Three Keys to the Sports on Tap Game of the Week: Olmsted Falls Bulldogs vs. Avon Eagles.

By Sean Duffy

The Division II  Region 6 Finals  features two teams that are very familiar with each other,  in fact one could say that these two teams know more about each other than any other Regional final matchup in northeast Ohio.  The #1 seeded Avon Eagles (12-0) face Southwestern  Conference rival #3 seeded Olmsted Falls Bulldogs (11-1) for a berth in the state semifinals in Division II.   Both teams know what is at stake,  both teams have the talent, and both teams know that it will take a near perfect effort to secure there spot in the state final four in Division II.  Below are the keys to watch for in this regional final matchup.

  1. Avon needs to establish early momentum– Avon’s Offense led by QB Ryan Maloy  has been impressive, seemingly scoring at will throughout most of the regular season.  However in the first two games of the playoffs  we have seen the eagles struggle in the first half against quality defenses such asToledo St. Johns and Highland, only to pull away in the second half.  Look for Avon to take shots vertically down the field against the bulldogs secondary in order to open up the run game that will hopefully return  RB Tony Eberhardt , who was out against Highland with mononucleosis. If Eberhardt cannot return , RB Nick Perusek , who filled in admirably against Highland, will be the primary focus of the run game.
  2. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it- Olmsted Falls turned in an almost perfect performance last week against a really good Wadsworth team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.  The Bulldogs defense was able to successfully slow down a high powered Wadsworth offense, who was averaging roughly 40 points a game. the obvious key to look for here is whether or not the bulldogs can duplicate the same defense in both effort and execution.  If the Bulldogs can limit the scoring opportunities for Avon’s offense,  utilize a strong running game anchored by RB Luke Lombardo and RB Jack Spellacy to control the pace of the game, Olmsted Falls will be in position to win a close game.
  3. Beware/embrace the cliché- It is well known saying in the world of sports,  it is difficult to beat a twice in one year.  These two teams met in week 2 of the regular season, which is basically a lifetime ago in football years. Avon was able to win that game 31-7.  Look for Avon to use the mantra of we beat them once we can do it again. Simple, yet effective for the psyche of a team that has not tasted defeat all season.  However, the bulldogs were on the losing end of that matchup and that loss is their only blemish on an otherwise perfect season.  Olmsted Falls and Avon have the benefit preparing for a team that they know all to well. Olmsted Falls will look to correct the mistakes that were made in week 2 of the regular season, while Avon will look to have a repeat performance.

At this point of the playoffs the cream has risen to the top,  and there is not much difference in the teams that are playing for a regional championship.  This matchup is particularly intriguing in that these are the top two teams from the Southwestern Conference.  While it is great bragging rights for the conference to have two teams from the same conference competing for a regional title,  neither team is satisfied with just making it this far.  It is sure to be a great regional final between these two teams on Friday night  in North Ridgeville.  The Sports on Tap crew will be in full force Rob on the camera, Josh on social media, and me providing  a recap of the game for your reading pleasure.   Be sure to follow us on twitter @sotpodcast for live updates from the game, use #sothsf to join in on the conversation.


See you in North Ridgeville!

Sports on Tap Game of the Week – #3 Olmsted Falls upends #2 Wadsworth

By:  Ed Dick

Brunswick, Ohio – The frigid air took twelve weeks to introduce itself to the high school football season in Northeast Ohio.  Visible breaths emanating through helmets, parents bundled up in the stands, and plenty of hot chocolate going around for this Division 2 Region 6 semifinal contest between the #3 Olmsted Falls Bulldogs and the #2 Wadsworth Grizzlies.  Wadsworth was attempting to set a school record for victories in a season, while Olmsted Falls wanted a potential rematch to avenge their only loss against #1 Avon.

Wadsworth’s offense hummed all season long behind the arm and legs of QB Joey Baughman.  Three plays into the game, Olmsted Falls DB Tyler Broski tipped a Baughman pass into the waiting arms of LB Brian Eiseman.  Eiseman returned the interception to the Wadsworth 27 yard line just 39 seconds into the game.  The Bulldogs, utilizing their patented triple-option offense, drove to the Grizzlies 8 yard line.  On fourth and two, head coach Tom Deluca eschewed a 25 yard field goal attempt and was promptly turned away by the Wadsworth defense.  Baughman got the Grizzlies out of trouble with a 30 yard run, but the Bulldogs were able to force a punt and got the ball back at their own 23.  Olmsted Falls took all of five plays covering 77 yards to take a 7-0 lead, capped off by runs of 38 and 11 yards by RB Jack Spellacy with 3:39 left in the first quarter.  Undeterred, Wadsworth countered with a three play, 58 yard drive ending in a 5 yard Baughman TD run to tie the game up at 7-7 less than a minute later.

The Bulldogs embarked on an eight play drive ending in a Luke Lombardo fumble at the Grizzly 3 yard-line, recovered by Wadsworth’s Clay Wagner.  Both defenses stonewalled each other’s potent offenses.  Wadsworth drove 66 yards to the Bulldogs 10 yard line with just three seconds left in the first half.  Ryan Larj came on to attempt a 27 yard field goal.  As the ball was snapped, the play was whistled dead as Wadsworth had a false start.  Larj had successfully split the uprights on the attempt, but faced a 32 yard attempt after the penalty was walked off.  Larj’s second attempt fell just short and the Bulldogs went into halftime tied 7-7 with the undefeated champions of the Suburban League National Division.

Wadsworth forced a three and out to start the second half.  Three plays later, Baughman found WR Jack Simmons at the Bulldog 3 yard line.  As Simmons was fighting for the end zone, DB Michael Howard forced a fumble recovered by DB Richie Nock, thwarting the drive.  Olmsted Falls continued to run the ball, getting out of Wadsworth territory before they were forced to punt. The Grizzlies took over on their own 8 yard line.  Brock Snowball put the ball on the ground, and Brett Eiseman recorded his second turnover of the game, recovering the fumble.  Wadsworth’s defense was up to the task, as FS Brett Randolph fended off two end zone passes from QB Teddy Grendzynski to WR Braden Galaska on third and fourth downs to stop the Bulldogs with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.  From the press box, Galaska appeared to have successfully completed his catch in the end zone, but was ruled out of bounds by the officials.  Wadsworth drove 92 yards in 9 plays, aided by a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty, and ended in a familiar combination of Baughman to WR Mitchell Blackburn for a 22 yard TD.  Ryan Larj’s extra point was good and the Grizzlies held a 14-7 lead.

On their next drive, the Bulldogs completed two timely passes, converting  both a 3rd and 7 via a 25 yard pass from Grenzynski to WR Josh Jaeckin and a 4th and 4 on Grendzynski’s 26 yard pass to Nock, taking the Bulldogs to the one yard line.  Grendzynski called his own number from one yard out for the touchdown and after Jake Politowski’s extra point, this game was tied at 14 with 9:47 left in the game.  After taking possesion at their own 30 yard line, two plays later, Baughman deftly navigated through would-be tacklers and found the end zone for a 70 yard TD run.  On the extra point attempt, the long snap bounced to Baughman and Larj’s extra point attempt was blocked.  Wadsworth led 20-14 with just over 9 minutes left.

Wadsworth’s defense bent but did not break over the course of the first three quarters, even with the loss of NT Cole Lamp.  However, the Bulldogs were able to slowly wear down the Grizzlies up front.  The Bulldogs completed just one pass on the ensuing drive, getting to the Wadsworth 16 yard line.  Facing a 4th and 3, Grenzynski tossed a jump ball up to Nock in the end zone.  The ball fell incomplete, but Blackburn was called for pass interference.  With new life, Luke Lombardo bullied his way into the end zone to tie the game at 20 with 3:28 left in the game.  Politowski’s extra point sailed through the uprights and the Bulldogs held a 21-20 lead over the undefeated Grizzlies.

With their backs against the wall for the first time all season, Wadsworth took over on their own 35 yard line.  Baughman called his own number on three straight runs, gaining 7 yards and setting up the play of the season.  On 4th and 3, Baughman found a familiar face in Blackburn with enough for the first down. Unfortunately, Blackburn could not get his feet in bounds as he was pushed to the sidelines and the Grizzlies turned the ball over with just under 2 minutes left in the game. The Bulldogs forced Wadsworth to expend their timeouts and ground out a first down.  Olmsted Falls was able to go into victory formation, pulling off the 21-20 upset of the Wadsworth Grizzlies, and advancing to the Division 2 Region 6 finals.

The Bulldogs successfully executed their game plan of keeping the potent Wadsworth off of the field, rushing 61 times over the course of the game. Wadsworth ran just 6 offensive plays in the fourth quarter. This was compounded with Wadsworth’s mistakes, including dropped passes, untimely penalties, and the missed extra point.  QB Joey Baughman ends his illustrious career completing 16 of 29 passes for 243 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception.  He was the game’s leading rusher with 19 carries for 172 yards and 2 TDs.  WR Mitchell Blackburn did his best to make up for missing WR Christian Szalay, catching 9 passes for 159 yards and a TD.  Wadsworth’s season ends with an 11-1 record, tying the single season records for wins.

Olmsted Falls two headed monster of RBs Jack Spellacy and Luke Lombardo, coupled with excellent decision making by QB Teddy Grendzynski, each produced a TD. Spellacy rushed 17 times for 102 yards and a TD while Lombardo rushed 27 times for 91 yards and a TD, his 21st of the season.  Credit the Bulldogs defense for containing Baughman and forcing three turnovers, mostly by keeping their linebackers in overage and spying Baughman to limit the frequency of big plays.  With the win, Olmsted Falls improves to 11-1 overall and will face off against #1 Avon in a rematch of their Week 2 battle, a 31-7 victory by Avon.

Division 2 Region 6 Semifinals 1 2 3 4 Final
#3 Olmsted Falls 7 0 0 14 21
#2 Wadsworth 7 0 7 6 20
First Quarter
OF – Jack Spellacy 11 run (Jake Politowski kick)
W- Joey Baughman 5 run (Ryan Larj kick)
Third Quarter
W- Baughman 22 pass to Mitchell Blackburn (Ryan Larj kick)
Fourth Quarter
OF – Teddy Grendzynski 1 run (Politowski kick)
W- Baughman 70 run (kick blocked)
OF – Luke Lombardo 2 run (Politowski kick)

Sports on Tap Playoff Game of the Week: VIDEO- Tallmadge Blue Devils vs. Buckeye Bucks

By Sean Duffy

Medina, OH– It is playoff time in Northeast Ohio,  the teams have secured a postseason berth now look to take the next step on their quest towards a state championship.  It is time for coaches and players to focus in on the mantra of the late great Al Davis and just win baby.  Our game of the week is a match up in Division III Region 9  between the #8 seed Tallmadge Blue Devils (7-3) out of the Suburban League American Division, and the #2 seed Buckeye Bucks (10-0) champions of Stars Division in the Patriot Athletic League.  The contest pitted two teams predicated on running the ball and controlling the clock,  and hard hitting defenses that have not given up much in the way of points all year.  It was sure to be a great game in Medina County on a cold November Friday Night.

Tallmadge was first to get on the board as they started their opening drive from their 15 yd line.  The Blue Devil offense has been led all year by Senior running back Ty Shannon, and it was clear from the outset of this game that Shannon would continue to be the focal point. The Blue Devils marched 85 yards  and scored on a three yard touchdown run by Ty Shannon.  Tallmadge was out to a  7-0 lead halfway through the 1st quarter.  Buckeye’s first offensive possession started on their own 36 yd line but stalled at the Tallmadge 43 yd line, forcing a Bucks punt.  Great defense has been a calling card all year for the Bucks, the crowd, most importantly Tallmadge was reminded of that as the Buckeye defense forced a Blue Devils three and out on their next offensive possession. The first quarter ended with Tallmadge leading 7-0, But Buckeye was driving.

The Bucks offense has been led by their outstanding Senior QB Adam Fauver.  It was Fauver’s legs that got the bucks on the board thanks to a 5 yd TD run, a blocked extra point resulted in Tallmadge holding a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter.  After each team traded punts, Tallmadge got back on track thanks to their workhorse running back Ty Shannon, gaining 60 of the 69 yds on the scoring drive.  Shannon’s 1 yd TD plunge gave the Blue Devils a 14-6 Lead with 2:47 Left in the half.   Buckeye RB Justin Canedy would fumble the ball ball deep in Buckeye territory late in the half, setting Tallmadge up with an opportunity to extend their lead going into halftime.  The Buckeye defense again showed up with a great effort forcing a turnover on downs.  At the half Tallmadge led 14-6.

Buckeye got the ball to start the second half and marched 80 yards down the field, again led by Fauver who’s 28 yd run and 15 yd pass to Junior WR Anthony Watkins got the ball in the red zone for the Bucks.  Fauver would score his second rushing TD of the night again from 5 yds out, a successful 2 pt conversion would make the score 14-14 early in the 3rd quarter.  Buckeye’s defense forced Tallmadge to punt on its first offensive possession of the second half.  Buckeye again was marching towards the end zone, getting all the way down to the Tallmadge 24 yd line.  The Blue Devils defense allowed the Bucks to proceed no further as they stopped the bucks on 4th down as the 3rd Quarter ended all tied 14-14.

Tallmadge took over on their own 24 yd line to start the 4th quarter.  Buckeye’s defense was able to force a 4th and 7, but Tallmadge was able to extend the drive thanks to a successful fake punt.  Ty Shannon would haunt the Bucks Defense once again, ripping off a fantastic 72 yd run only to be stopped 4 yds from the end zone.  Shannon would score on the next play and  Tallmadge took a 21-14 lead with 10:26 left in the game.  The blue devils would add another TD to put the game out of reach, a 1 yd TD plunge from FB Mike Yamokoski, 27-14.  The Bucks attempt and scoring quickly was thwarted thanks to another fumble from Justin Canedy.  #7 Tallmadge upsets #2 Buckeye 27-14.

Buckeye’s season ends with yet another opening round playoff loss, the bucks have yet to win a playoff game.  The bucks end the season 10-1, and were led by senior QB Adam Fauver’s 2 TDs.

Tallmadge was led by player of the game Ty Shannon’s 3 rushing TDs, and over 200 yds of offense.  The Blue Devils move on to the Division III Region 9 semifinals where they will travel to take on St Vincent-St Mary.

Congratulations to both teams on a well played game!

Sports on Tap Podcast Game of the Week : Strongsville Mustangs vs. Brunswick Blue Devils

By Sean Duffy

Brunswick, OH– It is the final week of the 2017 high school football regular season, for the lucky few seniors their season will go on into the playoffs, but for most seniors they will be playing under the Friday night lights for the final time. It is a bitter sweet night for most seniors and teams as their 2017 campaign comes to an end.  Our Game of the Week features two Greater Cleveland Conference rivals.  The 5-4 Strongsville Mustangs who are out of the playoff hunt in Division 1 Region 1 but look to finish on a high note as they  travel to face their rival the 5-4 Brunswick Blue Devils.  The Blue Devils are still in the hunt for a playoff berth in Division 1 Region 2, but  records and playoff implications mean nothing in a rivalry game the only thing that matters is beating your rival and getting the all important bragging rights.

The Mustangs came out fast taking the opening kickoff down to the Brunswick 44 yd line, Strongsville QB Jony Major would score on a 35 yd TD run, Mustangs led 7-0 with 9:59 left in the 1st.  The Mustangs would score again this time on a 64 yd TD pass from QB Jony Major to  WR Jo Gillette Gillette, Strongsville took a 14-0 lead with 7:56 left in the 1st. The Blue Devils would fumble the ball deep in their own territory, Mustang LB Tommy Zacharyasz recovered the ball on the Brunswick 30 yd line, on the next play Major would hit Gillette for a 28 yd TD pass, Gillette’s second TD of the night. Strongsville out to a commanding 21-0 lead with 4:30 left in the 1st quarter. The Mustangs defense was able to force another Blue Devil punt, Jony Major would make  Brunswick pay with an 81 yd TD pass to TE Shaun Csire, as the 1st quarter ended Strongsvlle led 28-0.

Strongsville’s defense was just as dominating in the 2nd quarter, forcing yet another punt setting up another Mustang scoring drive, capped off with a 4 yd TD Run from RB Taylor Griffin . Strongsville’s lead swelled to 35-0 early in the 2nd quarter.  The turnover bug continued to plague the Blue Devil offense,  forcing a fumble recovered by DL Peter Schumacher on the Brunswick 13 yd line.  Joe Gillette would score his third  TD of the night on a 13 yd TD Run , a missed two point conversion attempt made the score 41-0 with 9:56 left in the 2nd qtr.  Brunswick’s offense seemed to get their bearings on offense as they drove the ball 79 yds and down to the Strongsville 1 yd line.  However the mustang defense would not allow the score forcing a turnover on downs.  At the Half Strongsville held a 41-0 Lead.

The Blue Devils got the ball to start the third quarter with a running clock, but the Strongsville defense forced yet another turnover, an interception of QB Cole Zamiska by Strongsville DB John Spragg on the Brunswick 34 yd line.  Strongsville was not able to capitalize on the turnover and failed on a 4th down Conversion.  At the end of the 3rd quarter the Mustangs led 41-0.

Strongsville began the 4th quarter with the ball down on the Brunswick 3 yd line threatening to add to their lead.  Brunswick’s defense was able to stop the mustangs from scoring forcing a turnover on downs.  Brunswick took over on their own 3 yd line as the running clock continued to run.  The Blue Devils were able to drive the ball out near mid field before punting away. Strongsville was able to take a knee and preserve a 41-0 blowout win of their rival.

Brunswick ends the season at 5-5 and 3-4 in the Greater Cleveland Conference. the loss washes away any chance of a playoff birth.

Strongsville ends their season 6-4 over all and 4-3 on in the Greater Cleveland Conference.  The Mustangs were led by QB Jony Major with 4 TDs on the night, earning himself player of the game honors.


Three Keys to the Sports on Tap Game of the Week: Strongsville Mustangs vs. Brunswick Blue Devils

By Sean Duffy

As the saying goes better late than never.

The end of the  high school football regular season is upon us,  week 10 is the final chance for those teams on the bubble to extend their season.  Those teams not in the playoff race look to end their 2017 campaign on a winning note.  Our game of the week is a Greater Cleveland Conference matchup  between two rivals  who are much improved from the 2016 season. Both teams  have identical 5-4 records, and one team has an outside shot of a playoff berth should they be victorious. Our Game of the Week has the Strongsville Mustangs travel to Brunswick Stadium to take on their rival Blue Devils.  Below are the three keys  to watch for in Friday’s Matchup.

  1.  Brunswick’s offense has been  scoring at a pretty good clip in the past few weeks, especially considering the 54 points put up in a loss at Euclid.  Look for Brunswick to try and use a balanced attack on offense against the visiting Mustangs.  Key players to watch for Brunswick are QB Cole Zamiska, WR Ethan Flanigan, and RB Ben Mewhinney.
  2. Strongsville  has been on a similar roll offensively with big wins over Elyria, Shaker Heights and Medina.  It is going to be critical that the Strongsville Defense not allow the Blue Devils to control the pace of the game.  that means clean penalty free defensive plays .  Key players to watch for the Mustangs will be QB Jony Major, RB Taylor Griffin, and WR Nick Adams.
  3. These two teams are old rivals, and as the cliché goes you can throw out records, playoff implications, and conference standings.  Look for emotions to be high in this rivalry game, these teams are close not only in a geographic sense but they having similar seasons.  Each of these teams have seen their share of peaks and valleys over the course of the season and nothing would be better than ending their season with victory over their bitter rival.

I expect this game to be a highly competitive contest, with two programs at similar stages in the building process it is sure to be an electric atmosphere in Brunswick on Friday nigh.

Sports on Tap will be in full force with Rob Trautman bringing you all of action with video highlights, Josh Jeffi will be live tweeting all the action @sotpodcast on Twitter,  yours truly will be up in the pressbox  and writing an article recapping all the action for your reading pleasure.  Our own Ed Dick will be on the Brunswick sidelines as part of their special teams staff  trying to help the Blue Devils get their 6th win of the season.

Please make sure to follow us on twitter @sotpodcast, join in on the conversation using #sothsf.

See you at Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium!



PODCAST: AUDIO- Week 9 Game of the Week Recap Amherst Steele versus Avon

SOT continues their Ohio High School Sports coverage! Listen as SOT recaps Week 9 Game of the Week between the Amherst Steele Comets and the Avon Eagles in a Southwestern Conference Showdown! We go over the big plays, stats, player performances, scores, playoff picture and much more! Click the links below to listen!

Audio: GOTW Week 9 Recap Amherst Steele versus Avon

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Sports On Tap Game of the Week: Amherst Steele Comets vs. Avon Eagles

By Sean Duffy

Avon, OH– This week’s game of the week features two teams that are both in the hunt for the Division II Region 6 playoffs. The difference is that each team is hunting very different things. Amherst is currently occupying the 8th spot in the standings and is “on the bubble” a win would solidify their playoff destiny, a loss puts that destiny in jeopardy.  Avon is currently atop the Division II Region 6 standings, they are looking to secure the top seed in the region and an all important first round home game.  This has all the makings of a great game against two very good Southwestern Conference rivals, the Amherst Steele Comets take on the Avon Eagles.

The Eagles got off to a fast start, taking their opening drive 75 yards for a score, thanks to a 29 touchdown run from QB Ryan Maloy,  Avon led 7-0 early in 1st quarter.  Avon’s Defense forced an Amherst fumble on their opening offensive possession, two plays later Maloy connected with WR Chris Mullins on  23 yd touchdown strike, Avon now led 14-0 midway through the 1st quarter. Avon would again find the end zone late in the 1st quarter this time courtesy of a 6 yd touchdown run from RB Tony Eberhardt, at the end of the 1st quarter Avon was out to a commanding 21-0 lead.

The Avon Defense was impressive in the second quarter, shutting down the Comets Star RB Khennedy Scagliozzo, the Comets did not cross into Eagle territory for the entire 2nd quarter.  Amherst’s Defense was able to hold Avon to only 1 TD in the 2nd quarter, a 1 yd TD run from Eberhardt, his second of the night.  Avon was in complete control with a 28 -0 lead at half time.

Amherst got the ball to start the 2nd half, but the eagle defense picked up right where it left off in the 1st half, shutting down the Comets on a 4th down.  Avon took over  and marched 43 yards down the field for a score, Maloy would find Mullins for a TD for a second time this time on 35 yd TD pass.  A running clock and  a relentless swarming defense found the Eagles leading 35-0 as the 3rd quarter came to a close.

Avon’s defensive unit was able to dominate most of the  4th quarter, not allowing any scoring chances for  the Amherst offense.  Amherst’s defense scored the only Comet points of the contest thanks to a 55 yd fumble recovery for a TD from LB Greg Rhodes.  Unfortunately the big defensive play could not spark a comeback for  Amherst and the Avon Eagles would secure the 35-7 victory.

Amherst falls to 7-2 and 4-4 in the Southwestern Conference,  the loss does put their playoff hopes  serious jeopardy.  It is unlikely that they remain in the top 8 in Division II Region 6 and will need a win in week 10 against Westlake and losses from other teams in contention to have a shot at the postseason.

Avon improves to 9-0 and 8-0 in the Southwestern Conference, the win guarantees at least a share of the Southwestern Conference championship, a win in week 10 against Berea-Midpark would clinch the outright title.  The win also guaranteed Avon home playoff game in the Division II Region 6 Playoffs’ opening round.  The Eagles were led by QB Ryan Maloy with 2 passing TDs and 1 rushing TD, Chris Mullins’ 2 TD catches, and Tony Eberhardt’s 2 rushing TDs.  The Player(s) of the Game is the Avon Eagles Defensive unit, not allowing an offensive touchdown all night.