Rematch Vs Archbishop Hoban To Be Served After Thanksgiving
CLYDE – If Toledo Central Catholic was the top seed in Division II, someone forgot to tell Mike Elder’s Avon Eagles. Using a big-play defense and capitalizing with an always potent offense, they won the regional championship 37-22 after the Fighting Irish staked them to a 30-7 halftime lead.
Avon’s 16-0 first quarter marked the first time all year Toledo has trailed to that extent. The Irish defense allowed just 63 points all season. But this was a match-up in Avon’s favor as the Eagles average 49.6 points-per-game.
“We knew these guys (TCC) would wake up,” Elder said. “I don’t know if they came out and didn’t respect us as much as maybe they should have – but in the second half boy did they play us the way we expected.
“When I looked at my kids I said, “I would’ve signed up for eight points up going into the fourth quarter any day’. Our motto even when we were playing well was, ‘Just play the next play’.”
The Eagles held off Toledo with a 10-plus minute drive at the end of the game, capped by a Mark Steinmetz touchdown run. Key first downs came in several forms, not just on running plays from quarterback Ryan Maloy (game high 151 yards), but also on penalties. Several times in the game Maloy got the Irish to jump offiside on third or fourth down. Finally, the one that did them in was an off-sides call on a field goal attempt. The kick missed – but set up the insurance TD run by Steinmetz.
Maloy and Steinmetz, both seniors, also led a defense that forced four turnovers (3 fumbles, 1 INT) and blocked a punt that was recovered for the game’s first points – a 2-0 safety. Maloy capped the first-quarter scoring with two TD passes to receiver Ryan Jones.
As they celebrated their regional title, Avon was already excited at the prospect of practicing on Thanksgiving morning in preparation for Friday’s state semi-final. The pot may be a little sweeter as their opponent will be none other than Archbishop Hoban, who ended the Eagles electric 2017 season, 30-6, in the same round. You can bet the stakes just got a little higher at practice this week.