Lorain Catholic tops Avon, 7-0

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By THERESA NEUHOFF, 8-28-99

Morning Journal Writer

LORAIN -- A punishing sack by Avon's Jamie Wimmer on Lorain Catholic quarterback Louie Grasso led to the Spartan's first win of the season.

Both teams were scoreless in the non-conference contest until the 1:50 mark of the fourth quarter when Grasso scored a four-yard rushing touchdown on a first-and-goal. Chase Szente kicked the extra point and the Spartans, who were 0-3 against Avon going into the game, took a 7-0 lead.

'Before I scored that touchdown I went in the huddle and told the guys I had never been hit harder before in my life and I wasn't going to leave the field without a win,' said Grasso, a 6-foot-1, 213 pound senior, who was drilled for a loss of 12 yards earlier in the fourth quarter by Wimmer. 'Avon is one of the biggest schools we play, and it's a great accomplishment for a small school like us to play them and finally get some respect.'

Wimmer, a 6-4, 265 junior inside linebacker, admitted after the game he was also shaken by the hit.

'That rattled my head too,' he said.

He also commented on his team's performance: 'We had a lot of chances, but we never capitalized on any of our chances,' he said.

The Eagles' final play of the game was a perfect example of their lack of offense.

Avon took over on its own 43-yard line with 1:47 remaining in the fourth and a chance to tie the game. Five plays later, the Eagles were on LC's 18-yard line facing a fourth-down-and-eight situation, but quarterback Tony Stross threw a pass that slipped through the hands of receiver Russ Logan in the endzone as the Spartans began their celebration.

'We couldn't ask any more of our defense,' said Avon first-year coach Lee Powell whose Lorain County Conference team is 0-1. 'Our offense let our defense down tonight.'

Without senior fullback Zach Warner, the Spartans also struggled offensively. Warner was sidelined with a pulled lower-right hamstring which he suffered in a scrimmage against Oberlin.

'I just started jogging yesterday,' said Warner, who was dressed in jeans and on the sidelines during the game. 'It was real hard for me to watch the guys play, because I wanted to be out there, but they stepped up. I should be back next week to play Elyria Catholic.'

LC finished with two rushing yards on 26 carries. Grasso went 12-for-38 with one interception and 111 passing yards.

'Being a part of this is one of the greatest feelings I've ever had,' Grasso said. 'I've never seen so much togetherness on our team. We showed a lot of heart out there tonight.'

Offensively, Avon had 68 yards on 34 carries. Stross, a 5-10, 150 sophomore, went 5-for-17 with one interception and 72 yards passing.

Highlights of the first quarter included an interception by LC's Chris Bialko as the Spartans took over on Avon's 43-yard line. The Spartans followed with an unsuccessful 12-play drive that carried over to the second quarter. The drive featured back-to-back 15-yard pass completions from Grasso to Chad Kutting.

The Eagles' Dan Meyer made an outstanding defensive play as he tackled Grasso for a loss of three yards. LC hurt itself with a delay of game penalty and finished the series with an incomplete pass at the 12-yard line on fourth down.

Avon controlled the ball in the third quarter. It opened with a 10-play drive and got its first, first down of the game at the 11:19 mark as Jim Dosztal had a one-yard run. The Eagles followed with their first completion of the contest as Stross threw a 13-yard strike to Russ Logan. But Avon hurt itself with a 10-yard holding penalty and Bialko batted away an Eagle pass to end the drive.

'This puts us on the right track,' said Lesiecki whose team is 1-0. 'We've made outstanding strikes from last year to this year. Tonight we showed Lorain County that we can play with the best teams in the area.'

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