By Stefanie Kilnapp
In the first match between the teams in 20 years, the Bay Rockets and Lakewood Rangers showed real effort and intensity in their game on Aug. 29, with the Rockets coming out on top, 3-0.
Key players Jameson Foran, Zach Fehrenback and Aaron Donahoe from Lakewood shone, but their efforts against Bay’s Tepper brothers (twins, Adam and Ben, seniors) didn’t cut it.
All of Bay’s goals were scored in the second half, with the first being scored by Dominic Ruma, second by Matt Toth and the last by Ben Tepper.
Head coach Bobby Dougherty automatically smiles when asked about the twin brothers.
“They’re good kids. They want to win and they’re willing to do what it takes,” Dougherty said.
Both Ben and Adam are interchangeable, dual athletes that excel at both soccer and wrestling. Dougherty calls them “freakishly fit” and running is their primary training method.
Winning is always the goal for the Tepper brothers. They are extremely dedicated and their competitive spirit always shows.
“It’s cool having twins on the team,”Teammate Seth Foerstner said. ”They are really competitive, and it’s nice having that on the team. They have serious skills.”
The brothers might not see eye to eye on much, but they do agree that they are an aggressive match. They tell how growing up together and being seniors on the team together is thrilling.
When asked of their interaction Ben says, “It’s a love-hate relationship. We’re family, we still love each other.”
Ben and Adam have high expectations for this season.
“We have a good season and a good team,” Adam said. “We hope to go to the championship and win it from there.”
“It is always good to have a season as long as you can,” Ben stated. ”Our pride in our school is extremely high after this win and we hope it continues, the next step is the state championship.”
After graduation next year, both Adam and Ben plan to carry on their soccer careers. Ben is going to Johnson & Wales for an education in the culinary arts; Adam is undecided, but will maintain his wrestling career also.
The Lakewood boys’ soccer team finds itself between a rock and a hard place in its first season playing in the West Shore Conference.
“We are very handcuffed in the district and have a tough schedule this season, going up against teams like St. Edward, Westlake and Brecksville,” Rangers head coach Andrew Toth said.
“It’s very difficult because there is a lot of competition for Lakewood to be in this division, and it’s a challenge but a great opportunity,” Lakewood player, Justice White said
“Any division is difficult, especially when you’re moving into a new one,” Rangers senior Harnold Ramazani added. “Each season every team fights and they want to win. What sets our team apart is our passion, hard work, and composure. We stand out.”
Despite the change, the Rangers are looking solid this year. Toth describes Lakewood’s Mirsad Curri as a beast.
“He is a big, strong kid. He holds the ball real well,” he said.
Curri is not the only team member to be spoken for by Toth.
“Jameson Foran has great vision and perception of the field, always involved in the buildup and he attacks,” he said.
Toth mentions Kevin Mann, saying, “I’m extremely proud of how he has developed into a complete soccer player. He’s a playmaker and is able to play in multiple positions.
“We are very good defensively.”