Rocky River Football

Rocky River starts strong to beat Fairview, 45-12 (Video Highlights plus Coach’s Interview)

FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — Rocky River football was strong on both sides of the ball, forcing three turnovers and scoring 38 first half points to beat Fairview, 45-12, on Thursday.

Check out more from the game below, including key plays that shaped the game and top individual performers.

The Pirates intercepted Fairview quarterback Colin McNamara three times, including on the first play of the game. Rocky River’s Jimi Smith turned one of those interceptions into a touchdown in the second quarter on a 46-yard return.

Offensively, Rocky River QB Matt Lowry threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 75 ya and a touchdown. Lowry’s first pass was a 52-yard touchdown to Evan Nugent on the third play of the game.

“Offense is doing what we do,” Rocky River coach Rick Adams said. “Now it’s so comforting when you have a defense playing the way we’re playing. It makes you a little more aggressive because you know the defense is going to step up and make a play.”

What it means

In 2013, Rocky River averaged 38.5 points per game, but allowed an average of 39.6 points per game.

Rocky River’s defense was strong from the first snap of the game when Eric Jones intercepted McNamara. The Pirates intercepted McNamara three times, all in the first half.

Fairview gained just 217 yards against Rocky River’s defense.

5 plays that shaped the game

• Rocky River’s Patrick Connors intercepted McNamara on the first play of the game.

• Lowry threw a 52-yard touchdown to Nugent on the game’s third play to put Rocky River in front, 7-0.

• Following a missed Fairview field goal, Lowry dove into the endzone to score on a 21-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter to give his team a 14-0 lead.

• A Jack Corrigan interception led to a 10-yard touchdown run by Travis Smith and the Pirates took a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter. Smith had two touchdowns.

• In the second quarter, Jimi Smith caught a deflected pass and ran the ball back 46 yards for a touchdown as Rocky River extended its lead to 28-0.

Who stood out for Rocky River

Lowry: The first team All-Ohio quarterback from 2013 had 298 yards of total offense, threw two touchdowns and rushed for one.

Jones: He intercepted the game’s first pass, and had a 67-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter to give his team a 35-0 lead. Jones had three catches for 100 yards, and three rushes for 13 yards.

Travis Smith: The senior running back had 13 carries for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Smith had an ankle injury early in camp and did not practice until earlier in the week.

Who stood out for Fairview

McNamara: Despite the interceptions, he completed 16 of 30 passes and threw two touchdowns. McNamara missed the final five games of last season due to injury.

Kevin Shugrue: The senior receiver had a game-high five catches for 63 yards. Four of his catches went for first downs.

Dan Kilrain: He had two catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Rocky River sound bites

Adams: “Eric Tuokkola and the defensive staff, Mark Hogya, they just did a fantastic job having the kids step up. From what we did last year to this year, I can’t say enough about the coaching staff. And the kids came ready to play today.”

Lowry: “After we lost to them last year, we’ve been waiting 365 days for them. Turning it over the first play of the game, it really gave us momentum for the whole game.”

Fairview sound bites

Coach Tom Narducci: “Turnovers are going to kill you in any game. But against a good team, they become even more and more paramount, more devastating. It’s something that we’ve obviously got to take a look at, work at and try to minimize.”

Other key stats

50 — Yards receiving by Rocky River’s Patrick Connors, who was a first team All-Ohio receiver.

15 — Plays of 10 or more yards by Rocky River’s offense.

6 — Receivers Lowry completed a pass to in the first half.

What’s next

Rocky River (1-0) will play at Wellington on Friday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.

Fairview (0-1) will be on the road against Vermilion on Friday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.

(Source: Plain Dealer)

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