NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Heading into the fourth quarter of Friday’s Southwestern Conference game against North Olmsted, it appeared North Ridgeville was headed for its fifth straight loss.
Then Rangers junior Shane Swindig took matters into his hands.
Swindig scored three of his four touchdowns in a span of 4:32 early in the fourth quarter to turn an eight-point deficit into a 42-28 Homecoming win.
“We were pretty successful upfront, the line was blocking well. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without them,” Swindig said. “When we went in the locker room at halftime we talked about the offense, we got our line more hyped up. They executed perfectly in the run game in the second half. It means everything to us to get a win tonight.”
With Swindig running for 219 yards on 21 carries, North Ridgeville (2-5, 2-4) picked up its first win since Week 2.
Swindig scored on a 21-yard run in the second quarter that pulled the Rangers within a point of the Eagles at 14-13.
In the fourth quarter Swindig carried the ball on North Ridgeville’s first nine plays from scrimmage, including touchdowns of 7, 65 and 11 yards. It was the 65-yard run followed by a Cade Riley 2-point conversion run that gave the Rangers a 34-28 lead with 9:31 left to play.
“Shane Swindig just turned it up, he was a beast in the second half,” quarterback Matt Steinmetz said. “We just knew we had to come out and do something in the second half.”
With the running game working, Steinmetz didn’t have to throw the ball often. His only completion was a 35-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jeremy Sanchez that got the Rangers on the board in the second quarter.
“We came out and played physical on both sides of the ball. We limited what they could do on offense and we just hammered at them when we were on offense,” coach Luke Durbin said. “I’m proud of my guys, they played really hard. They deserved this win.”
North Olmsted (3-4, 2-4) had a 200-yard rusher of its own, as senior Darren Anders carried the ball 30 times for 234 yards and three touchdowns.
Anders’ 50-yarder in the first quarter opened the scoring.
After a 34-yard Josh Harp interception return gave North Ridgeville a 20-14 lead late in the first half, Anders attempted to put a dagger in the Rangers’ victory hopes with a 1-yard scoring run with three second left before halftime that put the Eagles back in front 21-20. Then on the fourth play of the second half Anders gave North Olmsted a 28-20 lead with a 32-yard run.
“We’ve been preaching stuff to these guys, so it’s always good to have some validation to what the coaches are saying,” Durbin said. “The way we played last week against a very good Avon Lake team and the way we played tonight against a good North Olmsted team shows that everybody on this team has bought into what we’re doing and is committed to playing physical football.”
As good as the Rangers offense was, gaining 310 on the ground, the defense may have played even better.
Despite allowing North Olmsted 363 yards of offense, the Rangers forced four turnovers and held the Eagles off the scoreboard for the final 22:17.
Junior linebacker Cael Bright almost added a defensive touchdown after intercepting a Liam Fry pass late in the fourth quarter. Bright broke free down the sideline and ran all the way to the end zone untouched, but the referees determined he stepped out of bounds inside the 20.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Ridgeville 42, North Olmsted 28
North Olmsted 7 14 7 0 — 28
North Ridgeville 0 20 0 22 — 42
NO -- Darren Anders, 50 run (Shane Cairns kick)
NR -- Jeremy Sanchez, 35 pass from Matt Steinmetz (kick blocked)
NO -- Avery Jones, 8 pass from Liam Fry (Cairns kick)
NR -- Shane Swindig, 21 run (Steinmetz kick)
NR -- Josh Harp, 34 interception return (Steinmetz kick)
NO -- Anders, 1 run (Cairns kick)
NO -- Anders, 32 run (Cairns kick)
NR -- Swindig, 7 run (run fail)
NR -- Swindig, 65 run (Cade Riley run)
NR -- Swindig, 11 run (Swindig run)
First downs 20 14
— by rushing 13 12
— by passing 6 1
— by penalty 1 1
Yards rushing 265 310
Yards passing 98 35
Total offense 363 345
Passes att./comp. 29/13 6/1
Intercepted by 0 3
Fumbles/lost 1/1 2/2
Penalties/yards 7/50 4/37
RUSHING — (NO) Darren Anders 30-234, Liam Fay 9-16, Avery Jones 1-15. (NR) Shane Swindig 21-219, Cade Riley 13-69, Matt Steinmetz 3-20, Mikey Richmond 1-2.
PASSING — (NO) Fay 13-29-98-1-3. (NR) Steinmetz 1-6-35-1-0.
RECEIVING — (NO) Jones 6-67, Dalton Diaz 3-21 Sean Elbins 2-12, Lucas Servidio 2 - (-2). (NR) Jeremy Sanchez 1-35.