High school football Elyria battles Bulldogs but falls

Who knows how good Elyria could be this year.

The Pioneers had another frustrating night Friday at Ely Stadium.

They stood toe-to-toe with highly regarded Olmsted Falls on Homecoming before falling 25-14 after a number of questionable calls and non-calls in Southwestern Conference play.

Elyria fell to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the SWC. Olmsted Falls (5-1, 3-0 SWC) has a huge date with Avon at home next week.

“It’s frustrating and I hate to be this kind of coach, but the referees make calls and then they wave them off,” Elyria coach Devlin Culliver said. “All the wave-offs are hurting us.

We cross the 50-yard line and they call a face mask on us and a personal foul on (Falls) and they wave theirs off. That’s another 15 yards we’d have had. It’s frustrating. I try to keep the kids calm because they see what’s going on.”

Twice it appeared Lance Glover, a big, bruising back, was grabbed by the face mask on runs. One was missed and the other waved off after a discussion by the officiating crew.

“(Our kids) are going to give everything they’ve got,” Culliver said. “That’s always going to be there.

Never going to be a question of effort in trying to win. We’ve got a good football team. We’ve just been on the bottom side of the scoreboard the last couple weeks.”

Glover, who finished with 175 yards on 21 carries, bulldozed and scooted his way to a 33-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to knot the game at 7.

Tim Rader, fresh off the soccer team last week, booted the extra point — Elyria’s first of the year.

“Other teams, everybody comes to practice (every day),” Glover said. “We just have a hard time with people being disciplined and wanting to win really. We just need for people to step up.”

Elyria took the lead on Jasir Lucky’s 92-yard catch-and-sprint in the third quarter. Lucky bobbled Ryan Klotz’s delivery at first but hung on and broke free down the Elyria sideline. Rader’s kick made it 14-7.

Isaiah Johnson, who must have had a dozen or more tackles, is one of the biggest leaders on the team. He was asked what it would take to bounce back next week at North Ridgeville.

“We just have to come in this whole week and just really focus on what we have to do,” he said. “We have to come out and give a winning effort, make winning plays all four quarters.”

The Pioneers defense stalled Olmsted Falls’ vaunted triple-option attack for the most part. The Bulldogs were held to 81 rushing yards in the first half.

Rocco Conti, who certainly lives up to the name on both sides of the ball, had 52 yards in the half and 24 came on one play. The game was tied at 7 at halftime.

“We knew we’d have a challenge offensively because their defense is fast, physical and in my opinion they have some of the best defensive players in the conference,” Olmsted Falls coach Tom DeLuca said of the Pioneers.

“We hit a couple big plays when we needed to set us up for some scores. Hats off to Elyria. I have all the respect in the world for them.

They were well-coached, they came out and did a great job and fortunate for us we hit those big plays for some scores.”

The Bulldogs completed only three passes, but all three went for first downs and two came on third-and-long.

In the first quarter, on a third-and-13 at Elyria’s 44, sophomore James Rosal managed to get a long pass away under heavy pressure led by Johnson.

Michael Candow somehow made the grab among three defenders for a 36-yard gain. Candow scored on a wide pitchout two plays later to give Falls a 7-0 lead with 1:51 left in the first quarter.

The second one came on a third-and-17 at the Olmsted Falls 31. This time Rosal hit Candow in stride for a 50-yard gain to Elyria’s 19.

A procedure penalty only delayed Conti’s first of three rushing touchdowns from the 12. Johnson blocked the point after to keep Elyria in the lead, 14-13, with 2:20 left in the third quarter.

The final one was at the Falls 23-yard line when Rosal hit Gavin Moore for 49 yards to set up Conti’s second touchdown and give the Bulldogs a 19-14 lead with 7:45 to play in the game.

Conti put away all doubt on the next series. Jack Pinchek picked off a Klotz pass at his 21 and after a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and a short gain by Candow, Conti broke several tackles near the line of scrimmage and rumbled 60 yards for the final blow.


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