Independence used big plays on both sides of the ball to knock off visiting Warrensville Heights, 36-6, in a non-conference game on Friday.
The Blue Devils scored touchdowns on their first two offensive possessions then went quiet until the second half when they finished off the Tigers.
“We came out strong,” said Independence coach Rick Adams. “We had two scores right away but then Warrensville adjusted and they started bringing a lot of pressure, so that took away some of our longer pass opportunities but we still ran the ball. We had a couple of miscues in the second quarter but our defense played really well and kept them out of the end zone.”
Michael Tommer, who completed 8-of-13 passes for 122 yards, threw a 24-yard strike to Kyle Zygmunt to open the scoring.
“It felt great to get on the board first,” said Zygmunt, who saved his most explosive play for the fourth quarter. “Michael threw a great ball over both defenders and I made a simple catch.”
Rory Corrigan, who ran for 69 yards on 11 carries, pushed the Independence lead to 15-0 with his short touchdown run in the first quarter.
Early in the third, Tommer ran for a 35-yard touchdown and threw a 32-yard screen pass to Corrigan, who rumbled into the end zone for a 29-0 lead.
After the Tigers punched one in, Independence’s offense went back to work but the drive stalled and the Blue Devils faced a fourth-and-2 at their own 30.
Adams opted to try for a first down but the Tigers snuffed out the play and took over possession.
Zygmunt stepped in front of a pass and recorded an interception in the end zone.
“He really bailed me out,” Adams said. “I got greedy. It was fourth-and-2 at our 30-yard line and we didn’t make it, so he bailed me out with an interception in the end zone.”
Adams called for a blitz and Zygmunt carried out his assignment to perfection.
“Coach called a heavy blitz so the corners stayed underneath,” Zygmunt said. “I just stuck to my zone coverage and read the ball the whole way.”
Later in the fourth, Zygmunt bailed out the Blue Devils’ offense, which was pinned back at its own three-yard line.
He carried for 11 yards on first down and then broke an 87-yard touchdown run on the next play to close out the scoring.
“We ran a handoff to the left my first run,” Zygmunt said. “I saw a hole, I just got wrapped up. The second play, same play I knew where to cut when I got the chance. I broke a few tackles and it worked out in our favor.”
Max Tarnowski also recorded an interception for the Blue Devils, who improved to 6-1 on the year. Independence hosts Wickliffe on Friday.