Falls workhorse Mike Varga gets the handoff during the Bulldogs’
35-7 loss to Avon Lake. (West Life photo by Larry Bennet)
tamed by Shoremen
By Matt Pawlikowski
Published Sept. 26, 2007
Olmsted Falls meets Avon Lake on the football field, one thing is
certain: It will be old-fashioned, smash mouth football won in the
On a hot and humid Friday night in Olmsted Falls,
the contest between the two state powerhouses was no different.
In the end, Avon Lake, ranked third in the latest state poll, proved
too tough in a 35-7 win over the Bulldogs.
“The kids were in there every play, and I thought
we played well up front, especially in the first half,” said Bulldogs
coach Jim Ryan. “The second half we got a little tired; the heat
and humidity got to us. Avon Lake has 105 kids out and they can
rotate them in and out, and we have a lot of two way players, so
no doubt that hurt us tonight.”
For a bit, despite playing many players two ways,
Olmsted Falls looked like it was more than up to the task of facing
the Shoremen. After being stymied by the defensive pressure that
Avon Lake was putting on them, Olmsted Falls abandoned its bread
and butter, but then went back to the spread and mounted a 10-play
77-yard drive in the second quarter. Brandon Russo scored from five
yards out, and it was 14-7 at half.
But the second half was all Shoremen as they scored
21 unanswered points.
Avon Lake got a great game once again from its two
backs Mike Haddad and Jeff Tell, as each hit the 100-yard barrier.
But it was the arm of Nick Firment that got the Shoremen machine
rolling. With 2:55 left in the first quarter, he hit Ryan Sherer
from 15 yards out to take a 7-0 lead. Then, on its next possession,
it took just three plays, and he
found Sherer again, this time from 31 yards out, to make it 14-0.
Firment also got in on the scoring action himself
when he caught a 16-yard pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“Oh, that felt good,” said Firment. “It was good,
Coach told me we were putting it in on Monday, and I knew it was
going to be great for me.”
Avon Lake Coach Dave Dlugosz joked after the game
to one of the radio stations that perhaps he may get a car out of
the Firment’s touchdown reception.
As for his passing, Firment, who was 6 of 14 for 135
yards, said the plays were designed after Dlugosz and his staff
saw something in the Falls defense during films. The play of Avon
Lake’s line also helped his cause.
“That’s the best they played,” Firment said. “They
didn’t make any mental errors at all; they just played great and
were solid all night.”
Entering the game, the media hype surrounding it was
about Avon Lake wanting revenge. Not so, according to Dlugosz, who
is friends with Ryan, after the win.
“That stuff is for the papers and the fans in the
stands,” he said sternly after the game. “Certain daily newspapers
like to use the term, but our kids do a great job on a daily basis
of not looking ahead week to week. If you look ahead in this conference,
you’ll just get beat.”
“You never think you are going to go in 14-7 at half
then lose,” said Ryan. “They go up 21-7, we come back, but fail
to convert on fourth down, and that was our chance. They have a
nice offense; they control the ball on you, and do it effectively.
We’ll try to get a win No. 4 against Midpark this weekend.”