May 29, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Rising star: Cloverleaf’s Cepik shines as team leader

Cloverleaf senior Adam Cepik picks up yards during the Colts’ season-opening victory over Buckeye. He also has been solid on defense as the team’s outside linebacker. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk, The Gazette.)

Cloverleaf senior Adam Cepik picks up yards during the Colts’ season-opening victory over Buckeye. He also has been solid on defense as the team’s outside linebacker. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk, The Gazette.)

First-year Cloverleaf football coach Doug Haas couldn’t stop gushing about Adam Cepik.

“First, I’ve got to say what a great kid he is,” Haas said. “I just talked to him (Tuesday) about maybe some college plans. He worked our youth camp over the summer and did a phenomenal job with those kids. As a person, I think that says a lot about him.

“Work ethic, leadership, all those things he takes to heart and he tries to translate that to not only himself, but to his teammates. He’s probably a better person than he is a football player.”

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With the way Cepik is playing football right now, you might as well give him the Nobel Peace Prize.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound tailback/outside linebacker has been an absolute beast on both sides of the ball this season and is arguably the main reason the Colts are 2-0 heading into tonight’s showdown with North Ridgeville.
“It feels good carrying the team and being a leader of the team,” Cepik said.

Cepik hasn’t necessarily been the starter for Cloverleaf, but the finisher.

Week 1 vs. Buckeye was the two-year starter’s breakout game. Not only was Cepik a key factor in a pair of huge fourth-down stops on defense, but he also kept grinding the pigskin between the tackles to kill the clock and finished with a career-high 184 yards on 28 carries.

Last week against Springfield, Cepik was at it again. With the game tied at 7 in the second half, Cepik broke free for a 17-yard TD scamper, then provided the eventual game-winning score by bowling in from a yard out.

“When you need a tough yard, Adam is certainly a guy we feel confident enough in to get that yard,” Haas said. “Our offensive line has played relatively well from a run standpoint. … I’m sure Adam would be the first one to tell you that those guys did a great job.”

Haas was right on the money.

“That’s just the offensive line picking it up,” an unprovoked Cepik said of Dave Grabowski, Mike King, Kyle Morton, Ben Weinerman, Duane Cehelnik and Cody Furr.

“They’re blowing them off the ball.”

The difference for Cepik as a runner has been agility. As a pure downhill runner last season, Cepik saw his carries diminish and finished the year with a yards-per-carry average of 3.6.

Offseason training made all the difference in the world, however, and now the thick-legged senior has the ever-so-subtle moves to make defenders miss.

Cepik’s 315 yards rushing lead Medina County by a wide margin —Wadsworth’s Jack Snowball trails by 135 —as does his whopping 6.7 average. He also has a team-high 16 tackles.

“We had great coaches last year, but our new coaches put a lot of hard work into us,” Cepik said. “That helped a lot.”
Thanks to Cepik’s iron-skull style, the Colts’ rushing attack enters tonight with a whopping 40-yard lead on the rest of the county. Cepik has 65 percent of those yards, but slot backs Grant Vujanov and Heath Eby are rolling up nearly 8 yards per carry, due in large part to Cepik wearing down the opposition’s front wall.

Haas couldn’t be any more pleased with his quiet but deadly two-way rock.

“He’s the iron-man type of guy,” Haas said with a chuckle. “He’s doing everything and doing it well. We’re obviously thrilled he’s on our team.

“To be able to turn around and say, ‘Let’s give it to 42’ makes my job pretty easy.”

Tonight’s games

  • Wadsworth at Medina (7:30). Listen online on WEOL. (Game will air about 9:30 or 10 p.m., following live broadcast of the 7:30 p.m. Lorain County matchup, Firelands at Keystone.)
  • Black River at Manchester (7:30).
  • Massillon Perry at Brunswick (7:30).
  • Midview at Buckeye (7:30).
  • Cloverleaf at North Ridgeville (7:30).
  • Highland at North Royalton (7:30).

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or