Avon (Oh) v North Ridgeville (Oh) 2021 Football Edition
On Friday night I watched 3-2 Avon play at 3-2 North Ridgeville in Football. The weather was absolutely perfect to watch a fall high school football classic.....
But the game wasn't a classic. North Ridgeville had fattened its record by being marginally better than other football dregs on their schedule and Avon lost to 2 teams that could potentially be playing in the (Ohio) State Championship game.
Early in the third quarter, Avon was up 51-0, and it was easy to see why they were 117-17-2 over the past 10 seasons, including a 73-4 conference record over the same time span. North Ridgeville never even sniffed midfield as wave after wave of Avon Eagle defenders crashed over Ridgeville running backs. The Ridgeville quarterback was irrelevant.
From the opening gun Avon displayed a multidimensional offensive attack and a relentless, disciplined defense. Avon is simply a Football Factory. How do you beat a Football Factory? [If you're Westlake (Oh), you don't. You cry in your Cheerios and leave the conference, despite sharing a city border.]
Other than Westlake, though, how do you beat a Football Factory? You yourself become a Football Factory (like Avon Lake), or you pray to the Football Gods that a generational talent falls in your lap and doesn't go to a Catholic School. For North RIdgeville, that generational talent struck in 2014 in the form of DeMario McCall.
Last night I peeked on ESPN and saw that Ohio State won 59-7 against Akron. No way, no how was Akron going to win that game. You could have played that game across a thousand inter dimensional timelines and Akron would have been 0 for a 1,000.
On the top of the Ohio State roster is #1 DeMario McCall from North Ridgeville. I believe he is the only Ranger grad currently on a Division I college roster. Despite being a 6th year senior, he's not on any OSU depth charts and his position has evolved from running back, to wide receiver, to kick returner, to cornerback. With each position change, DeMario's job was to touch the ball less and less.
Despite VERY limited action in mop-up roles for 5 years, Sports Illustrated still saw McCall's potential, based on his magical 2014 Ranger Season. Just a month ago: Former Running Back, Wide Receiver, DeMario McCall Ready to Make an Impact in the Ohio State Secondary. One month later, no defensive stats. No tackles, no I-N-T's, nothing.
Here's a quote about McCall's position change:
"McCall, who played on both sides of the ball during his high school days in North Ridgeville, Ohio, spent all spring at cornerback and played well in the annual spring game. And rather than enter the transfer portal in hopes of making an impact elsewhere, he chose to stay in Columbus to see both his career and the position change through."
Ah, McCall was a two way player.
As North Ridgeville mounted a mini comeback in the fourth quarter of that Avon game, their first string running back finally broke through against the Eagles' third string defense to cut the lead to 51-7. 3 of North Ridgeville's best players currently play 2-way football because they simply don't have enough quality players. Avon subbed in waves as their second and third units got valuable playing time experience in the second half.
Over the past decade, North Ridgeville has compiled a 41-59-2 record overall, 29-45 record in conference. No way, no how was Ridgeville going to win that Avon game. You could have played that game across a thousand inter dimensional timelines and Ridgeville would have been 0 for a 1,000.
Regular teams just don't beat Factories in football. They just don't. But just be aware that factories often churn out an unintended human cost.
In specifically DeMario McCall's case, in hindsight, would he have been better served to take a full scholarship to Akron instead of the Ohio State University?
Even though McCall is a 6th year senior, I don't see anywhere that he has actually graduated. So with that in mind: Would you rather have a college degree from Akron or Ohio State?
If McCall's motivation was getting a college degree from a better school, by choosing Ohio State he probably made the right decision.
If McCall's motivation was to get lots and lots of playing time in college football, he made the wrong decision. I speculate that McCall could have gained 4,000 yards at Akron and raised their profile from doormat to average MAC team. Would you rather star at a small school or sit on the bench at a Factory?
If McCall's motivation was a ticket to the NFL, well Akron has never had a running back drafted in the NFL and I can't think of one running back drafted to the NFL with only HUNDREDS of yards rushing. Meaning Ohio State sold McCall the DREAM of the NFL but in reality the decision was a wash.
If McCall's motivation was the Canadian Football League, that dream would have been alive no matter the choice. He could still play there as a backup from a Big Ten School or a star at Akron. Another wash, but it is doubtful that his goal in 2015 was the CFL.
Listen, I don't know how to finish the article, I'm not DeMario McCall.