Football week No. 1
By Ryan Kaczmarski
The 2012 high school football season started last Friday, and what a start it was!
The WESTLAKE Demons started the season off with a convincing 26-7 win over visiting North Ridgeville, in a game that Westlake dominated on both sides of the ball.
“The thing that made me most pleased was that we played physical football,” Westlake head coach Mark Campo said. “That is what (our) goal was when I came here, and I think that, in the past, (North) Ridgeville has been more physical than us.”
The Demons’ defense held the Rangers to 167 total yards, only giving up 50 yards in the second half.
“The defense I thought was outstanding,” Campo said. “We only gave up one play (a 66-yard Paul Sonego touchdown run). We put good pressure on their quarterback and tackled well.”
Senior wide receiver Shawn Turk let it be known that he will be a force to be reckoned with this season after scoring three touchdowns in the game. The first two came on passes by senior quarterback Kent Axcell (72 and 15 yards), and the third on a 30-yard run.
“Shawn is just a playmaker,” Campo said. “He’s not the speediest or shiftiest guy, but he’s a football player, and he gets the ball and he’s going north and south.”
Turk excelled in both the passing and running game, gaining 112 yards on 15 attempts and 67 yards on two receptions. While Turk had a great game individually, he knows that the victory was a total team effort.
“Our (offensive) line did a nice job,” Turk said. “If you look at the first touchdown, Kent was scrambling all over the place, and they stayed with their blocks, and that allowed me to just run down the field.”
Westlake need not worry about losing last year’s starting quarterback, running back and No. 1 wide receiver.
“This was a coming-out party for everybody,” Turk said.
Axcell finished the game passing for 145 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
“He’s a playmaker, and as he gets more experience, he’s just going to get better,” Campo said. “As he continues to improve, he’s going to make it hard on defenses.”
Senior running back Danny Strodtbeck added a 1-yard touchdown run late in the game.
The Demons will visit Bay on Friday at 7 p.m.
AROUND THE WESTSHORE
LUTHERAN WEST won its season opener at Firelands, 29-7. After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Longhorns bounced back with a 92-yard kickoff return by Izaak Zrnich to tie the game. Lutheran West took the lead on a field goal, making the score 10-7 going into halftime. The Longhorns added to their lead midway through the third quarter on a touchdown pass from Greg Kunze to Brad Warnkin to make it 16-7, and never looked back.
“We were able to do a very good job running the ball,” Longhorns head coach Dave Stupka said. “Senior tailback Chris Ranc, behind a great effort by our offensive line, running backs and receivers, was able to carry the ball 21 times, for 144 yards and two touchdowns. I’d also like to credit our defense. They were outstanding all night.
“We’re real pleased with our effort,” he added. “We still have some things to work on, but it was a real good start for us.”
The Longhorns will dedicate their new field on Friday against visiting Hawken at 7 p.m.
BAY traveled to Orange High School and squeaked out a win on a blocked extra point, 21-20. Junior quarterback Jake Best passed for three touchdowns, one each to seniors Scott Rapps (5 yards), Ryan Voiers (51 yards) and Luke Rohlke (14 yards).
Bay will host Westlake on Friday at 7 p.m.
OLMSTED FALLS fell to visiting Bedford, 47-14. After going up 14-0 on a 4-yard Sean Fallon run and a 73-yard Turner Jones reception from quarterback Drew Meketa, the Bulldogs gave up 47 consecutive points.
The Bulldogs host Highland on Friday at 7 p.m.
LAKEWOOD trounced visiting Lincoln West, 51-14, on five rushing touchdowns, a passing touchdown, an interception return and a safety.
The Rangers will host North Olmsted on Friday at 7 p.m.
NORTH OLMSTED defeated Valley Forge, 21-10. The Eagles scored on a 70-yard interception return by James Ahern, an 11-yard run by Tom Sutton and a 23-yard run by quarterback Brad Novak.
The Eagles travel to Lakewood on Friday at 7 p.m.
ROCKY RIVER defeated FAIRVIEW, 7-0. The Pirates scored on a 24-yard Pat Connors reception from Keelan Boettcher.
Rocky River hosts Parma on Friday at 7 p.m.
Fairview travels to Cuyahoga Heights on Friday at 7 p.m.