By MICHAEL FITZPATRICK, Morning Journal Writer, October 13, 2001
``AVON - A year ago when Avon played Brookside Josh Zunis broke his left leg. Last night, the 5-10, 185-pound senior running back helped break the Cardinals' back. Zunis rushed for 239 yards and scored three touchdowns as Avon crushed Brookside 33-7 in a Lorain County Conference contest.
Zunis scored on runs of 69, 68 and 5-yards and Avon forced Brookside into six turnovers as the Eagles built a 20-0 first-quarter lead and cruised to the win.
"I was kind of pumped up for this game because I broke my leg last year in this game and I wanted to get back," Zunis said. "This means a lot to me. I'm just so happy we beat them."
Zunis was able to dice the Brookside defense with tough inside running and also displayed good speed while turning the corner to break off several other big runs. Avon coach Lee Powell said Zunis earned his big night.
"This was a night he was looking forward to all season long," Powell said of Zunis. "He broke his leg in the Brookside game last year. He had a big week last week, he finally got over the 100-yard mark. He's seeing things better and he's running hard. He's a hard guy to tackle."
A hard guy to tackle who worked hard to get back on the field.
Zunis spent the winter, spring and summer rehabbing his injured leg and last night all those long hours in the weight room paid off.
"He worked so hard in the offseason, almost too hard. He had a little setback in June when he was hobbling, but he's a strong kid. I don't thing anybody on the field tonight worked harder than he did to get where they are," Powell said.
Avon quarterback Chad Stencil continued his big year. The senior quarterback who entered the game with 879 yards passing, completed 7-of-15 passes for 125 yards. He hooked up with senior receiver Russ Logan for touchdown passes of 57 and 59 yards. The first touchdown pass came on the Eagles first series of the game when Logan caught a short pass and outraced the Cardinal defenders to the end zone for a 6-0 lead. Justin Weck kicked the PAT and the romp was on.
Avon threw early by design.
"They (Brookside) try to bring everybody inside to try to stop the running game," Powell said. "We have some pretty good receivers and an excellent quarterback. If you throw everyone in the box we are going to pass. If you take them out of the box we are going to run."
Avon (5-3, 4-1) also shut down Brookside's offense, limiting the Cardinals to just 120 yards rushing and forcing those six turnovers including three interceptions - two coming in the first quarter.
Leading 7-0, Avon's defense turned back Brookside (3-5,2-3) forcing a Cardinal fumble at the Eagles 1-yard line.
"That took a lot of wind out of their sails," said Powell.
Turning the ball over is nothing knew for Brookside. It's been a constant problem all season long ...
"It's tough when you turn the ball over six times," Powell said. "How many teams win a game when they turn the ball over six times?" ''
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