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Avon Eagles are State runners up in Division II football

Avon beats Aurora


NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 12-2-11, By CORY SCHUETT cschuett@MorningJournal.com

Avon Eagles are State runners up in Division II football

[Trotwood-Madison Rams Beat Avon Eagles for Division II state title]

MASSILLON -- Avon's dream season came to a crashing end, as the Eagles couldn't overcome a couple early mistakes and Trotwood-Madison's running attack in a 42-28 loss in the Division II state title game.

Trailing 28-7 late in the second quarter, Avon went on a quick rally, including an onside kick recovery, to get within 35-28. But the Eagles couldn't get the stops they needed, and Trotwood never let Avon get any closer.

"We had some good chemistry, and the receivers and offensive line played well, but we fell a little short," Avon quarterback Justin O'Rourke said. "In these close games, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. They just played better than us tonight."

To say Avon had trouble stopping Isreal Green would be an understatement. The junior running back broke records in the Division II title game with 326 rushing yards and six touchdowns. The previous records were 251 and four, respectively.

The Rams enjoyed a large size advantage in the trenches. "(Green) is a great player, and he was running behind a 295-pound offensive line and a 260-pound fullback," Avon head coach Mike Elder said. "I thought our kids did the best they could and went toe-to-toe with them, but in the end, it was just physics." ...

Ralph Smith got Avon off to a quick start, intercepting a Mike Simpson pass and returning it 65 yards for a touchdown on the game's first drive.

O'Rourke was solid for most of the game, completing 27 of 50 passes for 325 yards and three scores. Jacob Mullins was the leading receiver with 135 yards on 11 catches and two touchdowns. Matt Eckhardt also caught a touchdown on a tipped ball near the right sideline ...

Coming into the game averaging 43 points during the playoffs, Avon was held to just seven with 11 seconds before halftime. But O'Rourke found Mullins on the left side of the end zone from 17 yards out to regain some momentum before the half ...

As a team, the Eagles rushed for a total of one net yard. Ross Douglas and Mark Kvach, who were both battling recent injuries, got a combined five carries.

O'Rourke's 50 pass attempt also broke the D-II state title game record.

"Going into the game, we wanted to be more balanced, and we weren't able to do it," Elder said. "I, as a coach, probably got a little too pass-happy, and maybe we should have run the ball more."

The championship was the Rams' first in school history.

Trotwood Madison 42, Avon 28

Division II State Championship

Trotwood (15-0) 12 16 7 7 -- 42

Avon (13-2) 7 7 14 0 -- 28


A Ralph Smith 65 interception (Brad Young kick)

M Isreal Green 1 run (kick failed)

M Green 74 run (kick failed)

M Green 1 run (Mike Simpson Pass)

M Green 4 run (Ashton Jackson rush)

A Jacob Mullins 17 pass from Justin O'Rourke (Young kick)

M Green 38 run (Eric Cospy kick)

A Matt Eckhardt 6 pass from O'Rourke (Young kick)

A Mullins 15 pass from O'Rourke (Young kick)

M Green 1 run (Cospy kick)

Team Statistics

First Downs TM 27, A 19

Yards Rushing TM 436 (Green 326), A 1 (Ross Douglass 11)

Yards Receiving TM 56 (Mike Mccray 34), A 325 (Mullins 115)

Passing Att-Comp-Int TM 9-6-1, A 50-27-0

Fumbles-lost TM 2-1, A 1-1

Penalties TM 8-85, A 10-69

Last Updated: 12/3/2011 12:19:50 PM EST



NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 12-3-11, By Tim Gebhardt

MASSILLON -- It wasn't for a lack of heart.

It wasn't a lack of desire or a lack of chances or a lack of luck.

It wasn't the lack of anything, but rather a whole lot of Trotwood-Madison's Isreal Green that led to Avon's 42-28 loss Friday night in the Division II state football finals before 6,699 fans at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Green, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound junior, had 326 yards and scored six touchdowns as Trotwood-Madison shook off the ghosts of championship games past to win its first title.

"He's a great player," Avon coach Mike Elder said of Green. "He's running behind a 296-pound offensive line and a 257-pound fullback."

"Whew," said Trotwood coach Maurice Douglass when shown the yardage Green accumulated. "It gives him 2,000 for the year." ...

After falling behind 35-14, the Eagles made their move -- scoring two touchdowns -- the first coming on a great heads-up play by Matt Eckhardt when he kept a tipped ball alive to grab it just inside the goal line.

The second came after Avon pulled off its second hook-and-ladder when Justin O'Rourke threw to Smith for about 20 yards with Smith flipping the ball to Ross Douglas to set up Jacob Mullins' 15-yard TD grab from O'Rourke.

"We had great chemistry," O'Rourke said of his receivers. "They played great. Both teams played great. They just had a better game."

"Avon is a very difficult team to prepare for," Douglass said. "They have so many different sets and formations. They have a great team."

O'Rourke hit seven different receivers -- finding Mullins 11 times for 135 yards and Eckhardt nine times for 102, but the Rams, with Green hitting on all cylinders, was on a mission to finally bring the title back to Trotwood. It simply couldn't be stopped behind its huge and agile line.

"We relayed on our heart," Avon senior linebacker Tyler Lance said. "There wasn't much we could do in terms of pure size. (Green) was a good back. He definitely could make plays."

Avon certainly had its chances. Junior Ralph Smith made a great play on Trotwood's first possession to give the Eagles the early lead and momentum.

Smith, who had made big plays all through the playoff run, tipped a Mike Simpson pass away from Dalin Byrd then picked it off in the air. By the time he stopped running from his own 35-yard line, the Eagles had a 7-0 lead following Brad Young's point-after.

When Cory Furness popped the ball loose from Green on Trotwood's next set of downs and Matt Holkenborg recovered to give Avon the ball at the Rams 30-yard line, it appeared the Eagles were on their way to pulling off an upset of the top-ranked team in the state ...

"Our plan was to be more balanced," Elder said. "Unfortunately, we fell behind and when we tried to run the ball, we didn't have tremendous success. I probably, as a coach, got pass-happy. Maybe we should have run it more ...

Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Trotwood-Madison 42, Avon 28

Trotwood-Madison 12 16 7 7 -- 42

Avon 7 7 14 0 -- 28

First Quarter

A--Smith 65 interception return (Young kick) 8:45.

TM--Green 1 run (kick failed) 4:23.

TM--Green 74 run (kick failed) 2:17.

Second Quarter

TM--Green 1 run (McCray pass from Simpson) 8:10.

TM--Green 4 run (Jackson run) :31.

A--Mullins 17 pass from O'Rourke (Young kick) :11.

Third Quarter

TM--Green 38 run (Cospy kick) 6:22.

A--Eckhardt 6 pass from O'Rourke (Young kick) 2:46.

A--Mullins 15 pass from O'Rourke (Young kick) 1:47.

Fourth Quarter

TM--Green 1 run (Cospy kick) 6:35.


First downs

27 19

Total Net Yards

492 326


60-436 8-1


56 326

Punt Returns

3-17 0-0

Kickoff Returns

2-24 7-114

Interceptions Ret.

0-0 1-65


6-9-1 27-50-0


1-62.0 4-39.2


0-0 0-0


8-85 10-69

Time of Possession

32:1 15:49


RUSHING--Trotwood-Madison, Green 35-326, Jackson 16-81, Simpson 4-35, Heath 2-6, Team 3-(-3). Avon, Douglas 2-11, Bevins 3-3, Kvach 3-(-4), Karnavas 1-(-9).

PASSING--Trotwood-Madison, Simpson 6-9-56-0. Avon, O'Rourke 27-50-325-3.

RECEIVING--Trotwood-Madison, Mobley 3-13, McCray 2-34, Bradley 1-9. Avon_Mullins 11-135, Eckhardt 9-102, Smith 3-36, Douglas 1-24, Bevins 1-16, Lance 1-14, Kvach 1-(-2).

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 11-26-11, By Tim Gebhardt

PARMA -- Avon's high-flying and versatile Eagles have secured a date in the Division II state championship game in Massillon.

The Eagles, ever improving and seemingly peaking at the just the right time, rolled over Aurora 43-20 Friday at Byers Field to advance to next Friday's title game against Trotwood Madison at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.

They will be the fourth Lorain County school to play for a championship and hope to join three-time champion Elyria Catholic (1976, '83, '84) and Avon Lake (2003) in the winner's circle.

Clearview has been in the title game twice, losing in 1972 and '78. Avon Lake lost the title game in 2004.

How many different ways can Avon beat you' Along the tournament trail, the Eagles seem to find new magic and new heroes every week.

Friday was no different, although quarterback Justin O'Rourke and his wide-receiver buddy Matt Eckhardt still remain at the head of the class.

All O'Rourke did was toss five more touchdown passes, the last one to a wide-open Eckhardt to put Avon in front 43-14 with just 6:45 to play.

O'Rourke has now thrown 14 touchdown passes during this postseason. Only against Tiffin last week in a stiff wind did he fail to have one ...

Avon's defense deserves a lion's share of the credit for Friday's win. The Eagles forced a fumble on Aurora's first possession as defensive end Greg Harrison, who seems to have a nose for recovering opponent miscues, came up with ithe ball to thwart a promising Greenmen drive to open the game.

Aurora's leading rusher -- Zach Quinn -- had runs of 5 and 9 yards on his first two tries from the stack-I formation. The Greenmen had picked up two straight first downs before Quinn was popped by linebacker Cory Furnas with Harrison recovering.

The stack-I never made another appearance as Avon's defense eventually took Aurora's bread-and-butter away, forcing the Greenmen to air it out.

"They were driving on us," said Harrison, who had a huge fumble recovery against Tiffin Columbian a week ago. "Cory Furnas came up with the big hit, popped the ball out of there. Luckily I was in the right position at the right time and jumped on the ball."

That turnover led to Avon's first points and seemed to take the starch out of Aurora's vaunted running game. Sure, the Greenmen kept things interesting, but the Eagles managed to maintain and increase the lead the rest of the night.

"Our defense set the tone," Avon coach Mike Elder said. "That allowed us offensively to do what we do, which is to go fast and sometimes put them in bad situations. (Aurora) is a great running football team and we were able to stand in there and stop the run and get them into passing situations. We were able to get enough stops and give ourselves some separation."

Avon led 16-7 at halftime but faced a strong wind throughout the third quarter. The Eagles misfired on their first series in the third quarter but the defense gave them the ball right back.

This time Avon drove 80 yards, taking advantage of an interference call along the way. After O'Rourke hooked up with Will Karnavas for a TD, Aurora bobbled the ensuing kickoff with Matt Holkenborg coming up with the ball to put Avon's offense right back on the field at Aurora's 26.

O'Rourke hooked up with Eckhardt, who made a great spin move to the 4. Two plays later, unheralded back Austin Bevins bulled his way in from the 2-yard line to put Avon in front, 29-7.

Harrison also made a great touchdown grab on a fourth-down play early in the fourth quarter to give Avon an insurmountable 36-7 lead. It was O'Rourke's fourth TD on the night ...

Contact Tim Gebhardt at ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Avon 43, Aurora 20

Avon 3 13 13 14 -- 43

Aurora 0 7 0 13 -- 20


AVON--FG Brad Young 31

AVON--Jacob Mullins 12 pass from Justin O'Rourke (Young kick)

AURORA--Zach Quinn 30 pass from Blake Calcei (Anthony Melchiori kick)

AVON--Ra;lph Smith 40 pass from O'Rourke (kick blocked)

AVON--Will Karnavas 40 pass from O'Rourke (run failed)

AVON--Greg Harrison 2 pass from O'Rourke (Young kick)

AURORA--Quinn 9 run (Melchiori kick)

AVON--Matt Eckhardt 40 pass from O'Rourke (Young kick)

AURORA--Calcei 5 run (kick blocked)

Team statistics


First downs

26 17

-- by rushing

11 9

-- by passing

12 8

-- by penalty

3 0

Yards rushing

139 117

Yards passing

278 176

Total offense

417 293

Passes att./comp.

30/19 27/19

0 0 Fumbles/lost

1/1 1/1


4/17 7/62

Individual statistics

RUSHING -- (AV) Ross Douglas 13-62, Justin O'Roarke 3-(-3), Kevin Skotko 4-17, Matt Eckhardt 1-(-3), Austin Bevins 16-58, Mitch Tomlin 1-(-1), Bill Ritchie 1-6, Antonio Orr 1-5, David Zeh 2-(-2). (AR) Zach Quinn 8-31, Anthony Opel 2-7, Blake Calcei 15-79, Jake McVay 1-3, Anthony Melchiori .1-(-3).

PASSING -- (AV) Justin O'Roarke 19-29-278-5-0, Matt Eckhardt 0-1-0-0-0. (AR) Blake Calcei 19-27-176-1-0.

RECEIVING -- (AV) Matt Eckhardt 8-117, Greg Harrison 2-12, Ross Douglas 1-10, Ralph Smith 3-56, Jacob Mullins 4-43, Will Karnavas 1-40, (AR) Jake Czerwinski 3-31, J.T. Haughey 1-4, Anthony Melchiori 9-62, Zach Quinn 3-52, Devin Levan 1-12, Zach Smierciak 1-7, Jake McVay 1-8 ...



NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 11-26-11, By Shaun Bennett

PARMA -- When Avon is looking for MVP candidates for this year's postseason, the obvious names are going to pop up.

Senior quarterback Justin O'Rourke, senior wide receiver Matt Eckhardt and junior running back Ross Douglas are all near the top of the list. But those guys have been putting up big numbers for the Eagles all season long.

The player who could slide into the discussion, who has come up with huge plays -- on both sides of the ball -- to help Avon advance further than it ever has before -- is junior Ralph Smith.

A week after a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions helped the Eagles down Tiffin Columbian in the regional championship, Smith hauled in a spectacular 40-yard touchdown pass late in the first half of Avon's 43-20 victory over Aurora in a Division II state semifinal.

With the Eagles up 10-7 and a minute left in the second quarter, O'Rourke lofted a long bomb down the left sideline. The pass fell over the shoulder of Smith, who had to leap out of the grasp of an Aurora cornerback before sprinting the final 10 yards for the score ...

Contact Shaun Bennett at sbennett@chroniclet.com.



NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-19-11, By TIM BIELIK tbielik@MorningJournal.com

PARMA -- Avon football has only had one appearance in the state semifinals way back in 1996.

Fifteen years later, a football program that is writing its greatest chapter in its history is heading to historic Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium after dominating the Aurora Greenmen 43-20 at Byers Field in Parma Friday night.

"I'm a little bit emotionally drained," Avon head coach Mike Elder said. "I'm so excited and happy for our kids. They've worked so hard for this.

Justin O'Rourke threw for 278 yards and five touchdown passes, all to different receivers as Elder's Eagles proved unstoppable against the overmatched Greenmen.

Matt Eckhardt added 117 yards receiving for Avon as it will face undefeated Trotwood Madison next Friday in the Division II state championship ...


Avon 43, Aurora 20

Division II State Semifinal

Avon (12-1) 3 13 13 14 -- 43

Aurora (12-1) 0 7 0 13 -- 20


Av -- Brad Young 31 yard kick

Av -- Jacob Mullins 10 yard pass from Justin O'Rourke (Young kick)

Au -- Zach Quinn 30 yard pass from Blake Calcei (Anthony Melchiori kick)

Av -- Ralph Smith 40 yard pass from O'Rourke (kick blocked)

Av -- Will Karnavas 40 yard pass from O'Rourke (run failed)

Av -- Austin Bevins 1 yard run (Young kick)

Av -- Greg Harrison 2 yard pass from O'Rourke (Young kick)

Au -- Quinn 10 yard run (Melchiori kick)

Av -- Matt Eckhardt 40 yard pass from O'Rourke (Young kick)

Au -- Calcei 3 yard run (kick failed)

Team Statistics

First Downs -- Avon 26, Aurora 17.

Yards Rushing -- Avon 139 (Douglas 13-62), Aurora 117 (Calcei 15-79).

Yards Receiving -- Avon 278 (Eckhardt 8-117) , Aurora 176 (Melchiori 9-62).

Total Yards -- Avon 417 , Aurora 293.

Passing Att.-Comp.-Int. -- Avon 30-19-0 , Aurora 27-19-0.

Fumbles-Lost -- Avon 1-1, Aurora 1-1.

Penalties-Yards -- Avon 4-17 , Aurora 7-62.



NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 11-12-11, By Joel Hammond and Tim Gebhardt

FREMONT -- Avon coach Mike Elder talked this week of one of the Eagles' preseason goals, to finish the year plus-20 in turnover differential. The Eagles had 30 takeaways through their first 12 games, but were only plus-14 in differential ...

Avon's Ralph Smith intercepted Columbian quarterback Ben Davis twice in the fourth quarter, after Avon's Greg Harrison recovered a key fumble by Ryan Lynch in the first quarter that led to the Eagles' second touchdown.

Contact Joel Hammond and Tim Gebhardt at ctsports@chroniclet.com.



NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-12-11, By CORY SCHUETT cschuett@MorningJournal.com

Eagles headed to state: Avon holds off Tiffin Columbian for win

FREMONT -- Ross Douglas ran for 158 yards and four scores, and Ralph Smith had two interceptions in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a 35-21 win over Tiffin Columbian in the Division II Region 6 final.

The Eagles threw for six touchdowns and over 300 yards in last week's win over Toledo Central Catholic, but it was the rushing attack that booked Avon's ticket to the state semifinals against Aurora ...

Aurora beat Walsh Jesuit, 21-14, in overtime to earn a matchup with the Eagles next week at a site to be determined.

Avon 35, Tiffin Columbian 21

Division II Region 6 Final

Columbian (10-3) 0 7 14 0 -- 21

Avon (12-1) 7 14 0 14 -- 35


A Ross Douglas 39 run (Brad Young kick)

A Douglas 7 run (Young kick)

TC Jack Jacoby 3 run (Donovan Walker kick)

A Austin Bevins 3 run (Young kick)

TC Jacoby 3 run (Walker kick)

TC Jacoby 2 run (Walker kick)

A Douglas 3 run (Young kick)

A Douglas 41 run (Young kick)


First Downs TC 18; A 15

Yards Rushing TC 259 (Jacoby 197); A 273 (Douglas 158)

Yards Receiving TC 86 (Jonah Boyer 57); A 73 (Jacob Mullins 45)

Passing Comp-Att-Int. TC 9-17-2; A 5-9-0

Fumbles-lost TC 1-1; A 1-0

Penalties-yards TC 1-5; A 3-23

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