Maple Heights starting quarterback, freshman Dawon King, missed the entire game and his replacement, Delonte Hall, was knocked out of the game with just one second left in the first half with the Shoremen leading 21-6. Third-string Bryshaun Haskin finished the game for the seventh-seeded Mustangs.
The Shoremen (10-1) will face third-seeded Wadsworth (10-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Strongsville High School. The Bears (9-2) beat No. 6 Olmsted Falls 35-7 Friday night.
“(Hall) could really sling the ball around. For him being a backup, that was impressive,” Shoremen coach Matt Kostelnik said. “I told my guys that they’re down right now and you’ve got to smell blood in the water.”
The stout defense got an assist from special teams, blocking three punts in the first half. The first one, by senior Harry Hebert deep in Mustangs territory in the first quarter, set up a Mason Wheeler 2-yard touchdown run with 3:50 left for a 7-0 Shoremen lead.
Hall broke a 34-yard touchdown run with 10:16 left in the half to cut Avon Lake’s lead to 7-6.
Avon Lake stormed back as junior Gage Duesler capped a four-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. On the next drive, junior quarterback Michael Corbo threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior Matt Oehlstrom with 3:54 left for the 21-6 halftime lead.
Haskin’s first throw of the third quarter was intercepted by senior Tanner Russell, setting up a drive capped by another Duesler touchdown, increasing the Shoremen lead to 28-6.
Senior Zak Kovacs recovered a Marquise Lane fumble to halt a nine-play Maple Heights drive.
Hebert then kicked a 28-yard field goal with 11:04 for a 31-6 score. It was his 10th of the season, tying the school’s single-season record.
“All week we’ve been working on everything, just trying to master our craft,” Hebert said. “Obviously it paid off tonight because we got a big win against a good team.”
The Shoremen’s final score came when backup quarterback Jake DePaul scored with 5:20 left on a 45-yard run.
Led by Duesler (16 carries, 98 yards) and Wheeler (9-39), the Shoremen rushed for 218 of the team’s 248 total yards. Corbo rushed for 36 yards, but only completed 2-of-6 passes for 30 yards, including the scoring strike to Oehlstrom.
The Mustangs finished with more than 200 passing yards, but the Shoremen defense held them to 38 rushing yards and recorded five tackles for a loss.
Kadyn Viancourt had three sacks, while senior Nick Marsh and junior Jacob Sintic each had two-and-a-half sacks.
“We just used (speed) to our advantage and got to the quarterback,” Viancourt said. “That was our game plan and we came out ready to go.”
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