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Chagrin emerges as CVC frontrunner at 3-0 Kenston, West G, Orang
Chagrin emerges as CVC frontrunner at 3-0 Kenston, West G, Orange in the hunt
By TONY LANGE
After an early 14-0 lead, Chagrin Falls owned the football during its win against Wickliffe Friday and remained the only unbeaten team in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division at 3-0.
Switching players from position to position, Kenston committed to stopping the run against Orange and put together its first complete game of the season to improve to 2-1 in the Chagrin Division. Failing to execute, Orange dropped to 1-2 in the conference race.
Two turnovers cost West Geauga in its first loss of the season against Aurora last as the Wolverines dropped to 2-1 in the Chagrin Division.
Meanwhile, Aurora improved to 2-1 in the Conference race. Wickliffe dropped to 1-2. Perry improved to 1-2 with its win against Harvey, the only team in the Chagrin Division without a win at 0-3.
After giving up 32.6 points per game in the first half of the season, Kenston (3-3, 2-1) decided it was time to make some defensive tweaks in week six against Orange (3-3, 1-2).
Failing to stop the run or pass game all season, Kenston head coach Pete Thompson said the Bombers worked all week following their 48-28 loss to Chagrin Falls (6-0, 3-0) and committed themselves to stopping the run.
"We really went back to a simple game plan and we really broke it down fundamentally where each position should be in the run game and worked real hard on that," Thompson said. "We had a couple personnel changes, too."
The Bombers moved a couple of linebackers to the defensive line, and moved all-state safety Alex Kocheff to a linebacker spot, he said.
"We're really fortunate enough to have some personnel that we can flop around like that," Thompson said. "Alex Kocheff, he's a versatile, complete true team player. He is an explosive athlete who we wanted closer to the football and he was all for that. Whatever we ask him to do, he does it."
Throughout four quarters, the Bombers held Orange to five total rushing yards on 35 running plays.
Leading the scoring effort for Kenston, quarterback Austin Zachem found the end zone on a 1-yard run in the beginning of the first quarter and a 2-yard run midway through the second quarter to give the Bombers a 14-0 lead at halftime. He completed one of five passes for the Bombers who ran the ball 55 times as a team.
Leading the ground game for Kenston was Nick Lombardy who chalked up 156 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns in the third quarter -- a 31-yarder and a 5-yarder.
Mike Braun also was effective with 104 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter -- a 7-yarder and a 5-yarder.
Kenston's last touchdown came off a blocked punt by Braun that Ryan Malik recovered in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
Darryl Richards had the Bombers' only reception of the night, a 21-yard catch. On defense, he was assigned to cover Orange's standout receiver Julian Turner.
That was a big assignment for Richards without Kocheff in the backfield, but he executed and kept Orange off the scoreboard, Thompson said.
Orange gained 83 of its 88 yards passing on 21 attempts. Struggling with snaps, the Lions had 13 fumbles, most of which they recovered.
"The bottom line about the Kenston game is it is our responsibility to execute and keep getting better at doing what we do," Orange head coach Adam Bechlem said. "We didn't execute enough to score or to win."
Chagrin Falls 21
Out to an early 14-0 lead, Chagrin Falls (6-0, 3-0) took its offensive game plan and reduced it to about a fifth of what the Tigers usually do and got a 21-0 triumph against Wickliffe (3-3, 1-2) last Friday.
Jack Campbell led the Tigers with first quarter touchdowns, the first on a 1-yard run and the second on a 3-yard run. Campbell tallied 144 yards on 23 carries for the game.
Chagrin Falls only gave up one fumble the whole game.
"That was remarkable with 50-some snaps in that condition," head coach Mark Iammarino said. "It truly was a mud bath. The field was just slop. You couldn't see the yard lines or hash marks or anything."
The Tigers only threw the ball three times, Iammarino said.
Throughout the zero-zero second and third quarters, the main concern for the Tigers was that a guy would slip down in the open field allowing for a big play to happen, he said.
"We only had a few offensive series with the ball," he said. "We didn't punt. We turned it over on a fumble once, on downs a couple times. We monopolized the ball when we had it."
Chagrin Falls' last score was the result of a 16-play, 70-yard drive that consumed most of the fourth quarter, Iammarino said. Kurt Vidmer finished it off with his 1-yard touchdown carry.
It was Chagrin's first shutout of the season.
West Geauga 7
Turnovers proved to be costly last Friday as West Geauga (5-1, 2-1) suffered its first loss of the season, 17-7, against Aurora (5-1, 2-1).
The strategy in a game with bad weather conditions against a good opponent is to not turn the ball over and to do all the little things right, West Geauga head coach Lou Cirino said.
"We definitely didn't do that," he said. "We had a punt blocked and we gave up a fumbled kickoff return, so we gave Aurora really great field position."
Aurora was able to score a touchdown and a field goal off the Wolverines' turnovers. The score at halftime was 17-0.
"I always tell them you can quit and give up or you can continue to fight," Cirino said. "They continued to fight all game. They didn't back down in the second half, so I was proud of the way they played."
Scoring for the Wolverines was Joe Ziccardi who finished an eight-play, 60-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to open the second half and to cut the lead 17-7. That turned out to be the final score.
Cirino credited Aurora's defense as the winning unit.
"Aurora fumbled the ball, too, and we couldn't put it in the end zone like they did on us," he said. "The Aurora defense did everything it was supposed to do."
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