Avon sophomore Gerett Choat, left, and Lakewood junior Casimier Mitchell will be the featured running backs in Friday night’s West Shore Conference matchup. Choat photo – Taylor Neigh; Mitchell photo – Ryan Kaczmarski
West Shore Conference
By Ryan Kaczmarski and Joe Ostrica
The Lakewood High School football team is coming off a screwy week No. 3, in which the Rangers played one half of their game against Normandy on Thursday night at Byers Field, then had the game postponed due to lightning, and finished with a 31-6 victory on Saturday morning.
The victory gives the Rangers (1-2) some momentum going into the West Shore Conference opener, when they host the Avon Eagles on Friday night, after losing to the other area Eagles team in North Olmsted in week No. 2.
“We rushed for 200 yards as a team, with Casimier (Mitchell) running for 190 yards (in week 3),” Lakewood head coach Ron Lewis said. “We threw the ball a little bit better last week, and defensively, we played pretty well. We held Normandy to less than 50 yards rushing.
“We said that we would look back at the end of the year and think we are a lot better than we played in our first two games.”
Lakewood (1-2) will have a tough task in defeating the three-time defending WSC champions, in Avon.
“Their quarterback (senior Tommy Glenn) is a really good player,” Lewis said. “Mike (Elder, Avon head coach) is doing a great job. They’re not the same team (as last year), but a lot of their kids are back, and they’re good players.
“Like I said earlier, we think that we are a lot better team than we were in the first two weeks of the season. We started to take some positive steps with the crazy weekend we played, but we have to try to minimize what Avon can do with its passing game – we can’t give up the big plays – and on the other side of the ball, defensively, they have a lot of athletes on the field, and we have to try to move the chains and create the big play when we can.”
Lewis feels confident in his team’s offense to put up numbers on the scoreboard.
“Casimier is a 1,000-yard back and a good player,” he said. “Our quarterback is doing pretty well, and we have a big tight end. Those are the things we are going to focus on, on our side.”
The Eagles are coming off a 24-7 win over Twinsburg, which gives the Eagles a perfect 3-0 record.
“Our new starters have stepped up and performed very well thus far in the season,” Elder said. “I think our defense has played exceptionally well. Going into the season we thought they would be the strength of our football team.”
Elder said the Eagles were tested mentally and physically during the Twinsburg game.
“They were a physical team and I am proud of how our kids responded to adversity in the game,” he said.
Elder thinks Lakewood’s Lewis is a good football coach and will have his team well-prepared for Friday.
“We are going to have to play well if we want to leave Lakewood with a victory,” Elder said. “Our goals are always to win a conference championship and qualify for the playoffs. This game against Lakewood is the first step in helping us accomplish our goal of winning a WSC championship.
“Our league is very competitive and each week we will require great focus and effort if we have any hopes at winning the conference championship in 2013.”
Elder believes Avon’s seniors have done an outstanding job of leading the team thus far this season.
“Our seniors put in the hard work necessary to have a successful season and they have done a great job of building a strong chemistry within the locker room,” he said.
The game will be played at Lakewood Stadium, with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.