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Kenston, Hawken, Gilmour lose big
Kenston, Hawken, Gilmour lose big
By TONY LANGE
It was the same scenario for week one action last season. Orange, Chagrin Falls, West Geauga and University School started their football seasons with victories. Kenston, Hawken School and Gilmour Academy posted marks in their loss columns.
While conference races don't start until week four of the regular season, every game matters in the playoff hunt.
Bay Village 10
Finding the red zone in each of their six first-half possessions, the Orange Lions moved the ball up and down the field last Friday night during their season opener at Bay Village. They just had trouble putting points on the board.
The message at halftime when the score was tied at seven was to finish, head coach Adam Bechlem said.
"That's what we were lacking right there," he said. "We would just stall in the red zone for whatever reason."
During the first offensive series, the Lions drove the ball 75 yards to first-and-goal on the 5-yard line and fumbled. During the second offensive series, they couldn't convert a fourth-and-1 on the 10-yard line.
The Lions were quick to get the ball back after turning it over on downs, however, with Julian Turner's interception. Three plays later, first-year starting quarterback Dominic Vitali threw a screen pass over four Rockets to Turner who was on a wide receiver slant route that took him 17 yards into the end zone for the 7-0 lead.
"It means a lot to get that first touchdown and go up 7-0," Turner said. "We had a momentum builder and we needed to try to ride on that early lead."
The momentum swung right back in Bay Village's favor during Orange's next possession as the Rockets evened the score on an 80-yard pick-six in the second quarter.
The Lions then drove 62 yards down the field on their next possession and missed a 33-yard field goal attempt wide left. They got the ball back after forcing a three-and-out and lined up for another attempt in the 32-yard range, which resulted in another unsuccessful result as the snap was low and the Lions had to throw an incomplete pass instead.
Starting with the ball after halftime, the Lions lost a fumble on the second play of the third quarter due to a high snap. The Rockets took over on Orange's 19-yard line, but failed to score, which kept the game tied at seven.
Going three-and-out on their next two possessions, the Lions ball movement appeared to dissipate in the third quarter.
Bay had the ball during the last possession of the third quarter and was positioned first-and-goal on the 9-yard line. A momentum-killing sack by James Malcolm, however, forced the Rockets to kick a field goal giving them a 10-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.
"It was a designed blitz, so it just opened up perfectly like we practiced it, said Malcolm, who was on the field every offensive and defensive snap of the game for the Lions. When I got through, I kept thinking 'don't screw up and don't let go'. The play broke down good and I got the sack, which kept them from scoring a touchdown.
The Rockets looked to extend their lead as they got down to Orange's 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Bay attempted to run on a fourth-and-four play, but was stuffed by the Lions' senior lineman Austin Garcia.
Back on the field with less than five minutes to play, the Lions featured running back Marcus Henderson broke through the line of scrimmage and ran 78 yards for a touchdown to put the Lions on top 14-10 - the final score.
"I just tell my line to keep blocking. I'm going to make runs for you boys", said Henderson, who made short gains for the Lions all game. "I followed my man Austin Garcia up that hole and I saw daylight - touchdown."
University School 27
Hawken School 6
Great players make great plays and University School's John McKelvey did just that last Friday during the Preppers 27-6 victory over Hawken Schools.
A 0-0 game, McKelvey caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Eden two seconds before halftime to give the Preppers a 6-0 lead.
While upset with University School's first-half performance after the game, head coach Jim Stephens said he was far more encouraged on Sunday after watching the game film.
"The only two things that count in football are negative yardage plays and turnovers," Stephens said. "If we have fewer negative yardage plays and fewer turnovers than our opponent, we'll usually win."
The most important series in football is the first series after the half, Stephens said.
"I often tell them that at halftime," he said. "That series will establish the tone for the rest of the second half."
After returning three kickoffs for touchdowns last season, McKelvey picked up where he left off and returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to put the Preppers up 14-0.
"We have a great player in John McKelvey," Stephens said. "He had three touchdowns, made quite a few tackles. He returned punts, he returned kickoffs, he caught passes, he ran the ball and blocked well. That's just the kind of player he is. He's a special player. Special players come through and he changed the whole tone of the game."
Also scoring in the third quarter for the Preppers was Eden on a 1-yard run.
In the fourth quarter, Eden threw a 44-yard touchdown reception to McKelvey, which put the Preppers up 27-0. McKelvey ran up the middle and caught the ball inside the 10-yard line on that play, Stephens said.
The Hawks only score of the game was a 9-yard touchdown pass from Liam Green to Jeremy Simmons in the fourth quarter.
Chagrin Falls 28
Whether they were going to give up touchdown, one thing was for sure last Friday night for the Chagrin Falls Tigers - they were not going to give up rushing yards.
The Chagrin Falls defense only gave up 17 total rushing yards during the 28-14 victory over Revere, head coach Mark Iammarino said.
"They tried to run the ball on us and we did a great job all night long against it," he said. "That was great because we started some new defensive linemen and rotating some guys in there, so it's nice to see those guys successful."
On offense, the Tigers scored four touchdowns in the first three quarters and went up 28-0 before Revere was able to find the end zone.
In the first, second and third quarters, junior quarterback Tommy Iammarino threw touchdown receptions to Anthony DeCamillo for 4, 8 and 53 yards.
Coach Iammarino said he was not surprised those two connected three times for touchdowns.
"I think they worked well this summer," Iammarino said. "It was definitely part of our game plan."
The Tigers were 14 of 20 passing the ball for 143 yards with receivers Mike Hageman and Bill Cale also making multiple catches.
"We try to get the ball out a little bit and spread it around and that's what we'll hope to do this year, not just focus on one receiver," Iammarino said. "We really feel that we need to be explosive in the passing game and it was good to see three touchdown passes in the first game."
The Tigers' other touchdown came in the second quarter on a 56-yard run by Bradley Munday. It was a wide-sweep play with blocks from DeCamillo, Cale and Jack Campbell, Iammarino said.
"Munday just has got so much speed that if you don't get to him early, he is just able to get to the edge and then he just runs down the sideline," he said.
Munday's touchdown run in the second quarter set up DeCamillo's third-quarter touchdown, Iammarino said. The Tigers ran the exact same play and when Revere committed to the run, it opened up the play-action fake, he said.
After going up 28-0, the Tigers concentration was lacking, Iammarino said. They fumbled the ball three consecutive times on special teams with two punts and then a kickoff return, he said.
"When you have a fumble, in my perspective, those are just a lack of focus," Iammarino said. "With the transition, that's the difference between scrimmaging and then getting into a game that's 48 minutes."
He said the Tigers have to own those fumbles and can't put them aside just because they got a victory.
West Geauga 30
While the West Geauga Wolverines picked up their first victory by three touchdowns last Friday, the first half did not play to their favor.
"If you weren't at the game, it's a little misleading," head coach Lou Cirino said. "The first half, Chardon dominated the game."
The Wolverines' offense and special teams put the Wolverine defense in some tough spots in the first half, Cirino said. One positive was that the defense played great, he said.
"We lost a punt in that first half and I always tell our guys the punt is the most important play in football," Cirino said. "Our defense was able to avoid giving up a touchdown on that short field drive by Chardon."
When Chardon did score a touchdown on its ensuing drive, the Hilltoppers were given a 37-yard field and 20 free yards off Wolverine penalties, Cirino said.
"So, when we looked at the situation, we knew we weren't in too bad of trouble being down 9-0," Cirino said.
The Wolverines scored right before halftime to make it a 9-7 game with Joe Ziccardi's 57-yard touchdown run, Cirino said.
"We were still losing, but momentum plays a big role in football," Cirino said. "We went into halftime with a little momentum and some confidence and we came out in the second half and really took it to them both on offense and defense."
Ziccardi scored three more touchdowns in the second half. In the third quarter, he had 53-yard and 16-yard touchdown carries. He tallied 223 total yards on 17 carries, Cirino said.
"I told them the way that we played in the second half is the way that I expect you to play," he said. "When you execute as a team, you'll be hard to stop."
Playing Hudson at home to start their season did not go as planned for the Bombers last Friday night.
The scoreboard, which read 35-0 at the end of the game, told the whole story, head coach Pete Thompson said.
"We were dominated in all facets of the football game by a good team," he said. "Physically, they were superior to us. They established that on both lines of scrimmage right out of the gate."
After opening the game with a nine-play, 21-yard drive, the Bombers went three-and-out and punted on their next seven possessions of the game. During the fourth quarter, they tallied 113 of their 149 total yards. Kenston had 10 passing plays for 38 yards and 36 running plays for 111 yards.
Although Thompson said he doesn't think the Explorers are 35 points better than Kenston, last Friday night they were.
"Football is a great game, but at the end of the day, you are what the scoreboard says you are," he said. "So, we had to own up to that. We had to take responsibility for that both as coaches and players and learn from that and then move on."
The Bombers have nine other teams on their schedule that are not feeling sorry for them, Thompson said.
"We cannot feel sorry for ourselves either because we've got a great Geauga County rivalry coming up Friday night against Chardon," he said.
Gilmour Academy 7
The Bison were bigger and more experienced than the Lancers last Saturday as Gilmour had to take its first loss of the season play by play.
Beachwood scored early and often with two touchdowns in the first quarter and three touchdowns accompanied with a field goal in the second quarter. The Bison were up 45-0 before the Lancers' senior quarterback Michael Antonelli ran 22 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
After falling behind, the focus for the Lancers was to get better with each play by concentrating on the play in front of them and forgetting about the previous play, head coach Shawn Dodd said.
"We did some things good, but they physically were just more mature than us. And mentally they were a little more mature," he said. "I told our kids to try to get better every play and try to win ever play. In the second half we played pretty even."
Moving forward, Dodd said he told his players to let the loss bug them for 24 hours and then start thinking about their next opponent.
"It's a journey," he said. "It's not a one-game season. Even though the score wasn't in our favor, they kept competing."
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