.
The Longhorns amassed 477 total yards rushing, setting the school single-game rushing record.
Senior Chris Ranc also set a new school record for most yards rushing in a game. He broke the old record set by Kerry Blakemore in 1997 (280). Ranc carried 34 times for 362 yards and four touchdowns. Junior quarterback Greg Kunze and junior tailback Kyle Hayes also scored on the ground.
According to Longhorns head coach Dave Stupka, the offensive line, led by Kameron Bremer, Jake Pierse, Matt Glowacki, Pat Hofener, Sam Shick, Aaron Geye and Tyler Cerny, did an outstanding job. Senior fullback Ryan O’Connor played a huge role as the lead blocker on many of Ranc’s runs.
The defense also played well, holding the Cardinals to under 100 yards of total offense and allowing only five first downs. Defensive standouts included Izaak Zrnich, Derek Naim, Tyler Cerny and Nash Hagen.
“We are extremely happy with our effort tonight-our players and coaches did a gret job this week in practice,” Stupka said. “The hard work paid off.”
The Longhorns travel to play the Brooklyn Hurricanes this Friday at 7 p.m.
ROCKY RIVER (2-3, 1-1 in the West Shore Conference) shut out visiting Elyria Catholic 19-0. The Pirates scored on touchdown runs by Martin Finnegan (1 yard) and Michael Dickey (35 yards), and on a blocked punt return by Alec Hallal (10 yards). Rocky River will travel to Lakewood on Friday at 7 p.m.
LAKEWOOD (2-3, 1-1 in the WSC) edged out North Ridgeville 22-21. The Rangers host Rocky River on Friday at 7 p.m.
FAIRVIEW (1-4, 1-1 in the PAC) lost in a shoot-out to Black River 49-35. Fairview quarterback Jason Kish ran for five touchdowns in the game. The Warriors host Clearview Friday at 7 p.m.
BAY (2-3, 0-2 in the WSC) lost to Avon 42-7. The Rockets travel to Vermilion Friday at 7 p.m.
OLMSTED FALLS (0-5, 0-2 in the SWC) fell to Brecksville 50-20. The Bulldogs travel to Westlake Friday at 7 p.m.