MINT HILL, NC – The Independence Patriots football team continues to roll with another huge conference victory against a local rival with a crushing 52-7 pounding of Rocky River on Friday night under the lights.
The first quarter of this football game was very competitive with Indy taking a 7-0 early lead on their first possession, but not after Rocky River took the initial kick-off by Antwione Norris to start a drive in good field position. The Ravens set-up on their own 35 yard line picked up 3 first downs to only have the drive stall on the Indy 38 eating up the clock with 8:45 remaining in the first quarter. However, in Indy’s first possession from their own 29 yard line after a good punt return by Tyree Glenn, the Ravens committed a personal foul that gave the Patriots a 1st down on the 48. A pass reception to Brian Crowder for short yardage, then a completion to Jaylen Springs to the 30 of the Ravens, followed by a QB keeper by Justin Little to the 20 for a Patriot first down. A quick pass to Springs to the 10 yard line, Little on the next play fakes a handoff and dashes through a gapping hole for the score. The PAT was good and Indy had their initial lead with 4:19 on the scoreboard clock.
Rocky River takes the kickoff starting from their own 22, but the drive stalls again with the defense forcing a punt. Indy begins a drive on their own 32, after the Ravens sacked Little, on the next play he connected with Austin Cowick to the 45 yard line of Rocky River, Sincere McIntyre picked up 5 yards from scrimmage as the first quarter ended.
In the second quarter the drive continued from the 40 yard line, but stalled, Indy was forced to punt after a second Raven QB sack. But a mishandled snap by the Indy punter turned the ball over to the Ravens on the Indy 48. The home team drove the ball down to the 1 yard line for a first down with some nifty running by Norris and Aden Anderson. But a high snap recovered by the Ravens on the 26 put them in a tough situation on second down an goal. Indy would hold and the momentum changed dramatically in Indy’s favor.
From their own 26 they would put together a 74 yard drive with Little scoring on another QB keeper from the Ravens 10 yard line. The drive consisted of a pass play for 16 yards to Brian Crowder, a screen pass on the drive to McIntyre for a 24 yard gain before Little scored. Now with 4:24 remaining in the half Indy took a 14-0 lead.
On the Patriots next possession which started from the Indy 49, a pass reception to Austin Cowick to the 30 for 19 yards, Sincere McIntyre rumbles to the 12 yard line, another pass to Crowder to the 5, and with 1:29 remaining McIntyre would dash into the end zone for six, the PAT was good and Indy extended their lead to 21-0.
Norris took the ensuing kick-off on the 10 yard line and scampered out to the 31 where the Ravens had a first down. But QB Xavier Walker thought he had an open receiver, he did not see Indy LB Keegan Queeglay who stepped in front of the intended receiver and returned the football to the Ravens 29. The Rocky River defense made a stand when Joe Moraglia got behind the defender in the end zone but the ball from Little was just off its mark the Patriots settled for a field goal. The Pats kicker Charlie Gottlieb drilled a 40 yard field goal that sailed high through the uprights with plenty of distance. Indy now had a comfortable 24-0 advantage.
After the Senior Night festivities at the Rock, the second half kick-off by McIntyre who was fighting for extra yardage was stripped of the football giving the Ravens fantastic field position with a first down on the Indy 15 yard line. Rocky River RB Jaylan Byrd who had an excellent football game for the Ravens running hard burst into the open to the 1 for a 14 yard gain. On the next play he banged into the end zone with authority to put the Ravens on the scoreboard. The PAT was good, the Ravens had hopes of a second half comeback with the score now 24-7 just 30 seconds into the 3rd quarter.
Indy’s Joseph Reddish took the kickoff from his own 12 yard line out to the Ravens 49 giving the Patriots excellent field position. Shaun Solomon rumbled for 5 yards, DE Trevion Graham put a big hit on Solomon who held on to the football, Indy connected on a screen pass to the 31 yard line, on the next play Solomon the power running back avoided a tackler and burst into the open field for a 31 yard touchdown giving Indy a 31-7 lead. This play broke the back of the Ravens as Indy now had a 4 score advantage. The Pats answered back and responded convincingly.
Indy added 3 more touchdowns as they dominated the 4th quarter. Joe Moraglia caught a 16 yard touchdown to make the score 38-7, then sophomore RB Landan Carr took over in the backfield for Solomon and McIntyre. The youngster rumbled for two more touchdowns, first on a 56 yard mad dash to daylight, then on a 15 yard score with 4:15 remaining in the football game putting the Patriots up 52-14. Carr accumulated 118 yards in the game primarily in the 4th quarter.
Indy’s big and strong offensive line just was relentless winning the battle in the trenches punishing the smaller sized Ravens defensive line. They where simply worn down in the 4th quarter. The Indy potent offensive team was good as expected, the Patriots are now 8-1 overall, and 4-1 in their conference.
The Patriots will play their arch rival the 8-1 Butler Bulldogs next Friday night at home. Come on out and buckle up for what should be an outstanding football game.