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Football '14: Rockets roar into state playoff chase
Football '14: Rockets roar into state playoff chaseStory by Jim Horvath

Don't look now, but the Bay Rockets are in a playoff chase.

With half the season in the books, Bay is tied for first with Perry in Division IV, Region 11 in this week's OHSAA Computer Ratings. The 4-1 Rockets have been bolstered by wins over Division II Westlake and Division I Lakewood in the first half of the season.

They'll travel to North Olmsted, another Division II school, this Friday night. A bevy of computer points will be on the line, and a win over the 3-2 Eagles would go a long way in getting Bay into postseason play.

Bay and Perry each have a computer point average of 8.75, with Jefferson Area close behind with an 8.45. In fourth is Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin at 8.2, with Mantua Crestwood in fifth at 7.9. The top eight teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the tournament.

The Rockets schedule, however, is a daunting one. After the North Olmsted game, the Rockets have West Shore Conference games with Avon, Midview, North Ridgrville and arch rival Rocky River. Avon, Midview and North Ridgeville are all in the playoff hunt in Division II, Region 4.

Bay's first-year head coach, Ron Rutt, said his team has bought into a new way of approaching adversity on game nights.

The change so far has paid huge dividends.

"That was in impressive thing, in my mind," said Rutt after last Friday's 17-14 win over Lakewood. "It's where I think the belief that I think we've started to develop as a team has come into play.

"When something doesn't go our way, we're able to bounce back. And especially after last week's loss to Elyria Catholic, where we lost a tough game," Rutt said. "We just kept fighting. In the huddle, everyone just said 'we need this. It's a big play right here.'

"All 11 guys went out there and executed their assignment, and that's the result. I'm proud of our guys," he said of the win.

More computer news
As mentioned, several area teams find themselves in the playoff hunt with half the season in the books.

In Division II, Region 3, North Olmsted comes in at No. 7 despite a tough 33-29 loss at Brecksville-Broadview Heights. The Bees, by the way, find themselves in third place behind No. 1 Madison and No. 2 Bedford.

Also in that region, Westlake is 10th despite a 2-3 record. The Demons have a 5.45 computer point average, with No. 8 Garfield Heights sporting a 6.1 average. North Olmsted is at 6.15.

Midview is the No. 2 team behind Massillon Washington in Division II, Region 4. North Ridgeville, which faces the Middies this Friday night, is fifth and Avon seventh.

In Division II, Region 8, Rocky River is 10th with a 3-2 mark and a computer average of 4.3. Bowling Green is currently in the eighth and final spot at 5.65, with Clyde on top at an even 12. The Pirates travel to Division I Lakewood Friday night.

Too much McCall for River
Rocky River got a good look at North Ridgeville's Demario McCall last Friday night in a 55-21 loss to North Ridgeville. The Ranger junior continued his amazing season, scoring a career-high six touchdowns and gaining 221 yards on 19 carries.

The score was 28-0, Rangers in the second quarter before the Pirates could get on the board. Quarterback Matt Lowry hit Travis Smith on a 13-yard pass play, with Matt Goepfert adding the conversion kick.

Lowry added a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, then threw a 20-yard scoring strike to Eric Jones in the fourth quarter.

Warriors get a win
Fairview finally got that elusive first win of the season out at Brookside last Friday night with a convincing 43-27 win over the Cardinals.

Senior quarterback Colin McNamara scored rushing touchdowns of 15, 31, 15 and 2 yards. He also opened the scoring with a 6-yard scoring pass to senior Tommy Smith in the Warriors' 14-point first quarter. Fairview held a slim 21-20 halftime lead, but scored 13 unanswered points in the third quarter to gain some breathing room.

Senior Ryan Williams scored on a 5-yard run in the third quarter, while sophomore kicker Ellon Bendo chipped in with four extra points and a 38-yard field goal on the night.

Fairview hosts Columbia to open Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division play this Friday night. The Raiders are 4-1 after a 47-14 win over Wellington.

Long night for Longhorns
Lutheran West found itself down 26-0 at halftime and lost its PAC crossover game at Buckeye, 39-13.

Andrew O'Hara led the Longhorns in rushing with 79 yards on 10 carries, and receiving with seven catches for 71 yards. He also scored both of Lutheran West's touchdowns. Quarterback Josh Ranc threw for 102 yards.

The 'Horns, now 1-4, will host Oberlin this Friday night to open PAC Stripes Division play. The 1-4 Phoenix were blanked by Firelands last Friday, 48-0.

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