Story by Matt Lofgren
Photos by NEOSPORTSPIX.COM
Fighting their way back from a 21-6 halftime deficit, the Bay Rockets fell just short of a second half comeback against Orange in a close 34-26 game Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
After 24 minutes of football, it didn't look like Bay had a lot in them against the Lions. Scoring just once in the first half after a Lions fumble at the Bay one yard line, the Rockets appeared to be out of fuel.
Accumulating just 30 yards of total offense in the first half, head coach Ryan Gorius had to make some adjustments at halftime if his team was going to be able to fight back.
"We just sat down and talked about some things and said 'okay, we can't give up on what we've been practicing,'" Gorius said. "Then, you saw us bouncing outside on some of these runs, which is kids learning on the fly.
“Sometimes you have to do that," he said.
Struggling their way through the first half, the Rockets came out with new life in the second to really impress the home crowd. Leading the way for Bay was senior quarterback Jake Best and his work facilitating the football.
While Best's numbers weren't eye-popping, his play made a big impact on the Rockets' offense. He finished his night with 19 carries for 38 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another 50 yards through the air.
Complimenting Best for the rest of the workload was senior Tyler Campbell. Providing a big spark in the second half, Campbell was efficient with his 16 carries for 75 yards and accounted for Bay's other two touchdowns in the game.
Campbell punched in tough touchdown runs of one yard in the first quarter, then three yards in the fourth quarter. That pulled the Rockets to within striking distance with over nine minutes to play.
Utilizing a number of different players, Gorius said he is looking for the players that will work in his option offense while preserving the playmakers he does have.
"I want to use our receivers and all of our running backs a little bit more," Gorius said. "I don't want to run our quarterback as much, however, he's pretty darn effective. Both of them are, and we've just got to figure out a way to make it a little bit easier for one of the two guys."
Gorius was also able to work in sophomore quarterback John Koz ,who saw action in the game. Koz earned some hard yards on the ground in his performance and was able to earn 19 yards on four carries.
Defensively, the Rockets are still looking for some answers.
Orange quarterback Stephen Borgman facilitated all of the Lions offense, completing 27-of-33 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns.
While the Orange offense consisted primarily of screens and bubble passes, it took a while for the Rockets to tune into just what exactly the Lions were doing.
"Their coaches did a good job of using the bubble and then using plays off of it. That's often difficult," Gorius said. "Sometimes we were just two steps too slow. And if you take the wrong angle against a team has some team speed, you know the end result sometimes."
At the end of the day, the Rockets just didn't make enough big plays to earn the victory. Finding solace in the fact that his team never gave up, Gorius said he was proud of what his team did on the field.
"One thing we can hang our hat on is hey, these guys never gave up," Gorius said. "I can win with that."
Bay will travel across the tracks to Westlake next Friday in the annual battle for the Little Brown Jug. The Demons lost their season opener Friday night, 34-21, at North Ridgeville. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Click here to view photos of this game: NEOSportsPix
(You can follow Matt Lofgren on Twitter @MLofgrenDKS)