Story by Matt Lofgren
Photos and video by Larry Bennet
Avon Lake avenged last season's loss to Southwestern Conference co-champion Westlake with a dominating 35-3 victory over the Demons Friday night at Westlake's Lou Duchez Field.
The Shoremen, who dropped a 28-21 decision to the Demons in 2012, moved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the SWC. Westlake dropped to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the conference.
Getting a complete team performance on both sides of the ball, Avon Lake head coach Larry Laird said the Shoremen have gone back to their roots to find success on the ground.
"I think we're a different team that started the year. We've gone back to our fundamentals," Laird said.
"We're going to run the football, throw play action and grind some meat. That's what I thought we did tonight," he said.
With good field conditions, the Shoremen were able to use their ground game effectively. Senior running running back Wyatt Ohm collected 145 yards on the ground on 24 carries with a touchdown, while Collin Lucas added 74 yards on 14 carries.
Lucas carried the load with his two rushing touchdowns from a yard out in the first quarter, followed by a 24-yard gash through the Demons' defense in the second quarter.
"On offense this game, we really just grasped the whole concept of being a team," Lucas said. "Last week, we had some trouble finishing drives. This week, we just punched it in each time we were in the red zone.
"It was great. We just played like a team."
Firing on all cylinders, the Shoremen got three scores on the ground. Quarterback David Winkel also found success through the air with 121 yards on 10-18 passing with two touchdowns.
After the game, Laird said he was pleased he was able to see more from his passing game than in weeks past as Winkel picked up where he left off last season.
"We threw the football a little bit more today, we had a little bit more success," Laird said. "I thought our receivers started to step up and David Winkel is starting to really look like the David Winkel from last season so I'm glad to see that."
Winkel called his own number early on in this one after the Shoremen found themselves in a quick 3-0 hole in the first quarter. On the game's first play of the game, Westlake's Kent Axcell found Dillon Schneider for a 72 yard pass that got the Demons down to the Avon Lake 8-yard line.
As it wound prove to do the rest of game, the Avon Lake defense was stout as it kept the Demons out of the end zone the entire game. Winkel responded with a 14-yard touchdown to Max Seipel to gain the lead, and the Shoremen never looked back.
Because of that Shoremen defense, Westlake accumulated just 172 yards of total offense, 72 on the first play alone. The Avon Lake front three made up of Al Pivcevich, Ben Oxley and Kyle Kuhar rocked the Demons at the line of scrimmage as their numbers were called all game long.
"We were dominant. Honestly, we were dominant and controlled the line of scrimmage" Laird said. "But we've got to have a great effort going into next week. Next week is for all the marbles in the conference."
The Shoremen will next play host to rival Brecksville with big implications in the SWC on the line. On Friday, the Bees dominated Amherst with a 48-7 victory over the Comets to remain tied with the Shoremen for the conference lead at 3-0.
Brecksville has never won on Avon Lake's home turf, and Laird stressed his team will be ready for the big showdown.
Southwestern Conference Standings
1. Avon Lake 3-0 (5-1) and Brecksville 3-0 (5-1); 3. Berea-Midpark 2-1 (2-4); 4. Westlake 1-2 (3-3); 5. Olmsted Falls 1-2 (1-5); 6. North Olmsted 0-2 (4-2); 7. Amherst Steele 0-2 (1-5).
(You can follow Matt Lofgren on Twitter at @MLofgrenDKS. Follow our website @BeAFanatic)