North Royalton Stays Undefeated As They Take Down Solon

North Royalton has improved a lot since last season. Just one year ago, Solon scored 62 points against North Royalton in a game at Solon’s Stewart Field and the game was beyond lopsided.

Last night’s game proved that one year can make a difference.

On a personal note, it was the first time I had ever been to North Royalton Serpentini Chevrolet Stadium for a game. As I was walking in, it was easy to tell that a lot of thought had been put into the design of the stadium and it was well laid out. It was easy to move around in, there were restrooms and concessions on both sides of the stadium and they unveiled a garden that was an armed services tribute.

Similar to Solon’s Stewart Field, they were blasting the music as I walked in for warm ups. There were some songs I had not heard in a while and some songs that were not the edited versions playing. It seemed to get the crowd into it as the teams were warming up.

Prior to the game, I had read a lot of hype regarding North Royalton senior quarterback Travis Tarnowski. After North Royalton won the coin toss and asked for the ball first, Solon’s defense got a taste of what Tarnowski is capable of.

Tarnowski from the very start was comfortable in the pocket and connected on several key plays early on. Tarnowski not only could pass but managed to run the ball a few times as well. Tarnowski was in sync with his receivers the entire night and with the help of some key runs by teammate and running back Carl Lint, North Royalton was able to get out to an early 14-6 lead and had the momentum for most of the game.

Solon was a bit short handed with an injury to quarterback Drew Barksdale earlier this week. Barksdale was on the sideline smiling and cheering his teammates on but Solon head coach had to utilize senior George Berry and sophomore Matt Laubscher at quarterback.
McQuaide showed a lot of creativity when using the two and often used wildcat formations on several of the plays. It helped Solon drive the ball down the field at several times during the game and opened up the offense.

Solon did have opportunities in the first half to put some more points on the board with field goals but Keon Hemmerlein missed on two occasions. Even though the playing surface is artificial turf, it did seem wet as I walked onto the field before the game. I am not sure if that had anything to do with the placekicking difficulties  but after the downpour that came through Northeast Ohio just hours before the game, the field did seem pretty wet in some areas and I noticed my hiking boots were wet as well.

After North Royalton went up 17-6 in the third quarter, Solon would get into the endzone courtesy of a 53 yard touchdown pass from Laubscher to Darian Hicks. Hicks was wide open on the play and the touchdown got the Solon stands jumping up and down. The two point conversion afterwards failed to make it a 17-12 game.

Solon would strike again in the same quarter when George Berry would scamper in from 48 yards out to give Solon an 18-17 lead. The two point conversion try would fail afterwards and Solon had the lead for the first time in the game.

With the hope if increasing their lead in the fourth quarter, Solon did get the ball early on and had a great drive going. It all changed with North Royalton safety Nestor Rivera put a thunderous hit on a scrambling Laubscher. From standing on the sideline, you could feel the hit and it forced a fumble that was recovered by North Royalton. Solon lost the ball and Laubscher’s night was over with that one hit. Laubscher was able to walk off the field on his own power but it was apparent he got hurt from the hit.

When Solon’s defense was making big plays, Tarnowski came back with a big play of his own by tossing a 21 yard touchdown pass to Lint. A two point conversion would put North Royalton up 25-18 and they would hold on to that for the victory.

Even though Solon was behind for a good portion of this game, this team refused to quit. The team and the coaching staff constantly played to win and it showed as they kept themselves in the game during the second half. On each play, all eyes on the sideline were watching the field and this Solon was determined to win. Solon didn’t come up with a victory against North Royalton this week but will be playing with that same determination against Normandy next week.

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~ by jeffrsabo on September 15, 2012.

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