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Erich Frombach, Athletic Director

Football Playoffs: Eagles defeat Highland 42-21

NORTH ROYALTON — With the game tied heading into the fourth quarter, Avon needed to score and milk the clock.

Luckily for the Eagles, those just happen to be running back Gerett Choat’s specialties, and he couldn’t have picked a better time to return to action on offense.

The junior rushed for 59 of his 95 yards and scored two of his three touchdowns in the final quarter, adding a 7-yard reception for good measure in Avon’s 42-21 victory over Medina Highland on Friday night in a Division II, Region 4, quarterfinal at North Royalton High School.

The win puts the Eagles into a rematch with Midview next Friday at a site to be determined. Avon lost 49-42 at Midview in Week 5.

Choat had not had a carry since Week 5 when he tore the AC joint in his right shoulder against Midview.

He has since played on the defensive side of the ball, but junior Sonny Cooper had been handling the running duties.

Cooper left the game with about 7:00 left in the second quarter after he came up nursing his leg following a 28-yard run. He finished with 36 yards on four carries.

“The past five weeks leading up to this, I didn’t play offense at all, and honestly that sucked because I love offense,” said Choat, who finished with five catches and 140 total yards. “But I feel like defense is really good for me, playing both sides of the football. But when Sonny went down early in the game I thought that I had to be the one who had to step up and lead our team to success.”

But with Highland (8-3) running the ball at will — the Hornets finished with 293 yards thanks mostly to running back Grant Wallace and quarterback Blake Phelps combining for 254 yards on 40 carries off of a deadly read-option attack — Avon needed an answer.

The Eagles (10-1) found it on their first drive of the fourth quarter. After Jake Sopko connected with tight end Chris Maxwell for back-to-back gains of 31 and 11 yards, then added an 11-yard run of his own, Choat began closing out the game.

To continue reading article from the Elyria Chronicle, click HERE

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High School Football: Avon defeats Olmsted Falls 28-13

Filed on October 25, 2014 by  

Avon's Alec Damasiewicz, right, blocks an extra point attempt by Rickey Castrigano of Olmsted Falls in the third quarter. DAVID RICHARD/CHRONICLEDa

Avon’s Alec Damasiewicz, right, blocks an extra point attempt by Rickey Castrigano of Olmsted Falls in the third quarter.

DAVID RICHARD/CHRONICLE

 

AVON – It sounds simple, of course. But Avon improved to 8-1 Friday night because, as simple as it may sound, the Eagles stayed on the field.

Showing now-annual offensive diversity that can keep opponents guessing, the Eagles used a steady dose of Jake Sopko and Zack Torbert in the air and Sonny Cooper on the ground to grind out a 28-13 win over a stout OlmstedFalls team.

The Eagles converted 8 of 14 third-down situations, and were 3-for-3 on fourth down in the win. There’s only one problem with that proficiency in those crucial situations.

“We were good on third down, but I think that means we need to be better on first and second down so we don’t have as many third downs,” said Avon quarterback Jake Sopko, who threw for 283 yards and ran for a touchdown.

To continue reading article from the Elyria Chronicle, click HERE

 

Football: Eagles survive another WSC shootout with Pirates

Eagles survive another WSC shootout with Pirates
Story by John Blake
Photos by Ryan Kaczmarski
Video by Rob Trautman
Most high school football fans anticipated a shootout between Rocky River and Avon, two of the area’s most prolific offenses.It took awhile for the fireworks to get started Friday night, but those in attendance at Rocky River Stadium certainly got their money’s worth.

After Avon built a modest 21-7 at halftime, the flood gates opened in the second half. Seven touchdowns and 49 points were scored in the third quarter alone as the visiting Eagles soared past Rocky River, 63-35, in West Shore Conference football action.

Defense was optional, for the most part. The Eagles and Pirates combined for a total of 1,198 yards on the night, 692 of them coming from the Avon side.

“I don’t know, it’s all a blur,” joked Avon head coach Mike Elder about what happened in that scoring frenzy of a third quarter.

“That’s the kind of team Rocky River is. They’re very dynamic on offense and they like to get in shootouts,” Elder said. “They do it very well. They stack guys up in the box and dare you to throw the ball over their heads and we had to do that a few times to stay ahead of them.

“With a dynamic player like they have at quarterback and wide receivers who do a great job, you got to keep scoring and then you just hope to get some stops,” he said.

Avon running back Sonny Cooper was one of the stars, racking up 264 rushing yards (307 total) on 24 carries and reaching the end zone four times. The Eagles were just as dangerous through the air, as quarterback Jake Sopko completed 23-of-34 passes for 341 yards. Zack Torbert led all receivers with 160 yards and three touchdowns on six catches.

“We couldn’t put it all together,” said Rocky River head coach Rick Adams, whose team dropped to 5-3 overall and 1-3 in the WSC.

“The offense struggled in the first half. The opening drive, we put it on the ground,”Adams said. “The defense, for the most part, played well in the first half. We missed a lot of tackles and they’re a good team. We got to play better. We’re there, just one step away.

“We just need to step up and make plays. It does get frustrating. One thing is we don’t quit. We keep coming back and coming back. We just couldn’t get that stop that could have put us over,” he said.

Rocky River scored on its first possession of the second half to cut the Avon lead to 21-14. The Eagles were just getting started, however, scoring two unanswered touchdowns over the next four minutes of play.

The Pirates did their best to claw their way back but the deficit was just too much and the Avon offense just too potent to make up the difference.
At one point, the Eagles scored twice on just three plays in the third quarter.

Neither team could really reign in the big play defensively. Torbert had touchdown catches of 64 and 66 yards, Rocky River’s Patrick Connors caught scoring passes of 30 and 59 yards and fellow receiver Evan Nugent hauled in a pair of touchdowns, good for 19 and 87 yards.

Cooper’s four scores came on runs of 12, 14, 15 and 53 yards. His career night came in handy, with starter Gerett Choat having been out since Week 5 due to injury.

“We certainly need Choat back on the football field. because he’ll make us that much better,” Elder said. “We knew going into the season our deepest position was at running back.

“I thought our offensive line is really starting to jell. They’re playing well up front, and they’re physical,” Elder said. “I think our last three games we kind of leaned on them and they did a good job. In the first half I didn’t like how we were running the football. They had a good game plan, made some adjustments and challenged our kids.

“I thought we ran the ball a lot better in the second half,” he said.

 

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Football: Eagles defeat North Ridgeville 56-21

igh School Football: North Ridgeville at Avon

Filed on October 11, 2014 by 
 

Avon # 27 Sonny Cooper makes one of many Avon touchdowns of the night. Amanda K. Rundle

Avon # 27 Sonny Cooper makes one of many Avon touchdowns of the night. Photo by: Amanda K. Rundle

 

AVON — The Avon Eagles adopted a “next man up” philosophy when Mike Elder took over the program eight years ago, and that way of thinking has paid off handsomely.

With star running back Gerett Choat watching from the sidelines the past three weeks, junior Sonny Cooper has picked up the slack … and then some.

Cooper scored four touchdowns, junior quarterback Jake Sopko threw for a pair in the second half and the Eagles rolled to a stunning 56-21 victory over North Ridgeville on Friday night.

Cooper scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half against Midview after Choat was knocked out of the game in Week 5, and scored four more against Elyria Catholic last week — giving him 10 touchdowns in the last 10 quarters.

“I was shocked myself … I didn’t see that coming at all,” Cooper said. “When I scored my first one I was just like, ‘Wow, I wasn’t expecting it to be that quick.’ Then the second one came and the third one came and the fourth one came … and after the fourth one I was just impressed with my own play at that point.”

It was the kind of performance the visiting fans were used to seeing from Rangers junior running back Demario McCall, who’s scored four touchdowns or more in four games this season.

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High School Football: Avon at Elyria Catholic

Filed on October 4, 2014 by  

 

KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE          Elyria Catholic High School senior running back Justin Rankin (44) runs the ball and is tackled by Avon High School senior defensive lineman Bryson Golini (68) and senior line backer Tanner Doenges (44) on Friday night, Oct. 3.

KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE
Elyria Catholic High School senior running back Justin Rankin (44) runs the ball and is tackled by Avon High School senior defensive lineman Bryson Golini (68) and senior line backer Tanner Doenges (44) on Friday night, Oct. 3.

 

 

ELYRIA — Playing for the first time this season on grass, on a rainy night and without star running back Gerett Choat, things could have turned dreary for Avon when it fell behind in a West Shore Conference game against Elyria Catholic Friday night.

Instead, it suddenly became Sonny — as in junior running back Sonny Cooper, who filled in for the injured Choat and scored four touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 33-12 win.

Avon rebounded from its Week 5 loss at Midview to improve to 5-1 and 2-1 in the WSC.

Cooper, a 6-foot, 171-pound junior, took full advantage of his starting opportunity to carry the ball 23 times for 141 yards.

“Our offensive line was locking up the trenches real hard and creating running lanes,” Cooper said. “Without those guys we’d have no pass game and no run game, so I owe all the credit to them.”

With a steady rain falling most of the evening, Cooper, who had touchdown runs of 1, 17, 6 and 6 yards as well as a 2-point conversion in the third quarter, said he had to adjust to playing on the grass surface of Knights of Columbus Field.

“It was a pretty big adjustment we had to make throughout the game,” Cooper said. “When you play on turf you’re not used to slipping and sliding on every play and the mud getting stuck in your cleats. The hardest part was trying to run in between the hash marks.”

To continue reading article from the Elyria Chronicle, click HERE

H.S. Football: Midview knocks off Avon 49-42 in instant classic

Filed on September 27, 2014 by  

EATON TWP. — It’s hard for two highly touted teams to play a game that lives up to the hype, but Avon and Midview exceeded all expectations Friday night.

The Middies struck quickly and twice gained two-touchdown leads, the Eagles scored three straight times to open the second half and Midview finished with two touchdowns — the last with 19 seconds remaining — to eke out a 49-42 victory in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

“We knew it was going to be a good game,” Middies coach D.J. Shaw said. “We knew it was going to be an awesome atmosphere. We knew it was going to be great weather. Our kids have been looking forward to this game for a long time. It was so hard to not let them look ahead from week to week.

“Avon is a great football team. We just made the last play tonight and ended up on top.”

Big plays were made all over the field from the starting kickoff to the final whistle.

To read more from the Elyria Chronicle, click HERE

High school football: Choat scores four times, defense dominant in 35-0 win over Lakewood

By Jon Behm, The Morning Journal

 

To beat Lakewood, you have to stop the run.
That is exactly what Avon did in a 35-0 dismantling of the Rangers to open up West Shore Conference play on Sept. 19 at Joe Firment Stadium in Avon.
The Eagles only allowed Lakewood 105 rushing yards, with 54 coming in the first half. With only 162 yards of offense the entire game, the Rangers were hardly moving the ball at all.
“We were able to do some stuff on offense in the first half and take advantage of our possessions, which you need to do against them (Lakewood) because they run the ball so well and they can shorten the game on you,” Avon coach Mike Elder said.
“Anytime you’re struggling to stop the run, it usually starts with your defensive line at any level. I thought our front three and sometimes our front four did a good job of making sure that we were playing across the line of scrimmage, which frees up our linebackers who are pretty talented to make plays.”
The Eagles allowed the Rangers only six plays in the red zone and only two in the first half. Both red zone trips resulted in Avon getting the ball.

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Fast start gets Avon past Rangers in WSC opener
Fast start gets Avon past Rangers in WSC opener
Story by John Blake
Photos by Ryan Kaczmarski

This wasn’t exactly what Lakewood had in mind to start West Shore Conference play.

The Rangers opened league play Friday night, but couldn’t keep up with Avon’s high-powered offense during a 35-0 loss at Joe Firment Stadium.

The host Eagles, unbeaten on the season at 4-0, jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and never looked back.

“Yeah, it was tough,” admitted Lakewood head coach Michael Ribar, whose team fell to 2-2 on the season.

“We came out, and we knew what we had to do,” Ribar said. “We did not give them the short field the whole night, but when we got down in here, we couldn’t finish.

“Those are opportunities that you can’t let get away against a good team,” he said.

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Avon takes down Twinsburg, 52-13

by Scott Sommers

Seven proved to be a lucky number when it came to Avon’s offense.

Quarterback Jake Sopko threw four touchdowns – three of them to Zack Torbert, while Gerrett Choat rushed for three touchdowns as the host Eagles scored on all seven possessions they had in the first half en route to a 52-13 nonconference win over Twinsburg on Sept. 12.
“We had a really hard week of practice,” Sopko said. “We knew they (Twinsburg) were a good team, better than what their record shows. We really wanted to be efficient, get everything going which I thought we did.”
The efficiency Avon (3-0) wanted came to fruition early.
On the game’s fourth play, Sopko did a beautiful play-action fake handoff to Choat and lofted his pass to Torbert, who got behind the defense. Torbert hauled in the pass and outraced the Tigers defender to score from 59 yards out.

To continue reading article from the Morning Journal, click HERE

Click HERE, to read article from the game from the Elyria Chronicle

High school football: Avon’s Sopko, Torbert connection sinks Avon Lake, 44-7

By Jon Behm, The Morning Journal

POSTED:  |



Drew Scofield/dscofield@morningjournal.comAvon junior Jake Sopko, center, watches for an open pass against Avon Lake on Aug. 29.

The annual rivalry matchup between Avon and Avon Lake was expected to be a close game on paper.
For the Shoremen, too bad paper is not reality.
Avon rode the arm of junior quarterback Jake Sopko to a 44-7 victory in the home of its rival on Aug. 29, dominating the Shoremen from the start.
“Any time you can beat your rival and get a win, we’re happy with that,” Avon coach Mike Elder said. “I have tremendous respect for Avon Lake and their kids. They played exceptionally hard and they never quit and that’s the sign of a well-coached team.”

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Click HERE to read article and view photos from cleveland.com

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Varsity Rivals – Avon vs Lake… Beat Lake!

A brief documentary video on the rivalry between Avon and Avon Lake football programs.