Olmsted Falls is a model of consistency on the football field.
The Bulldogs know who they are every fall, running their old-school flexbone offense with precision and feasting on opponents who aren’t prepared to handle their physicality in the trenches. Their familiar style, sans frills and heavy on the run game, has led to six consecutive playoff appearances.
They’re hard to prepare for for anyone on their schedule, and on nights like Sept. 17, even harder to hang with. Eight different players combined to rush for 407 yards, and the Bulldogs scored touchdowns on their first five possessions to beat visiting North Ridgeville 49-19 at Charles A. Harding Memorial Stadium.
“It was awesome,” junior tailback Rocco Conti said. “Our motto is start fast and finish strong, and we did that.”
The Bulldogs moved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Southwestern Conference. Against the upstart Rangers (3-2, 1-1 SWC), they controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and imposed their will throughout the night.
Coach Tom DeLuca thought it was his team’s best performance of the season, which has now reached its halfway point. Even in the team’s other three wins, dreaded inconsistency had started to creep in in the form of turnovers and stalled drives.
They lost three fumbles to the Rangers, but their execution was still crisp as they built a big lead. They went ahead 29-0 in the first quarter and led 42-0 with 3:31 left in the second.
“The first couple weeks of the season, we weren’t producing how we really wanted to offensively, for numerous reasons,” DeLuca said. “We didn’t execute. We focused on dialing in this week at practice and being sharp, and our goal was to execute tonight in the first half, and, really, we were pretty good. We were almost flawless in the first half.”
Five Bulldogs rushed for 40 or more yards, led by 117 on 10 carries from Conti. He ran for three touchdowns in the first half (6 yards, 4, 10) and hauled in a 35-yard pass from senior quarterback Charlie Ciolek for a fourth score. It served as Ciolek’s only completion of the evening in five attempts, though he added 103 yards and a 15-yard touchdown on nine carries.
Clay Vormelker (43 rushing yards) and Luke Dieckman (78) each ran for a touchdown to help pad the lead. Jack Pinchek added another 42 yards as the Bulldogs showed off their trademark fleet of dangerous runners.
“When we’re not turning the ball over and possessing the ball on offense, nobody can stop us,” Conti said. “It’s super hard to game plan for us because we have so many guys that can carry the ball and that are good at carrying the ball. We’ve got me, (Pinchek), Dieckman, (Vormelker), and they’re all phenomenal, so it’s pretty hard to stop us.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs got into the Rangers’ backfield and disrupted plays before they could develop. The Rangers rushed for 138 yards, but almost half of those came on senior quarterback Jacob Madis’ 67-yard touchdown run late in the first half.
Madis led his team with 112 yards on 17 carries and completed 11 of 15 passes for 180 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to Mason Worcester and Charlie Steinmetz that briefly made it 42-19 and halted the running clock.
Dieckman’s 5-yard scoring run with 3:10 left to play helped push the margin to 49-19, five plays after Markus Criswell recovered a Madis fumble inside the Ranger 22.
“I don’t think our guys quit,” Rangers coach Bryan Morgan said. “I think they did a good job of staying in the game. It comes down to having some great kids on our team, led by our seniors. At halftime, it wasn’t woe is me. It was about coming out and making sure we got better in the second half, and I thought we did.”
“(Falls) is a lot bigger, a lot stronger,” he said. “I told the kids tonight that we lost the game not because of tonight’s play, but because Coach DeLuca’s been doing that with his off-season program for the last seven years. That’s a program, and that’s something we want to strive to get to.”
Worcester and Steinmetz finished with 82 and 42 receiving yards, respectively. Senior Kosta Thrasivoulou added four catches for 49 yards. The Rangers will attempt to rebound on Friday when they host Avon (3-2, 1-1 SWC) at 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs will welcome SWC newcomer Elyria (3-2, 0-2 SWC) at 7 p.m.
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