Rockets get the monkey off their back
By Ryan Kaczmarski
The BAY football team accomplished what has not been done in almost a decade – they beat ROCKY RIVER. In what was the season finale for both teams, the Rockets rode a great quarterback scramble, a kicker’s foot and some timely defense to a 22-7 victory over the Pirates (the first since 2002).
“I’m happy for our seniors,” Bay head coach Ryan Gorius said. “I’m also happy for our young guys. They experienced how to end the season on a win.”
Bay (3-7, 2-4 in the West Shore Conference) took an early 13-0 lead in the game on a 72-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Jake Best (PAT by Jack Creech) and two Creech field goals (24 and 31 yards).
Rocky River (3-7, 1-5 in the WSC) scored its first points of the game just before halftime on a 3-yard touchdown run by senior running back Andreas Tjotjos (PAT by Xhuljo Harunaj) that was set up by a 78-yard interception return by junior defensive back Martin Finnegan to make the score 13-7.
The second half was uneventful until Bay mounted a 13-play drive down to the Pirate 4-yard line, where Rocky River stood tall and did not let the Rockets score, keeping it a one-possession game.
After stuffing Bay on fourth down, Rocky River took over the ball on its own 4-yard line, but could not mount a drive and had to punt.
Once again Bay drove down the field to the Pirate 4-yard line, this time opting for another Creech field goal (22 yards) to make the score 16-7 with 3:24 left in the game.
As time was running out, Pirates sophomore quarterback Alex Theiling threw a desperation pass that was picked-off by Rockets junior Sam Strauss, who ran it back for a touchdown (PAT by Creech) to cap the scoring at 22-7.
“Both teams couldn’t win tonight,” Gorius said. “They (Rocky River) played well and we played well. As far as I’m concerned, we’re on a one-game winning streak and we’ve got that for the entire offseason.”
OLMSTED FALLS defeated its Southwestern Conference rival NORTH OLMSTED, 21-14. Bulldogs (7-3, 6-1 in the SWC) senior quarterback Brennan Laird passed for 155 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles (5-5, 4-3 in the SWC) led at halftime by the score of 14-7. The victory secured second place in the conference and a postseason berth. The No. 5 seed Bulldogs will play in the Division II football playoffs at No. 4 seed Toledo Central Catholic on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
WESTLAKE lost to Brecksville in a shoot-out, 49-35. The Demons (4-6, 2-5 in the SWC) scored on four touchdown passes from senior quarterback Phil Brusk (30, 3, 8 and 42 yards)
FAIRVIEW finished off its season by defeating LUTHERAN WEST by the score of 44-16. The Warriors (5-5, 5-2 in the Patriot Athletic Conference), who secured the PAC Stripes Division championship – the school’s first football championship since1953, had two touchdown runs by senior Anthony Santos (19 and 16 yards) and one touchdown run each by seniors Jeff Mortensen (4 yards) and John Doherty (6 yards). Junior tight end Corey Schmidt caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback David Lansu, and senior kicker Adrian Bendo had a 34-yard field goal for Fairview. The Longhorns (2-8, 2-5 in the PAC) scored on an 82-yard kick return by junior Ryan Mordaunt, a 36-yard touchdown run by junior Chris Ranc and a 24-yard field goal by Ricky Downer.