Mroczynski leads Independence to win over Richmond Heights

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Independence Football

Independence’s Nick Mroczynski rumbled for 245 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead the Blue Devils to a 50-20 win over visiting Richmond Heights on Friday.

Mroczynski’s two fourth quarter scores helped seal the victory.

“It was a lot closer than what the scoreboard showed,” said Independence coach Rick Adams. “We just couldn’t pull away. They played well. Richmond Heights played hard and we just couldn’t get away from them.”

Mroczynski’s first score, a 2-yarder, came in the second quarter with Independence leading 14-0 on two touchdown passes from Kyle Stefanski to Trevor Thompson but the Spartans scored on a 44-yard pass to pull to within 22-6 at halftime.

Stefanski added a 1-yard scoring run in the third quarter but again the Spartans responded with a 1-yard touchdown run of their own to cut Independence’s lead to 29-12.

Back-to-back touchdown runs by Mroczynski gave the Blue Devils the cushion they needed to hold off the Spartans. He added a 44-yard touchdown run later in the fourth to close out the scoring.

“The offensive line did a great job today considering we were missing our center and left tackle,” Mroczynski said. “Kyle threw the ball great and our receivers caught the ball. We just moved the ball down the field and put points on the board.”

Stefanski played quarterback for the first time since injuring his thumb in a 35-7 loss at Kirtland on Sept. 29.

He completed 14 of 21 passes for 149 and two scores.

“Kyle played the first three quarters at quarterback and Nick came in for the fourth,” Adams said. “Kyle battled all game and did a good job there.”

Thompson caught seven passes for 73 yards, including the two first quarter scores.

Despite scoring 50 points, the Blue Devils had their issues with the Spartans.

“Our running game was going but there were three times we had fourth down and didn’t get a first down and we turned it over three times,” Adams said. “That’s six possessions where we handed it over to Richmond Heights. Give them credit, they did a good job of stopping us, but we did what we had to do in the end.”

With the win, Independence improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.

The Blue Devils take their two-game winning streak to Berkshire next Friday then close out the regular season against rival Cuyahoga Heights at home on Oct. 27.

“Right now, we’re doing all we can to get in the playoffs,” Mroczynski said.

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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.