Riding a strong performance from senior running back Nick Perusek, the Avon Eagles landed the first punch and many more on their way to a blowout victory over the Berea-Midpark Titans.
The Eagles (4-0, 3-0 Southwestern Conference) rushed to 42 first-half points, which were more than enough to secure a victory against the Titans (0-4, 0-3 SWC) in a 49-13 Friday night beatdown at Joe Firment Stadium.
“I think we came out with the right amount of energy,” Avon head coach Mike Elder said. “You only get ten of these, and I was worried because our opponents are 0-3 and we’re 3-0 that we may have come out not ready to play, but our kids did, they came out with an edge and an attitude, it was a complete effort on both sides of the ball and I was proud of them.”
Perusek was a menace on the field, tallying 128 all-purpose yards in the first half and scoring twice. The senior opened the scoring in the first quarter from 5 yards out, capping off a drive where he caught two passes for 15 yards while carrying the ball four times for 23.
“That was our game plan all week,” Perusek said. “To get out to a fast start and to have a quick tempo throughout the entire game and I think that helped us get our lead and take the game away from them.”
Perusek added a 45-yard touchdown later in the half showing elite acceleration getting to the outside on a simple draw play, blowing past several Berea-Midpark defenders on his way to the endzone.
“I love his performance all the time, that kid is special,” Elder said of Perusek’s performance. “He’s a kid that runs hard for his size and he’s the fastest guy on the field, so as long as he’s healthy we’ve got a chance to beat anybody.”
A trio of Eagles piled on the remaining Avon touchdowns as running backs Devon Hunter and Desmond Kelly both were featured on scoring drives in the second quarter while Perusek rested on the sideline.
The Eagles brought in their backups in the second half, putting together a long scoring drive on their first possession that ended with a Mike Matlak touchdown run while taking more than six minutes off the clock.
Avon used the remaining time in the game to work on getting their younger players involved with several underclassmen taking the field.
“That’s part of who we are. We’re a program that wants to continue to look at next year,” Elder said. “We love to get kids in. We start that in practice, like in week five, no seniors can be in the second team huddle so we’re always looking ahead. But our players are used to that and they have that next man up mentality.”
On the other sideline, the Titans head into a week five matchup with Westlake (0-4, 0-3 SWC) coming off an equally lopsided 49-0 defeat to Avon Lake.
Still tied atop the SWC standings, Avon will travel to Midview (3-1, 2-1 SWC) as they look to continue on their conference title defense. The Eagles still have matchups with Olmsted Falls’ (4-0, 3-0 SWC) dynamic triple-option offense and an upstart Amherst (4-0, 3-0 SWC) squad.
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