17 final Friday behind a methodical rushing attack and stingy defense
that led to a 23-0 victory over Gates Mills Gilmour Academy at Warren
G. Harding’s Mollenkopf Stadium. South Range took advantage of great
field position in the first half, starting drives three times in
Gilmour territory and scoring on each.
Raider head coach Dan Yeagley acknowledged that the field position was the key to allowing his team to employ their own style of football.
“Field position was big in the first half,” Yeagley said. “We got a couple turnovers and we were able to play South Range Raider football.”
On this night, South Range Raider football consisted of balance on offense. Three different running backs each carried the ball 10 times or more with sophomore Nick Golec leading the way (57 yards on 10 carries). Quarterback Jack Dawson added 67 yards on 6-for-10 passing, completing passes to six different receivers.
The game was a reversal of fortune for Gilmour Academy compared to last week’s first round victory over Vienna Mathews. Last week the Lancers took advantage of four turnovers. They committed four Friday. Also, star running back Tom Hallal, who was coming off a 100 yard game in round one, was limited to just 43 yards on 11 carries.
For Gilmour head coach Bob Spicer, the difference between the two performances was simple.
“Last week we were able to control the line of scrimmage, today we didn’t,” Spicer said. “They had good blocking, were solid fundamentally and had hard running backs.”
The Raider defense limited Gilmour to only 31 net yards rushing with three sacks included. Although they gave up over 200 threw the air, the Raiders came up with three interceptions, two by Dawson.
“Our defense did a great job tonight,” said Yeagley. “They really stepped up the intensity and played well. We had to do some new things this week because of their offense, but we really stepped up.”
South Range got started quickly when Golec returned the opening kickoff to the Lancer 32 yard line. It took seven plays for South Range to find the end zone, on a 15-yard pass from Dawson to Charlie Lengyel.
Lengyel was a force in all aspects of the game. In addition to the touchdown reception, he gained 27 yards rushing with a touchdown, and defensively had a fumble recovery. Despite the all-around effort, Lengyel feels there’s always room for improvement.
“Everyone tells you did good and take it as a compliment,” Lengyel said, “but you know you still have to work hard and get better.”
With South Range holding a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, turnovers began to cause problems for Gilmour. Lengyel recovered a Hallal fumble at midfield, starting the Raiders on a seven-play, 50-yard touchdown drive that Lengyel capped with a 17-yard run. A missed extra point kept the Raider lead at 16-0.
Gilmour attempted to cut into the South Range lead before halftime, but quarterback Billy Urban was intercepted by Steve Bensinger.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Gilmour threatened to get on the board getting its deepest penetration into Raider territory. Faced with a fourth-and-10 from the Raider 27 yard line, Urban completed a pass to Tim Vala, but the South Range defense was able to stop him short of the first down.
South Range responded with a 10-play, 84-yard drive to ice the game. Hunter Spitz capped it off with a 10-yard touchdown run to stretch the lead to 23-0.
Urban, only a junior, was 19-for-31 for 212 yards, but the three interceptions were costly. Gilmour’s season comes to an end with a 9-2 record and looks poised for a bright future. The Lancers started nine underclassmen on defense and six on offense, including Urban and Hallal, a 1,200 yard rusher on the year.
South Range (12-0) stays unbeaten on the year and will face Youngstown Ursuline in next week’s regional final.