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Cleveland defeats Central Ohio 26-12 to finish atop MCFL Standings
September 25, 2005
Mike Parris

It was a smart bet if you picked the Lions to win the game Saturday.

In a battle of two outstanding teams both nicknamed the Lions, Cleveland used a strong second half to defeat Central Ohio 26-12 Saturday evening at John Marshall Field.

Two of the elite teams in the state, Cleveland and Central Ohio battled to a scoreless first quarter where neither squad was able to put together a scoring drive. Early in the second quarter as Central Ohio was driving, Cleveland's Tim Weeks stepped in front of a Central Ohio pass in the right flat and returned the interception to the 12 yard line. On 3rd down from the 8 yard line, Lions' QB Jon Hunek found TE Mike Parris in the endzone for the touchdown and 7-0 lead.

Central Ohio wasted no time in returning the favor, however, as Danny Mack fielded the ensuing kickoff at the Central Ohio 10 yard line and used his blazing speed to return the kick 90 yards for the score. A botched snap on the point after attempt allowed Cleveland to hold a slim 7-6 lead at halftime.

Needing a big play to shift the momentum, Cleveland turned to its vaunted defense and special teams as the second half began. After Cleveland missed a short field goal in its opening possesion of the third quarter, Central Ohio took over deep in their own territory. Cleveland LB Dave Schierbaum used a well-timed blitz to sack the Central Ohio QB in the endzone for a safety and 9-6 lead.

On the ensuing free kick, the Lions' fantastic return man Brian Giovanazzi zig-zagged his way through traffic en route to a 75 yard touchdown return. The extra point was tacked on by Joe Lindway, and Cleveland held a more comfortable 16-6 lead.

The Cleveland offense also awoke from its slumber in the second half, using a steady dose of RB Chip McClain. The husky tailback, who finished with 109 rushing yards, pounded out tough yardage as Cleveland used a 9 play, 65 yard drive to take over 9 minutes off the clock. RB Marshall Dos-Reis punched it in from 1 yard out and the game was all but locked up.

The Cleveland defense rebounded from two shaky performances in previous weeks to hold the Central Ohio offense to a late touchdown after the game was decided. Jerry Adams led the way with 7 tackles and 2 sacks, while Rico Franklin added two interceptions.

Cleveland, with the victory, locked up the regular season MCFL title and now will prepare to defend their 2004 playoff championship. The Lions (11-0, 8-0 MCFL) earned a first round bye and homefield advantage in this season's upcoming playoffs. The Lions will be back in action on October 8th at John Marshall Field to take on the lowest remaining seed in the playoffs. Check back soon for more details.

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