Blue Devils dominate second half in win over Richmond Heights

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Independence Football

Brian Vollman’s second half pick-six highlighted Independence’s dominant second half in a 36-16 win at Richmond Heights on Friday.

The Blue Devils scored 20 unanswered points in the final 24 minutes to improve to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.

“It was a fight,” said Independence coach Rick Adams. “The offense got it going in the second half and Brian Vollman returned an interception for a touchdown. The defense stepped up in the second half and shut them down.”

Jake Mitrisin set up Independence’s first touchdown when he picked off a pass and returned it to the Richmond Heights one-yard line. The Blue Devils punched it in and added a two-point conversion.

The Spartans responded with a long touchdown run and tied it with a two-point conversion. Independence then went up 16-8 but again the Spartans answered to leave the game tied at 16-16 heading into the locker room.

Vollman’s interception set the tone for the second half.

“We practiced all week on our drops and coverages and I read the QB and got into the right drop,” Vollman said. “Next thing I know, I’m running down the field with great blocks in front of me and then reached on the one-yard line and scored the touchdown. It was a big play, not only for my confidence but for the team’s confidence. I felt after the touchdown, we played the best defense of the game and stopped them from driving down the field.”

Robert Artrip led the Blue Devils with 112 rushing yards on 29 carries.

“He really set the tone for us grinding it out,” Adams said. “It was a really slick surface. We lost our footing on a lot of cuts. We had two fumbles inside their 20-yard line too. We just didn’t put the ball away.”

Jack Brocco hauled in three passes for 28 yards and Braden Sears and Adam Micklovic sparked the defense in the second half with several tackles for loss.

“That was huge,” Adams said of the second half shutout. “That’s the third week in a row, against Berkshire we were down at halftime; Cardinal was close at halftime and we pulled away and today we were tied and pulled away. Give the kids credit, they did a really good job of setting the tone and getting it done.”

Independence hosts Kirtland in Week 9 while Richmond Heights travels to Cardinal.

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.