Avon/N.O. FB

Avon's Joey Lance glides into the end zone Friday night. Against North Olmsted, Lance ran for 99 yards and one touchdown.

Avon shuts out North Olmsted, remains undefeated

Despite a lopsided score of 38-7, Avon football coach Mike Elder was quick to commend the North Olmsted Eagles for their effort and intensity Friday night.

Avon entered North Olmsted riding back-to-back shutouts over Midview (56-0) and Westlake (62-0). The Eagles kept their shutout streak going for two more quarters, but it ended when their Southwestern Conference foe scored on its first drive of the third quarter.

“It needs to be said, people will see a 38-7 victory, but this was a hard-fought win,” Elder said. “Tremendous respect to coach Brediger and North Olmsted. Their kids played their hearts out and made us earn it in four quarters so hats off to them. Just a typical SWC game.”

Avon has scored 156 points and given up just one touchdown in its past three games.

The game was the first this season for Avon (7-0, 6-0 SWC) without star running back Nick Perusek, who is lost for the season with a knee injury. Senior Joey Lance took the starting role and ran with it. Lance also had six catches for 59 yards in the first half but did not make a catch in the second half.

This opportunity was bittersweet for Lance who realized he only got this chance because of Perusek’s injury.

“I kinda played for (Perusek) tonight,” he said. “That really hurt me, he’s one of my brothers. I went out there and whatever they wanted me to, I’ll just do it for him. Without Nick, we didn’t have a rhythm in the first half.”

Lance led the team in rushing with 99 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Besides Lance, Devon Hunter carried the ball 10 times for 52 yards and a touchdown and Kam Erskine rushed three times for 75 yards and a TD.

Elder said the team had six offensive starters out, which most teams can’t overcome.

“We’re blessed with depth in Avon,” he said. “We weren’t where we want to be on offense, but we’ll get there. These kids just need more time.”

North Olmsted quarterback Anthony Guercio, who’s been one of the best quarterbacks in the SWC through the first six weeks, was largely held in check by Avon.

In the first half, North Olmsted (4-3, 4-2 SWC) managed just 63 yards on offense, with 55 of that coming from Guercio (29 rushing, 26 passing). On Olmsted’s seven drives in the first half, the Eagles had four three-and-outs, two turnovers on downs and had the ball going into halftime.

North Olmsted finished with 181 yards to Avon’s 480 yards.

After leading 17-7 after three quarters, Avon scored three touchdowns in the fourth to seal the game.

“I’m so proud of our kids. That’s obviously one of the best football teams, probably in Ohio,” North Olmsted Coach Tim Brediger said. “I just like how our kids fought. We kept our composure. There’s no moral wins, but if you would have told me a week ago we’d be in the game in the fourth quarter, I would have been happy.”

Avon quarterback Danny Zeh torched the North Olmsted defense in the first half with 15 for 22 passing for 227 yards and a touchdown. I a run-focused second half, Zeh attempted just five passes, completing three for 35 yards.

Zeh’s lone passing touchdown was to sophomore Ryan Ptacek on a slant play that he took 68 yards for the score. North Olmsted’s only score came on a 14-yard strike from Guercio to Zach Doucette on the Eagles’ first drive of the third quarter.

North Olmsted hits the road Friday to play its bitter rival and No. 2 team in the SWC, Olmsted Falls. The Bulldogs lost their first game of the season Friday against Midivew. Last season, Olmsted Falls beat the Eagles 56-14.

Avon flies back home to play North Ridgeville on Friday. The Rangers picked up their second-consecutive and second overall victory this season when they beat Westlake 44-14 Friday.

“It’s really good for our kids to play in this. The last two games got ugly early and for our kids today, they had to earn everything,” Elder said. “This is a big week of practice for us offensively now. Devon Hunter, you’re going to find out that he’s a really good running back and Joey Lance is going to grow into that role more when we put him there. We’ll be better. I promise you that.”

Contact this reporter at jkopanski@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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