Avon Lake boasts enough talent to sail back into postseason


Avon Lake Shoremen
The Shoremen were the odd team out in Region 6 last year with a ninth-place finish in the computer standings. It ended a run of eight-straight playoff births. However, this year they are stocked with talent and will likely return to the postseason. Offensive guard Sam Brown (6-2, 245, Sr.) and DT Aaron Grunick (6-1, 245, Sr.) were all-conference last year. The following is a look at the 2007 Shoremen.

2006 Record: 7-3

Avon Lake finished with a 7-3 mark last season and was the odd team out in the playoffs with a ninth-place finish in the Region 6 computer standings. It ended a run of eight-straight playoff births. However, this year the Shoremen are stocked with talent and will likely return to the postseason.  

Both lines appear strong for Avon Lake. The offensive front will be led by guard Sam Brown (6-2, 245, Sr.) who was a first-team all-conference selection a year ago. Also making the first-team last year was defensive tackle Aaron Grunick (6-1, 245, Sr.) and he returns to anchor the D-line. 

Fullback Mike Haddad (5-10, 215, Sr.) rushed for 468 yards and eight touchdowns last year and will play a much bigger role this season. He will also play defense as a linebacker.  

“He’s a returning starter,” head coach Dave Dlugosz said. “In our offense, our fullback has to be versatile. He’s a good runner with good speed. He’s been clocked at 4.6 in the 40. He’s also an excellent blocker and a good receiver out of backfield. He is a butt-kicking kind of fullback. 

“Mike will be seeing the ball more this year. All of his touchdowns were rushing last year. He also had 18 receptions for us. He’s a good kid and we’re going to rely on him this year as a veteran.” 

Returning at quarterback is Nick Firment (5-9, 175, Sr.). He was slated to be the backup QB last year, but was thrust into action as the starter in week 5 following an injury and responded with a solid season (417 passing yards, 4 TD, 2 INT). 

“He is a very good student of the game,” Dlugosz said. “He has a strong arm and he’s a leader.”  

Other players to watch for Avon Lake include WR/CB Kevin Mansnerus (5-10, 189, Sr.) and OL Matt Hevesy (6-3, 282, Sr.). 

“We are not used to ending our season after 10 games and our guys are determined to get back in the playoffs and hopefully go deep in the playoffs,” Dlugosz said. “One issue last year was we were hit pretty hard by the injury bug. We lost three tailbacks and lost our starting quarterback in week four.  

“We had to bring up junior and Nick ended up playing real well. In our offense, we don’t run the spread or anything fancy. Just don’t make mistakes when you have a good line, a good fullback and a good tailback. We are going to roll Nick out and use some play action. He’s short, but he had 5 games as starter last year and he won’t be in awe.” 

Dlugosz talked about his personal expectations for the 2007 season. 

“Our goals never change,” he said. “We want to keep the SWC championship in our house. But this year, it’s actually redeem the championship. We know if we win our league championship, we’ll get in playoffs. Then we want to get deep in the playoffs.  

“Brecksville was the champ last year and they had one of those years. They beat us on an extra point and beat Olmsted Falls on a last second-play. We’re looking forward to playing them.”

Avon Lake
2007 Schedule

Date Opponent Division
8/24/2007 Avon III
8/31/2007 @ Dover III
9/7/2007 Elyria I
9/14/2007 Brecksville-Broadview Heights I
9/21/2007 @ Olmsted Falls II
9/28/2007 North Olmsted I
10/5/2007 @ Middleburg Heights Midpark I
10/12/2007 Berea II
10/19/2007 @ Westlake II
10/26/2007 @ Amherst Steele I

* Southwestern Conference games in bold


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