Avon has its way with Firelands

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Morning Journal Correspondent, Sat, Sep 18, 1999

"HENRIETTA TOWNSHIP -- Conference play opened up last night around the area, and the Avon Eagles can call themselves one of four undefeated teams in Lorain County Conference play by virtue of their 20-12 win over Firelands.

If you were at the game, you have to be shaking your head wondering how the score was so close after Avon controlled the game and the ball for such a long time. The Eagles churned out 379 yards of total offense to the Falcons' 135.

Avon was paced by Justin Carrasquillo, who rumbled for 195 yards on 33 carries including three scores for the Eagles, who improve to 1-3 (1-0 in the LCC), giving first-year head coach Lee Powell his first career win at Avon.

Avon tailback Bill Hassel looks to thread his way through the Firelands defensive line during the first quarter last night.

The Eagles outgained Firelands nearly 3-to-1 in offense, but six turnovers kept the Falcons in the hunt until late in the fourth quarter, when Firelands finally turned the ball over with just 24 seconds left in the contest.

'The first one feels real good. It just hasn't had a chance to set in yet,' said an elated Powell. 'We got the job done up front but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot to keep them (Firelands) in the game.'

The half belonged to Carrasquillo and his offensive line. He churned out 87 yards on 20 carries in the half with two scores to take a 14-6 lead into the locker room at the half.

Carrasquillo took the first play of the second quarter into the endzone from one yard out to cap an 11-play, 54-yard drive.

On Avon's next possession, it churned out more yardage and a lot of clock, going 63 yards in 13 plays, with Carrasquillo diving in from one-yard line again for a 14-0 advantage.

The Eagles' defense continued to do their job, forcing a fourth straight three-and-out possession for the Falcons. Unfortunately for Avon, the Eagles punt returner lost the ball, giving it to the Falcons at the Avon 32.

Firelands took advantage of the great field position, scoring in three plays with Morning Journal Player of the Week Brandon Crisp taking a toss around the left side 13 yards for the score.

The Eagles took the opening drive of the second half into the endzone to build a 20-6 lead. Carrasquillo scored the hat trick, going in from 18 yards out to cap a 67-yard drive.

The Avon defense again did its job at the start of the second half, forcing Matt Hassel to punt for the fifth time in the game. Again, the Eagles punt return team failed, as they turned the ball over again to Firelands deep in Eagle territory.

It took the Falcons a little longer to score this time, being aided by an Eagle personal foul and a pass interference call to get the ball to the Avon 9.

Firelands didn't take the easy way in for the score, as it faced a fourth-and-goal from the Avon 12, only to have a delay of game penalty called on them.

Undaunted by the penalty, sophomore quarterback Hassel lobbed the ball to the right-front corner of the endzone, with Crisp coming down with the ball and diving across the goal line for the score.

Crisp finished the game with 12 rushing attempts for 59 yards and another 50 yards through the air on three catches. The two-point conversion run failed, leaving the score at 20-12 with five minutes left in the third quarter.

Neither team would be able to punch the ball into the endzone, as both combined to turn the ball over five times in the final 17 minutes of the game.

The Eagles had the best chance in the fourth quarter to score, but the Falcons defense stopped Avon quarterback Tony Stross on a fourth down keeper at the Firelands 6.

The Falcons' Hassel moved his team out to the 43 with 30 seconds left in the game, but a pass attempt was batted at the line and then intercepted by Jake Schober to seal the win for the Eagles.

'We were excited offensively by our production but we have to get it into the endzone a few more times,' said Powell. 'We stopped ourselves too many times and Firelands took advantage to make the game pretty close.'

'We said all week that their (Avon) defensive line was going to pin their ears back and come after us,' said Falcons head coach Doug Slagle, whose team dropped to 1-3, 0-1 in the conference. 'Unlike last week (a win over Western Reserve) the line didn't get the job done.

'You have to play two halves of football at this level. Last week we got away with playing one good half and winning. That wasn't the case tonight as we played one good half and got beat.

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