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    Independence runs to first win at Brooklyn

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    Independence used a dominant running game to snap a six-game skid by defeating host Brooklyn on Friday, 35-0.

    The Blue Devils battled through injuries that tested their depth and mettle throughout the first six weeks of the season but never quit and were rewarded with their first win of the season.

    “I’m happy for the team and happy for the kids that they’ve never given up,” said Independence coach Rick Adams of the first win of the season. “At this point in the season when things aren’t going your way, it’s very easy to just cash it in and start looking toward winter sports, but the guys have played hard and I’m really happy for them.”

    The Blue Devils led 13-0 at halftime, but they missed a few chances to tack on to their score.

    “We missed a few opportunities there,” Adams said. “We had a couple of turnovers, but we settled in during the second half. The defense played really well the whole game. There was one drive where we had two 15-yard penalties we gave them, but we held strong in the red zone and kept them out of the end zone. The defense stepped up when it had to.”

    Independence cleaned up its mistakes in the second half and rode its ground game the rest of the way.

    “We were actually able to run the ball, which we have not been able to do this year,” Adams said. “When you can establish a running game and hit the holes and make some cuts and get first downs, that really helps establish everything else. We weren’t having to solely rely on the passing game.”

    Jack Korinek ran for 101 yards and a 34-yard touchdown to spark the Blue Devils.

    “After a hard first half of a season with tough teams and tons of injuries it feels good to get that win,” Korinek said. “We’ve had tough adversity the whole season and we still come back to work hard every week. It was finally nice to see that work pay off. We’ve got great leaders on our team keeping everyone’s heads high and ultimately keeping everyone motivated to do good and to keep chopping.”

    Korinek’s touchdown run came on fourth down when he was lined up to punt. The Brooklyn defense didn’t adjust to Korinek’s rugby-style punt, and he saw an opening and took it.

    “We don’t have the biggest linemen, but they give it everything on every play,” Korinek said. “Their effort let us get big plays on the ground and move the ball down the field very well.”

    The Blue Devils finished with 187 rushing yards but ran for 202 before the JV offense took over.

    Dom Narduzzi ran for 50 yards and two scores, and he also completed 7-of-16 passes with touchdown passes to Sam Crooks and Jose Caban.

    Narduzzi missed the first several games of the season with an injury.

    “He’s getting better, and he actually ran the ball really well for us,” Adams said of his quarterback. “He kept the chains moving on a few third and shorts and a couple of fourth down and shorts. He made some good throws and hit freshman Jose Caban for the first touchdown of his career in the third quarter.”

    Independence’s starting Z-receiver, Tyler Miller, is out with an injury. That gave Caban an opportunity and he made the most of it.

    “It’s next man up and he’s really worked hard in practice and on the scout team,” Adams said of Caban. “He was deserving of getting some time out there and he really stepped up for us.”

    Narduzzi also has been working hard to get Crooks more involved in the passing game, especially with Cy Jolliffe sidelined with an injury.

    Narduzzi and Crooks connected on three passes, including a jailbreak screen that went for a 35-yard touchdown.

    “Tommy Erdman had a tremendous block on that screen,” Adams said. “It went for about 35 yards and that was all due to Tommy’s block on the edge that set Sam free.”

    Jamie Panichi added a 22-yard field goal in the win.

    Independence heads to Wickliffe on Friday to play the 2-5 Blue Devils.

     

    Steve Hare
    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    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.
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