Turnovers and a stout Lakewood running attack were too much for the Eagles to handle on opening night at North Olmsted High School as the Rangers won 34-14.
Lakewood (2-1) rushed for a total of 261 yards and five touchdowns in the victory, with 166 of the yards coming from junior running back Javon Young. This was Young’s third game in a row with over 100 yards rushing.
“Javon Young had a great night for us,” said Lakewood head coach Ron Lewis.
Two of the Rangers’ touchdowns came off drives that were a result of two of the three North Olmsted fumbles in the game.
“We’ve had turnovers in two consecutive weeks now,” said North Olmsted head coach Mike Ptacek. “I have to do a better job of coaching them up and getting them ready to play, and play error free.”
“They (North Olmsted) are a good football team,” said Lewis. “Anybody that turns over the ball that much is going to get hurt by them and I’m glad we were able to capitalize on two of the three.”
Both teams started slow on offense as the first two drives of the game ended up with the offense having to punt. On North Olmsted’s second possession Lakewood senior defensive lineman Sie Doe recovered a fumble on the Eagles’ 16-yard line, giving his team a short field. After an eight-yard scramble, Lakewood senior quarterback Aturo Morgan ran the six remaining yards for the first score of the game (PAT good by junior Jacob Antel).
North Olmsted (1-2) tied up the game with 8:28 remaining in the second quarter on a five yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Bradley Novak to senior tight end Brian Kozlak that was the culmination of a 10 play, 74 yard drive (PAT by Thomas Rodriguez).
After another Eagles fumble, Lakewood regained the lead just before halftime on a five-yard scamper by senior running back Ben Fitchwell (PAT good) to make the score 14-7.
In the second half the Rangers ran at will scoring three more rushing touchdowns. The first came after a 10 play 64-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown run by Morgan (PAT good). The second came after a 15-play 70-yard drive ending with an 11-yard run by Young (PAT good). The final Rangers’ touchdown was also by Young after a six-play (all runs) 66-yard drive (PAT no good) to give Lakewood a 34-7 lead with eight minutes remaining in the game.
“The first half they were stuffing us pretty good,” said Lewis. “I thought we did a good job at making some adjustments in terms of spreading them (North Olmsted’s defense) out a little bit and then we were able to hit some creases. Once we did that, we were able to run effectively.”
After a 69-yard scramble by Novak, North Olmsted’s senior running back Joseph Lumpkin ran in a late touchdown (PAT good) with just over two minutes left in the game to make the final score 34-14 in favor of Lakewood.
“The next seven games are going to be really hard,” said Ptacek. “I think we have a lot of talent, but I’m not doing a good enough job getting these guys ready to play. We just need to do a better job of coaching and playing with better effort and enthusiasm. Until we start playing better as a team, the jury is still out on how North Olmsted will finish in 2011.”
North Olmsted starts Southwestern Conference play on Friday Sept. 16 at Avon Lake High School. The game is set to start at 7 p.m.
Lakewood starts the Northeast Ohio Conference (NOC)- Lake Division schedule on Friday Sept. 16 at Parma High School (Byers Field). The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“One of our goals is to win a NOC championship,” said Lewis. “This was a great win for us after the disappointing loss last week (to North Ridgeville). It’s great way for us to rebound and hopefully ride this momentum all the way into the NOC.”
· Bay (1-2) 17, Fairview (0-3) 14
It took a 33 –yard field goal by junior Jack Creech in double-overtime for Bay to get its first victory of the season. Fairview started the scoring in the first quarter with a 61-yard touchdown run by senior Anthony Santos (PAT by senior Adrian Bendo). After a scoreless second quarter, Bay tied the game on a 58-yard punt return by junior Ryan Voiers (PAT by Creech) and then took a 14-7 lead on a 7-yard run by sophomore Ryan Kana (PAT by Creech). Fairview sent the game into overtime by tying the score on a 1-yard run by senior John Doherty (PAT by Bendo). Bay plays Friday at 7 p.m. at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin. Fairview starts conference play at Firelands High School on Friday at 7 p.m.
· Westlake (2-1) 10, Rocky River (2-1) 6
Rocky River starts West Shore Conference play on Friday at Vermilion at 7 p.m. Westlake starts Southwestern Conference play at home against Amherst Steele on Friday at 7p.m.
· Independence (1-2) 35, Lutheran West (0-3) 0
Independence High School scored 14 points in the first quarter, seven points in the third quarter and 14 more in the fourth quarter to blank the Longhorns. Lutheran West starts Patriot Athletic Conference- Stripes Division play on Friday at Black River High School at 7 p.m.
· Olmsted Falls (1-2) 14, Mayfield (1-2) 0
Olmsted Falls scored in the first quarter on a 24-yard pass from senior quarterback Brennan Laird to junior wide receiver Drew Meketa (PAT by senior Nathan Ferster). The rest of the game was scoreless until a fourth quarter 1-yard touchdown by senior running back Evan Reike (PAT by Ferster). Olmsted Falls opens Southwestern Conference play on Friday at home against Midpark High School at 7 p.m.