The Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy football team is motoring toward the state playoffs.
The Royals’ latest victim was Principals Athletic Conference rival Loudonville. CVCA routed the Redbirds 42-15 Oct. 25 at Loudonville.
CVCA improved to 7-2 overall and a 5-1 tie with Orrville in the PAC.
A win at conference rival Akron Manchester Friday at 7 p.m. would clinch both a tie for the PAC title and a likely home game in the postseason for the first time in school history
"That would be pretty impressive," said Royals head coach Dan Larlham, who added that his team’s path to victory each week is becoming like a broken record. "It’s just one I like to listen to, though. We’ve finished games better than our opponents each week. I don’t know if that means we’re starting slow, but I know it means we’re finishing well."
Junior quarterback Mike Bevington once again was a one-man wrecking crew for CVCA vs Loudonville. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown and ran the ball 19 times for 169 yards with three touchdowns.
"We know we have something pretty special with Mike," Larlham said. "With Shane Douglas out due to an injury, we knew Mike was going to have to run with the ball a little bit more. He’s a real weapon whether he runs the ball or passes it. He’s pretty instinctual, pretty natural."
After a scoreless first quarter, CVCA took a 7-0 lead about halfway through the second quarter when freshman running back Kyle Snider scored from a yard out.
"We kind of ran a quarterback sneak with Kyle in the wildcat," said Larlham. "He has a nose for the end zone."
The Royals upped their lead to 14-0 at halftime on a 17-yard touchdown run by Bevington.
"That play was like a lot of Mike’s rushing yards," the coach said. "It was a called pass play, but he dropped back and didn’t like what he saw, so he put his wheels on. With the defense playing some man coverage, they had their backs to him, and that’s pretty dangerous when you give Mike some running room."
Loudonville cut its deficit to 14-7 early in the third quarter on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Logan Huffman to Connor Harper.
CVCA exploded for 28 points in the last half of the third quarter. First, with 5:51 left, Snider scored on another 1-yard run from the wildcat formation to make the score 21-7. Then, less than a minute later, Bevington scored on a 3-yard run to expand the Royals’ lead to 28-7.
"There was no one open, so Mike took the ball up the middle," said Larlham.
CVCA’s next touchdown came with 1:39 to go in the third quarter on a flea-flicker from Bevington to senior wide receiver Austen Williams, who caught the ball at the 45-yard line and battled his way into the end zone. The score was then 35-7.
"I told the guys at halftime, ‘I think the flea-flicker could be there,’" Larlham said. "We got Loudonville doing what we wanted them to be doing, and Austen got on top and was open. Mike threw a nice ball, and Austen made a great catch."
The Royals’ lead ballooned to 42-7 on a 33-yard touchdown run by Bevington on the final play of the quarter.
"That was a designed quarterback run," said Larlham. "We forced Loudonville to spread out, and we just needed a crease up the middle for Mike. Our offensive line did a great job opening that up for him, and he kind of squirted right through, and when he gets in the open field, they can’t catch him."
Sophomore running back Owen Edwards had three rushes for 34 yards, while Snider ran the ball 15 times for 55 yards.
Williams had three receptions for 63 yards. Senior wide receiver Andre Price had one catch for 21 yards, Snider caught a pass for 17 yards and sophomore wide receiver Noah Atwood had two receptions for 21 yards.
Defensively, senior inside linebacker Steve Yashnik led the way with 12 tackles.
"I think enough people know about our other inside linebacker, Kyle, that they had a couple guys assigned to block him all night," Larlham said. "That freed up Steve to make plays, and he did a very good job of doing that."
Williams, doubling at cornerback, intercepted a pass that helped set up Bevington’s 3-yard touchdown run.
"We needed a big play, and Austen got it for us," said Larlham. "We also had a lot of good plays from our defensive line, namely junior Jack Bova and seniors Breslin Walker and Dylan Hall."