Your neighborhood high school sports source! - News: Ohm lights up the night as Shoremen defeat Titans
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Ohm lights up the night as Shoremen defeat Titans
Ohm lights up the night as Shoremen defeat TitansStory by Jim Horvath
Photos by Ken Hornack
Video by Rob Trautman of RRT Productions

With plenty of time remaining on the Memorial Stadium scoreboard clock, the Berea-Midpark Titans had momentum on their side.

Quarterback Dan States found senior wideout Nate Diggins all alone down field for a 38-yard touchdown that cut Avon Lake's lead to 16-8 with 10:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Titans' defense, which had forced a three-and-out their last time on the field, had the Shoremen facing a third down and four at their own 22-yard line.

Avon Lake's response? Easy: Just hand the ball off to Wyatt Ohm.

Ohm, the Shoremen's 5-9, 185 bolt of lightning, took quarterback Dave Winkel's handoff, broke through the left side and sped up the home sidelines for a 42-yard gain to the Titans' 36-yard line. Nine plays later, his senior running mate, Colin Lucas, bulled up the gut for a 9-yard touchdown, and the Shoremen were on their way to a 23-8 Homecoming victory.

The Friday night win was the fourth in a row for Avon Lake after an opening-night loss at Avon. The Shoremen also kept pace in the Southwestern Conference standings at 2-0 to remain tied with Brecksville, a 42-10 winner at North Olmsted.

Berea-Midpark fell to 1-1 in the SWC and 1-4 overall, with visions of No. 5 haunting them on the bus ride back to their Bagley Road facility.

Ohm was a load all night, carrying the ball 30 times for 170 yards , including a 2-yard touchdown with 1:43 left in the third quarter that had given his team a 16-0 advantage.

"They're both running the ball really well," admitted Avon Lake head coach Larry laird, whose team gained over 268 yards on the ground alone on the efforts of Ohm, Lucas and Winkel.

"Wyatt had 170 yards tonight. It didn't seem like it, but he was getting 10 yards a pop here and there. That long run in the fourth quarter really swung the game for us, and that helped," he added.

After Ohm's 42-yard jaunt, Lucas went to work and carried the ball four of the next five plays as the Shoremen began to grind their way to the finish Laird was seeking. On third a five from the Titans' 18, Winkel went to the air and found senior receiver Max Seipel on a 9-yard gain to give the home team first and goal at the nine.

On the very next play, Lucas capped it off. The Avon Lake offensive line tore a gaping hole in the middle of the visitors' defense, allowing Lucas to rumble up the middle to paydirt with 4:22 left in the game. Alex Voloshen's conversion kick capped things off and gave the Shoremen their 15-point lead.

Berea-Midpark - as it did most of the night - moved the ball down field as States completed four of seven passes for 49 yards to get the Titans down to the Shoremen 36. But up stepped Ohm with an interception with 2:45 remaining to seal the deal for the Shoremen.

For Titans head coach Ray Hradek, it was the final straw in what had turned out to be a frustrating night.

"It was our execution tonight," said Hradek after addressing his team in the west end zone. "Missing a guy here or there, missing a receiver here or there, not running through the holes. It's those little execution plays that makes teams win games at critical points.

"We're still not there. It's still one of those things we've constantly got to work on," he said.

The first costly Titan mistake came on the team's first possession of the game. After holding the Shoremen on downs, a bad snap out of a shotgun formation went over States' head and into the end zone. The Berea-Midpark senior alertly fell on the loose ball to prevent the touchdown, but it was still two points for Avon Lake on the safety with 5:15 left in the first quarter.

That 2-0 lead stood until the 8:43 mark of the second quarter. That's when Winkel rolled right and found Seipel all alone in the right corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown strike. The Voloshen kick made it 9-0, a lead that would hold into the second half.

The Titans had a long drive of their own, taking the ensuing kickoff and driving from their 33 all the way down to the Shoremen 9-yard line. But another botched long snap went for an 8-yard loss, an ill-advised pass play was completed for another 7-yard loss and a fourth down pass fell incomplete in the end zone to spoil the drive.

The mistakes continued into the second half for Berea-Midpark. The Titans received the opening kickoff, only to misplay it and take over at their own 4-yard line.

"We're ready to roll in the second half because we're only down nine, then that happens," Hradek said. "Now we're back on the five. And the bad snaps? There were more than a couple. We've been pretty good - really good - in that area. When those things happen, you say 'what? I haven't seen that before.'

"We're so close, but sometimes it seems so far away. But I still think there's improvement from week to week. Last week, the game at Amherst was a little strange because of the muddy field. But our third game against Strongsville was really good offensively. If we're blocking the right guys and our backs are running through the right seams, we're looking a lot better," he said.

On the other sideline, Laird felt his team improved its execution on offense later in the game.

"The big thing for us is that we have to finish drives," Laird said. "In the first half, we did not finish drives. We really didn't to start the third quarter either. But in the final quarter and a half, we finished drives and that was the key to the game.

"I mean, we made it a little more difficult than we needed it to be tonight. That hasn't been a problem this season. It's one one kid missing his assignment here, one kid missing his assignment there. We'll get that shored up.

"That's what happens. They're high school kids. Sometimes you coach something all week long, and sometimes they still forget get what they're supposed to be doing," he added.

Avon Lake will now travel to Westlake next Friday night in a battle between the two teams that shared the SWC crown in 2012.

"I think we're progressing each week, and getting better and better," Laird said. "By Week 10, we're usually hitting on all cylinders. We're not there yet, obviously, but we'll get there."

Berea-Midpark will return home to George Finnie Stadium next Friday night to face Olmsted Falls, which won its first game Friday night with a 29-19 win over Westlake. Hradek said his team would get back to work and try to spruce things up before then.

"We've got to keep on plugging, keep on grinding. that's what we've got to do," he said.

{You can follow Rob Trautman on Twitter @RRTProductions. Follow our website @BeAFanatic)

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