INDEPENDENCE–The Independence Blue Devils used a balanced rushing and passing attack to their advantage, rolling to a 40-6 victory over the visiting Wickliffe Blue Devils on Friday.
Playing with a purpose on both sides of the ball, Independence capitalized on mishaps from Wickliffe to get ahead early in the game and never looked back.
“Offensively, we scored quick, and defensively, we came up with some big plays when we needed to,” said Independence coach Rick Adams.
The scoring started on a snap that sailed over the Wickliffe punter and into the end zone, which resulted in a safety and a 2-0 lead with 8:36 left in the first quarter.
Independence kept the momentum on its side after Michael Tommer connected on a 33-yard pass to Kyle Zygmunt, who then took the handoff on the next play and finished in the end zone that increased the Blue Devil lead to 9-0.
“Wickliffe rolled us last season on every play, and during that whole game last year,” Zygmunt said. “Coach just reminded us of that, and being able to keep the intensity all week and we just came out here and executed.”
Independence maintained the momentum throughout the first quarter, which concluded with Rory Corrigan’s rushing touchdown that pushed the lead to 16-0.
“We can’t throw it or run it if the offensive line isn’t able to block,” Adams said. “The line did a great job of blocking for Rory tonight.”
Tommer and Zygmunt connected on a 37-yard catch-and-run touchdown, and after a Casey McGhee field goal, the score was 26-0 heading into the locker room.
After shedding a couple of tackles, Zygmunt would not be stopped on a 35-yard touchdown for his third and final touchdown of the night and Corrigan added a two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to close out the Independence scoring.
Wickliffe avoided the shutout thanks to E.J. Mester’s fourth-quarter touchdown run.
Independence improved to 7-1 and will host Lutheran West on Friday in a battle for first place in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division. Wickliffe dropped to 1-6 and will host Trinity next week.