By Sean Duffy
Avon Lake, OH– The days are shorter, the weather has turned chilly and that can mean only one thing, it playoff time in northeast Ohio high school football. Our game of the week focuses on the Division II Region 6 quarterfinal match up between the #7 Maple Heights Mustangs (7-3) travel to take on the #2 Avon Lake Shoremen (9-1).
The first quarter was a showcase of great defensive play from both teams. Neither offense could get much going offensively, both teams would force the other to punt on their first two offensive possessions. Avon Lake’s defensive effort paid off with a blocked punt that set the Shoremen up on the Mustangs 4 yd line. On the next play Shoremen RB Mason Wheeler would score on a 4 yd TD run, a made extra point made the score 7-0 with 3:50 remaining. Maple Heights was on the move late in the quarter and was looking to even things up, at the end of the 1st quarter Avon Lake lead 7-0.
Maple Heights would get on the board early in the 2nd quarter, thanks to an electrifying 34 yd TD run by QB Delonte Hall, a failed 2 pt conversion made the score 7-6 with 10:16 remaining in the quarter.
Avon Lake would respond with 66yd scoring drive that was capped off with 2 yd TD run by RB Gage Duesler, a made extra point made the score 14-6 with 8:50 remaining in the half.
Avon Lake’s defense would force a Mustang punt that set the Shoremen up at midfield. Three plays later Avon Lake QB Michael Corbo connected with WR Matt Oehlstrom for a 25 yd TD pass, a made extra point extended the Avon Lake lead 21-6 at halftime.
Maple Heights got the ball to start the 2nd half , but they did not have it for long as Avon Lake’s DB Tanner Russell picked of Mustang QB Bryshaun Haskin, setting up the Shoremen deep in Mustang territory. Gage Duesler would score his second TD of the night, this time from 2 yd out, a made extra point made the score 28-7.
The Shoremen defense would again impose their will on the Mustangs as they racked up numerous sacks and tackles for loss. At the end of third quarter the Shoremen led 28-7 and were threatening to add to their lead.
Maple Heights defense would hold the Shoremen to a 28 yd field goal from K Harry Hebert, the score now 31-6 early in the fourth quarter. Avon Lake would score again getting a 45 yd TD run by WR Jake DePaul. That score would put the game on a running clock and out of reach for Maple Heights as Avon Lake would come away with the 38-6 victory.
Maple Heights ends their season with a disappointing loss and their final record stands at 7-4 overall.
Avon Lake moves on to the Division II Region 6 Semifinal where they will face #3 Wadsworth. The Shoremen were led by player of the game RB Gage Duesler who had 2 rushing TDs on the night.
Player of the Game- Avon Lake RB Gage Duesler talks about the win.
Avon Lake Head Coach Matt Kostelnik talks after the win against Maple Heights.