McKinley 14, Lake 21 (Sep 11-2010)

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McKinley 14, Lake 21 (Sep 11-2010)

Post by The Bulldog » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:59 pm

McKinley 14, Lake 21 (Sep 11-2010)
Federal League game at
Fawcett Stadium, Canton


Lake guts out victory over McKinley
Josh Weir
Updated: Sunday, September 12, 2010

Message to Ohio high school football teams in Division II:

Look out for the Lake Blue Streaks.

Lake went into a rainy Fawcett Stadium on Saturday night and put on a gutsy, disciplined performance to beat McKinley, 21-14.

“Let me tell you something, No. 151 is a lot sweeter than 150!" Lake coach Jeff Durbin shouted to his Blue Streaks, who beat Hudson last week for win No. 150 in Durbin’s career.

A crowd of 7,000 braved the poor conditions to see two of the Federal league's finest take turns hitting each other in the mouth. How physical was it?

"If I could rate that on a scale of 1 to 10, it’d be a 20," said Lake junior linebacker Corey Paulino, who came back from a late shoulder stinger to help finish off the Bulldogs.

The win might have come at an extreme cost for Lake (3-0, 1-0).

Star running back Jim Luther, who was contained (48 rushing yards, 35 receiving) by the Bulldogs, was helped off the field in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. He stood shivering on crutches as Durbin told his guys it was one of the proudest moments of his career.

Luther’s status is to be determined. What is clear is Lake's talent and guts.

"We can play," Paulino said. "If we believe, we can do anything. The way we played as a unit, no one man wanted to be an all-star tonight."

For the Bulldogs (2-1, 0-1), it's time to look in the mirror.

They fumbled four times. They lost track of passes in the secondary. The offense often was stuck in neutral.

“Everyone who had an infraction, I had them stand up, and they had to make a statement to the team which direction they were going to go," McKinley coach Ron Johnson said. “Are they going to improve? Or are they going to roll over? Everyone to a man was pointing a thumb at himself, saying, ‘I’ll get it fixed.' "

Fifty-four seconds into the game, the Bulldogs had a turnover and a 7-0 deficit.

A quarter in, they were down 14-0 and without running back Elijah Farrakhan, who left with a knee injury.

By halftime, they had lost starting defensive back Ruben Burrows to a shoulder injury and were being outgained, 163-72. Lake led, 21-6 on the scoreboard.

McKinley spent the mistake-filled first half mired in bad field position. And Lake's defense played fast and aggressive, led by linemen Jarrod Wendorf, Mitch Paulino and Jeremy Schrock; linebackers Corey Paulino and Jarrod Daugherty; and defensive backs Zach Gazdacko and Wes Wilson.

Gazdacko dropped McKinley quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the 3 late in the game.

Meanwhile, Lake's offensive line of Justice Karmie, Rion Ropchock, Sam Rutledge, Sean Hemlick and Mykal O’Brodo battled McKinley's talented defensive line to a draw, if not winning the match-up.

"(Lake) played great, and I don't want to take anything away from them," Johnson said. "But it is very disappointing that we didn't dominate the defensive front."

Lake operated with a mix of run and pass. Junior Jon Spohn completed 6 of 8 passes for 123 yards and no picks. He added 43 yards rushing.

Corey Paulino caused a fumble on the second play of the game, with Schrock recovering. Two plays later, Dan Reed took a short pass from Spohn and ran 36 yards for a 7-0 Lake lead.

“Normally we like to have the ball first off. But with the rain early on, we thought we’ll defer," Durbin said of the pre-game coin toss. “They wanted the ball and they put the ball on the ground early. We capitalized."

The Blue Streaks went up 14-0 when Luther ran 2 yards for a TD on the 10th play of a drive.

Taron Montgomery's big kickoff return gave the Bulldogs a breath of life. That led to Sa'Veon Holloway’s 4-yard TD run early in the second quarter.

But the Streaks answered with a nine-play, 79-yard drive that ended with Luther scoring from a yard out.

McKinley was blanked in the second half until Holloway scored from 4 yards out with 1:35 left. Lake recovered the on-side kick and ran out the clock.


Blue Streaks muscle way past Bulldogs
By Michael Beaven
Special to the Beacon Journal

CANTON: Fans who love hard-hitting football got their money's worth Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium.

Lake and host Canton McKinley met in the Federal League opener for each team and a constant was physical play on each side.

The Blue Streaks ultimately prevailed 21-14 to improve to 3-0 overall, and the Bulldogs dropped to 2-1.

''That's the way to play men,'' Lake coach Jeff Durbin shouted to his players and assistant coaches in the postgame huddle. ''We hit 'em in the teeth. We did not give them an inch.''

The rough nature of play, though clean, took its toll. Both teams lost their standout running back to an apparent knee injury. Bulldogs senior Elijah Farrakhan left the game with 5:43 to go in the first quarter and Blue Streaks junior Jim Luther departed the game with 8:33 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Durbin and McKinley coach Ron Johnson were both unsure to the extent of the injuries after the game.

''If I could rank that [the hitting] on a scale of 1 to 10, it would probably be a 20,'' Lake junior linebacker/tight end Corey Paulino said. ''They played their heart out and we played our heart out.''

Paulino forced a fumble on the second play from scrimmage that senior Jeremy Schrock recovered.

''You get the ball to start and you want to send a message,'' Johnson said. ''We put the ball on the ground.''

The Blue Streaks struck two plays later when junior quarterback Jon Spohn threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to senior Dan Reed with 11:06 to go in the first quarter.

''Our guys were excited and focused to play,'' Durbin said. ''It was great the way we came out of the gate. We had a great start and it was nice that our defense did not fold in the fourth quarter like we have the past two years [against McKinley].

''They put the ball on the ground early and we capitalized.''

Luther extended the Blue Streaks' lead with a 2-yard run as time expired in the first quarter.

''One of the hallmarks of Lake football is toughness,'' Durbin said. ''We preach that and the kids buy into it.''

McKinley cut its deficit to 14-6 on a 4-yard touchdown run by junior Sa'Veon Holloway with 10:20 remaining in the second quarter.

Lake responded on the next drive with a Luther 1-yard rushing touchdown with 5:19 to go in the second quarter.

McKinley concluded the scoring with 1:35 to go in the fourth quarter when Holloway rushed for a 4-yard touchdown and then ran for a 2-point conversion.

The Bulldogs tried an onside kick, which Blue Streaks seniors Mason Stephens and Wes Wilson fell on. Lake then ran out the remaining time on the clock.

Seniors Jarrod Wendorf, Schrock and Mitch Paulino were also key Lake players defensively, along with junior Jarrod Daugherty and sophomore Zach Gazdacko.

Corey Paulino briefly left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder stinger, but returned to the lineup.

''The way we played as a unit, no one man wanted to be an all-star tonight. Everyone did their assignments tonight,'' Corey Paulino said.

Lake's offensive line of seniors Justice Karmie, Sam Rutledge, Sean Hemlick, Rion Ropchock and Mykal O'Brodo were effective with junior Dylan Seibel.

Juniors Steve Miller and Se'Von Pittman led McKinley's defense, which also included seniors Freddie Burton and Eric Snow.


Joy turns to pain for Lake in wake of Luther injury
Josh Weir
Updated: Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The entire range of emotions that go along with high school football was on display Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium.

After four punishing quarters, the Lake Blue Streaks celebrated a win against McKinley. The physical pain from this slugfest no doubt was tempered by the excitement of victory for the Blue Streaks as they knelt around head coach Jeff Durbin.

Meanwhile, Lake senior running back Jim Luther stood.

On crutches.

“Your elated one minute," Durbin said, “and you almost feel sick the next."

The Blue Streaks will be without Luther indefinitely after he injured his knee in the fourth quarter Saturday. Lake isn't putting a timetable on his possible return, but all indications are not good.

Injuries are an unavoidable part of football. But that doesn't make them any easier to accept, especially when it's a special talent. Just ask GlenOak, which lost Brian Hartline in Week 1 of his senior year in 2004, or Louisville, which lost Bobby Swigert after four weeks last year.

Lake, at 3-0 and ranked 13th statewide in Division II, has the look of a team that can make a serious playoff run. Now the Streaks must move on without their best player as football fans are robbed of the chance to watch one of the area’s most exciting players.

"You want to play good, two-fisted football, but you don't want anyone to lose the opportunity to play this game. That just stinks," McKinley head coach Ron Johnson said. "... I enjoy watching good players play. I enjoy watching Jimmy Luther play. I appreciate his talent. I appreciate his effort."

it's difficult to accurately describe how much Luther means to Lake. The Blue Streaks have scored 11 offensive touchdowns this season. Luther has scored 10 of them. And That's not counting a fumble return touchdown and a kickoff return score by him.

Durbin talked about last year's 34-27 win against Boardman, which comes to Lake on Friday night.

"We did some things that really helped us get to the perimeter last year," Durbin said, before adding with a chuckle, “and one of those was Jimmy."

Removing Luther from the equation sends a ripple through the whole team.

With Luther out, Jarrod Daugherty becomes the feature back. Which is fine, because the 5-9, 173-pound junior is a good runner and should perform well.

But Daugherty also is a starting linebacker and Lake's second-leading tackler.

"That's the whole domino effect," Durbin said. "We need Jarrod to be the main guy offensively. But He's done a really good job for us at linebacker. He adds to our team speed defensively, and That's part of what's made us really good."

Durbin is counting on his defense to lead the team with Luther out. But someone must spell Daugherty at linebacker.

After congratulating his team on the McKinley win, Durbin talked to his players Monday about handling adversity. He used defensive lineman Jeremy Schrock as an example.

Lake defensive end Patrick Freed, a two-year starter, also is out indefinitely after injuring his foot during practice last week. So in stepped Schrock against McKinley. The 6-1, 168-pound senior was in on 10 tackles, including eight solos. He totaled five tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.

"That's what everybody has to do," Durbin said. "We have to pick up the slack a little bit with a rugged opponent we're playing."

The Blue Streaks already were limiting Luther’s plays on defense before he got hurt. Sophomore Zach Gazdacko played a lot of free safety and contributed in a big way against McKinley.

McKinley also is dealing with injuries. Defensive back Ruben Burrows is out with an elbow injury suffered in the Lake game, while running back Elijah Farrakhan tries to come back from a knee injury in that game.

“The next guy has to answer the bell," Johnson said. “When that opportunity arises, that next guy is up. That's why our kids work so hard and the competition is so fierce, because we have to have guys who can step up and play."

it's the circle of life in football. There is no avoiding it.


Federal League heavyweights Lake, McKinley square off Saturday
Josh Weir
Updated: Thursday, September 9, 2010

The sweat hadn’t dried from Sunday’s win against Huber Heights Wayne at Ohio Stadium when McKinley head coach Ron Johnson got his high school football team's attention.

It was time to get ready for Lake.

"We addressed that in the locker room at Ohio State," Johnson said. "We turned our focus to them that quickly."

The Federal League schedule opens with a battle of 2-0 teams. Lake travels to Fawcett Stadium on Saturday to face McKinley, starting at 7:30 p.m.

An air of mutual respect hovers over this game.

McKinley is McKinley, and Lake is fully aware of the Bulldogs' talent.

“Um, They're pretty good," Lake head coach Jeff Durbin understated with a laugh.

Lake is the smallest school in the league, the only Division II football team. But there's a reason the Blue Streaks have been to the playoffs 13 times in Durbin’s 21 years.

McKinley knows better then to take Lake lightly. Remember, the Blue Streaks welcomed McKinley to the Federal League by beating the Bulldogs in Week 2 of 2004.

"We're definitely going to get their A-plus game," Johnson said. “When you get that kind of emotion and intensity from them, and you couple that with the talent they possess, it's going to be a dog fight. We know that. We have to match them in emotion and execution."

Lake has size, speed and strength. But does it have enough when it comes to the Bulldogs, especially dealing with their defense?

"They're obviously very good on the edge up front," Durbin said, referring to defensive ends Steve Miller and Se'Von Pittman. “Their tackles are big and thick. Right off the bat, it's a big challenge to create holes. Then the rest of their defense runs so well."

Lake's specialty, as usual, is running the football. Jim Luther, coming off a 1,320-yard season last year, has 330 yards and eight TDs rushing through two games. But Durbin knows Lake needs its play-action passing game Saturday.

"We need to be able to run the football, but we need to throw it around, too," he said. "We need some offensive balance, probably a little more than we had in the first two games."

Lake junior QB Jon Spohn has been required to throw only 14 passes so far.

The Blue Streaks have lived off the big play, usually coming from Luther. He has TD runs of 37, 46 and 73 yards to go with scores on a 67-yard fumble return and a 97-yard kickoff return. He has scored 10 TDs overall, accounting for 60 of Lake's 78 points.

All McKinley has allowed are 14 garbage-time points. The Pups are allowing 1.1 yards a carry this season.

"We're going to stick with what we do defensively, and That's fly to the football and read our keys," Johnson said. "But we're very cognizant of where Jimmy Luther is at all times because the offense runs through him."

Bryce Wilder and the McKinley ground game pounded Lake last year. Wilder rushed for 297 yards as McKinley overcame a 7-3 halftime deficit to win, 24-7.

This year, Elijah Farrakhan is flourishing in the feature-back role, totaling 287 of McKinley's 615 rushing yards.

But Johnson isn't necessarily counting on a repeat after completing three passes last year against Lake.

"I think we have to be a lot more diverse than that," Johnson said. "They're playing the run very, very well. (Corey Paulino) in the middle there at linebacker is a great player. We want to stay as far away from him as we can."

McKinley QB Kyle Ohradzansky has thrown for 216 yards on 18-of-35 passing, with two TDs and no interceptions.

Durbin remembers his defense being on the field too long last year, especially in the second half.

"I think we're a little faster defensively this year," Durbin said. "We're hopeful we’ll tackle better. Part of the problem is they spread the field. They have athletes at a lot of positions."


Week 3 preview: Lake at McKinley
Updated: Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TIME 7:30 p.m., Saturday

SITE Fawcett Stadium

RECORDS Lake 2-0, McKinley 2-0

LAST WEEK Lake 34, Hudson 27; McKinley 26, Huber Heights Wayne 0

LAST MEETING McKinley won, 24-7, last year.

WHAT TO WATCH A fun matchup will be Lake's high-octane offense led by RB Jim Luther going against the Bulldogs' nasty defense. The Blue Streaks are concerned with being able to generate push against McKinley's big, strong defensive line of ends Steve Miller and Se'Von Pittman and tackles Eric Snow and Terris Daniels. The Bulldogs are concerned with tackling the speedy Luther. He has rushed for eight TDs and 332 yards this season, while adding touchdowns of 67 yards by fumble return and 97 yards by kick return. McKinley's defense has allowed 52 rushing yards on 48 attempts this season, so Lake's passing game and QB Jon Spohn will have to be a factor. The Bulldogs put 318 rushing yards on Lake last year. The Blue Streaks feel they are faster on defense this season. LB Corey Paulino plays fast and hits hard. McKinley only completed three passes last year versus Lake, but feels it will have to get more from the air this season. QB Kyle Ohradzansky has protected the ball so far, with no interceptions in 35 passing attempts. McKinley junior offensive lineman Chris Moore injured his ankle Sunday against Wayne, but the Bulldogs anticipate him being ready this week. McKinley leads the series with Lake, 4-2, since joining the Federal League.


Lake-McKinley notes
Josh Weir
Updated: Thursday, September 9, 2010


How many times a day is McKinley head coach Ron Johnson asked about the Bulldogs not having a place-kicker?

“Countless," Johnson said. "It's coming from some of the most obscure places."

Students. Teachers. Fans. The other day, a guy asked him as Johnson was stopped at a red light.

Johnson, who tried out hundreds of kids by his count (including soccer players) in search of someone in the school who could put it through the uprights, has expressed confidence in McKinley's 2-point approach. So far the Bulldogs are 4-for-8 on conversion tries.

As for field goals, those simply aren’t in the equation.

Chad Fite, who starts at middle linebacker, kicked off for the first time this season during last week’s game. Fite had been pulled back from the kickoff duty when he pulled a quad muscle in a scrimmage. Johnson said Fite is not a candidate to kick field goals or extra points.


The Bulldogs don't drop back in a conventional punt formation. Rather, they quick kick with QB Kyle Ohradzansky, which makes opponents think twice about putting in their usual return units.

Ohradzansky, who drops back a few steps from his usual shotgun position shortly before the ball is snapped, is averaging 40.9 yards a punt. He does a good job of getting the punt off quickly.


Saturday night’s McKinley-Lake game features two of the area’s best running backs: Lake's Jim Luther and McKinley's Elijah Farrakhan.

Johnson on Luther: "I think He's outstanding, a great player. He's fast. A very low center of gravity. He doesn't lack courage. He’ll gladly mix it up with you."

Lake head coach Jeff Durbin on Farrakhan: “Farrakhan is a great runner. He runs with great effort. He's difficult to tackle. You don't just knock him down."


Durbin explained just how much of an impact the McKinley defensive ends -- 6-foot-4, 242-pound Steve Miller and 6-5, 235-pound Se'Von Pittman -- make on a game.

“First of all, they play with great leverage," Durbin said. "You don't see anybody knocking them off the ball. Then they've got length, which makes them difficult to throw around. And the other significant thing is They're very athletic. So they can run the line of scrimmage or rush the passer.

“Probably the biggest challenge is the way they anchor the edge of the defense on both sides. it's hard to get movement on those guys to get around the edge."
Canton McKinley's Freddie Burton drops the ball on a kickoff return against Lake High School, but recovers, in the second quarter at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Paul Tople/ Akron Beacon Journal)
burton-vs-lake.JPG (33.45 KiB) Viewed 1292 times
Canton McKinley's Taron Montgomery (14) makes yardage against Lake High School in the second quarter at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Paul Tople/ Akron Beacon Journal)
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Lake High School quarterback Jon Spohn (11) is tackled by Canton McKinley High School's Chad Fite (20) in the first quarter at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Paul Tople/ Akron Beacon Journal)
fite-vs-lake.JPG (42.12 KiB) Viewed 1292 times
Canton McKinley quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky (10) tries to outrun Lake High School's Jarrod Wendorf (behind) and Zach Gazdacko (29) in the second quarter at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Paul Tople/ Akron Beacon Journal)
Kyle_vs_Lake.JPG (49.51 KiB) Viewed 1292 times
Lake’s Logan Wartman hangs on to keep McKinley running back Sa’Veon Holloway out of the end zone. Holloway eventually scored McKinley’s first touchdown, but Lake won, 21-14.
holloway-vs-lake.jpg (138.64 KiB) Viewed 1292 times

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