Shoremen defense shines bright in win
Avon lake fought through a rain-soaked night to temper high-scoring Berea-Midpark and remain undefeated on the season and in control of first place in the Southwestern Conference.
Avon Lake fought through a rain-soaked night to temper Trevor Bycznski and the high-scoring Berea-Midpark offense in a 49-21 win Oct. 12 to remain undefeated and in control of first place in the Southwestern Conference.
The game had all the makings of a shootout as the teams matched each other point-for-point through much of the third quarter, but an assist from the weather and some critical turnovers allowed the Shoremen to pull away to the tune of 28 unanswered points from the 3:04 mark of the third quarter.
Berea-Midpark (6-2, 5-2 SWC) has one of the most highly touted passing games behind Bycznski, a Rice commit, but as the rain began to fall in earnest, the Titans had to shift focus to the run when receivers couldn’t hang onto the ball and the offense was exposed by the Shoremen.
Avon Lake forced four turnovers, including two interceptions, and scored 21 points off three in the second half.
“It definitely helps,” Avon Lake coach Matt Kostelnik said of the weather. “Even if it just helps psychologically knowing our run game is what it is.”
The Shoremen running backs certainly ran with the confidence of a team that knows it can punish opponents on the ground.
Konner Riggs amassed 212 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries in what has become business as usual for the 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior.
“Rain coming down, it gets a little bit harder to hold onto the ball, takes out the passing game of both offenses so I’m just glad we came out with no turnovers in that (game),” Riggs said.
Even with much of the focus on Berea-Midpark’s passing game, Kostelnik described the Titans as having a “complete offense” and didn’t discount what they could do with the run.
Berea-Midpark still put up 401 yards of offense against the Shoremen, including 189 rushing yards, but Kostelnik said it was a newfound confidence that made the difference down the stretch.
“That was the point of emphasis: Don’t play scared,” Kostelnik said. “These guys are gonna make plays. … They still had 400-some yards of offense tonight. That’s a complete offense. Our kids just stuck to the game plan, they moved around, they were able to get (Bycznski) off his square and deliver when we needed them to.”
Avon Lake quarterback Jack Mikolich was 6 of 13 with 77 yards and a touchdown and added 20 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Bycznski finished 20for-34 with 212 yards and a touchdown for Berea-Midpark, Bryce Agnew added 12 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown and Anthony Miller had a 28-yard touchdown run.
“I don’t know if the weather affected us as much as it maybe looked like, I just think we should’ve had some execution in critical moments,” Berea-Midpark coach Jon Hunek said. “Really it boils down to execution. (Avon Lake) made plays. We didn’t and we put our defense in a couple bad spots because we turned the ball over.”
Avon Lake’s Konner Riggs takes the ball through the BereaMidpark defense on Oct. 12.