ROCKY RIVER — North Ridgeville won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. That just started all the bad things to come for the Pirates.
North Ridgeville 42, Rocky River 0.
Rocky River’s kick returner fumbled the ball at the 24-yard line and North Ridgeville’s Matt Dawson recovered. That was the first of five turnovers for the Pirates (3-4, 1-3 West Shore Conference).
It didn’t take long for North Ridgeville (6-1, 2-1) to take advantage. Two plays to be exact. Both were runs by Paul Sonego.
Once again North Ridgeville kicked off and once again Rocky River fumbled the ball away, this time on the 25.
This trip to the end zone took 10 plays, with Sonego recording his second touchdown. With 7:57 left in the first quarter it was 14-0.
Once the Pirates dug the big hole, the Rangers defense made sure they stayed there.
“This was a total team win really,” North Ridgeville coach Jeff Riesen said. “When the offense puts up the points and the defense creates the turnovers that we score on, that’s what you want as a coach to have your offense and defense work together.
“They did a great job tonight right from the momentum of the very first kickoff and then the first series when we forced a fumble.”
The North Ridgeville offense was in high gear in this game. With the running attack pounding away, quarterback P.J. Bunevich found his wide receivers and tight end to the tune of 8-for-12 passing for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
The biggest recipient of Bunevich’s passes was wideout Christian Watkins with five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns One of those catches was a 45-yard bomb that Watkins caught in stride to finish off a six-play, 74-yard drive.
“I was in the zone today, Watkins said. “My coaches told me I had to get my head in the game today. I had to run hard.”
When asked about the long completion, Watkins had a simple explanation.
“As I was running I looked back for the ball and at first I thought it was going to be short and then it kept going,” he said. “It was a great play.”
SOLID FOOTING: Fans and reporters weren’t the only ones glad to see the rain and mud of last week give way to a clear, warm night. Riesen liked the friendly forecast as well.
“It was nice to get out of the mud and onto the turf this week,” he said.
Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.