August 1, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
72°F
test

North Ridgeville finally finds comfort zone at Bay, runs away from Rockets in second half

BAY VILLAGE — Due to terrible field conditions at North Ridgeville’s Ranger Stadium, Friday’s game was moved to Bay Village’s all-weather field.

The move seemed to bother North Ridgeville and inspire the Rockets, at least for the first half.

“We took Bay for granted,” running back Paul Sonego said. “We looked at Bay and said they’re a 2-and-5 team. Maybe so, but they really wanted this game. We went in at halftime and said we have to step it up and get it going or we’re going to be a 6-and-2 team instead of
7-and-1.

“Everyone stepped up and the line gave me the holes and I was able to get great yardage.”

With the score tied at 14 at the half, the Rangers definitely came out and stepped it up by scoring four times in the second half to ground the Rockets 41-21.

Sonego keyed the second-half surge with a 43-yard run off a fake punt on a fourth-and-5 on the first possession of the second half. The play shifted the momentum in favor of the Rangers and took some of the air out of Bay’s sails.

Knowing they were tied at halftime, the Rockets seemed to feel good about their chances against the Rangers only to have North Ridgeville get on the board instead of giving Bay the ball on a punt.

David Riley finished off the 65-yard, seven-play drive with a 4-yard run. Jonah Bowden’s kick gave the Rangers a seven-point lead.

“We work on that play every day in practice,” North Ridgeville coach Jeff Riesen said. “When you’re an assistant coach they’re easy to call, but when you’re a head coach it’s a little harder. I called it tonight and it worked so it was a great call.”

While the defense kept the Rockets at bay, the Rangers offense added the final three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Two came through the air as the combination of quarterback P.J.Bunevich and wide receiver Christian Watkins teamed up for
19- and 38-yard touchdown passes.

“Our connection seems to be getting stronger as the season goes by,” said Watkins. “Our connection has always been strong, but now that we’re working together more it’s getting stronger.”

For Bay coach Ryan Gorius it was just another disappointment with some glimmer of hope showing through every week.

“We overcame two turnovers and were still tied at the half against a very good team,” he said. “We had them close at 21-14 going into the fourth quarter. We’re just young and inconsistent right now.”

A SINCERE THANKS: Riesen couldn’t say enough good things about Bay in allowing the game to be moved to the Rockets’ field. “It was the best for all concerned for the safety of the players,” he said.

Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.