Avon senior offensive guard Tim-Von Salter is the latest Eagle to commit to playing football at the next level, announcing he will don the maroon and gold of the Arizona Western Matadors next season.
Salter joined teammate Alex Kelly in earning his most recent postseason honor — the Lombardi Award, recognizing the top linemen in Lorain County.
Kelly, who will play at Grand Valley State this fall, was named the county’s best on defense.
“Tim-Von was a leader on our offensive line because of his work ethic and love for the position,” Avon coach Mike Elder said. “He took great pride in being an offensive lineman and played the position with a nasty disposition. This attitude rubbed off on the guys playing around him.
“He loved finishing blocks and putting people on their backs as much as skilled players like scoring touchdowns. You need this attitude on a football team.”
Salter, 6-foot-21⁄2 and 270 pounds, and the offensive line led the way for the high-scoring Eagles’ offense that put up 449 total points during the 2012 season. Avon finished 11-2 and won the West Shore Conference title with a perfect 7-0 league record.
“This award is more a testament to the work I did, but individual awards are not my thing,” Salter said. “In my senior year I wanted to get that ring, and I’m still upset we didn’t, we came up short. This is a great honor, but I wanted that state championship ... something the entire team could achieve together.”
The Eagles were the Division II runners-up in 2011, and Salter took it upon himself to prepare the Avon offensive line during the offseason.
“Our offensive line worked really, really hard,” he said. “I took a leadership position as far as organizing offseason workouts and line-specific drills, and the entire offensive line really responded. We knew we would have to be the backbone of the offense and we worked hard to make sure we did our part.”
Kelly, a 6-2, 260-pound defensive end, put up big numbers in his three years as a starter. After his freshman year, he recorded 138 tackles, 29 solo and 15 tackles for a loss. He also had seven sacks, forced a pair of fumbles and defended four passes.
“Alex played football at Avon High School since his freshman year,” Elder said. “A big reason we were so successful in a 3-4 scheme was because Alex demanded double teams playing our anchor end.
“If teams did not put two bodies on him, he made plays in their backfield. When they did put two bodies on him, our linebackers were able to play free and make lots of tackles. Every linebacker in our program knows how important the defensive line is to their success. We are going to miss Alex Kelly.”
Kelly has a history with the Lombardi. His uncle, Geoff Poyle, won the award following his senior season at Elyria Catholic in 1985. The Panthers won the Division III state championship that season under Jim Rattay, and Poyle went on to a career at Indiana University.
“It means a lot because my uncle won it,” Kelly said. “He, along with my father, has really helped me out during my career. He’s always been there to give me advice and help me out with things if I had any questions. My winning it after he won it is really cool.”
Kelly also wanted to point out he had a lot of help from his fellow defensive linemen.
“The rest of the guys on the defensive line were a big part of me winning this award,” he said. “The defensive line works as a group, so what I did on the field was always a big part of what they did.”
Salter and Kelly were named first team all-conference, county and district. Salter was also named third-team All-Ohio while Kelly was named to the Academic All-Ohio first team.
“Tim-Von and Alex brought a physicality to our team,” Elder said. “They prided themselves in working hard in the weight room and at winning the game in the trenches. Fans don’t notice OL/DL guys, but coaches understand that the game is usually won on the line of scrimmage.
“These are both special players that are going to take their talents to the college level as well.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.