CHESTERLAND– West Geauga dominated visiting Lakeside on both sides of the ball on the way to a 45-0 victory in the first-ever meeting between the new Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division rivals.
The win was the first for the Wolverines, whose previous opponents this season are a combined 9-3 on the year.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve been undisciplined, but we had a great week of practice,” said West Geauga head coach Adam Sopkovich. “Our guys were focused on accomplishing something as a team tonight. The way we ran the ball opened up some things. Riley Huge finally found some success. It seemed like the ball was bouncing our way and we were capitalizing on the things we needed to.”
Junior running back Trae Zimmermann, who had been fighting an illness all week, led the way on offense with two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
The Wolverine defense was able to keep the Dragons’ offense in check all night forcing two interceptions, one fumble, and a blocked punt in Dragon territory.
Lakeside looked to gain early momentum with an onside kick on the opening kickoff, but the kick rolled out of bounds giving West Geauga good starting field position.
The Wolverines were able to capitalize on the field position as they drove down the field setting up a 5-yard touchdown run by Joe Peterson.
After a quick 3-and-out by the Dragons, the Wolverines’ offense continued to move the ball well until Saivion Colbert came up with a big interception halting the drive.
The Dragons had some success on offense after the interception but were eventually forced into a turnover on downs.
After a few scoreless possessions from each team, the Dragons were set up to punt in their own territory hoping to flip field position. West Geauga’s Levi Veverka flew in and blocked the punt and Peterson recovered on the Lakeside 4-yard line.
Zimmermann punched it in for a 3-yard touchdown run on the second play after the blocked punt giving the Wolverines a 14-0 lead.
The Wolverines’ offense and defense remained disciplined throughout the first half as they scored three more times, highlighted by a 46-yard touchdown pass from Huge to Zimmermann.
Lakeside’s defense was able to slow down the Wolverines in the second half, but the offense continued to struggle to find any rhythm.
The only touchdown of the second half came off a pick-six by West Geauga senior Josh Moriarty. Moriarty’s interception capped off a dominant defensive effort for the Wolverines.
“We just played team defense,” said defensive coordinator Scott Larrick. “Everybody has their responsibility and, as long as everybody takes care of their own business, we’ll shut teams down.”
West Geauga scored late on C.J. Contizano’s 37-yard field goal.
The Wolverines, who improved to 1-3 overall and 1-0 in league play, host Orange next Friday while Lakeside, 0-4, 0-1, will entertain Chagrin Falls.