Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Beachwood rolls past Independence

Beachwood’s offensive and defensive attack proved to be too much for visiting Independence as the Bison dominated in a 41-10 victory on Friday.

The win gives the Bison their third straight victory as they improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division.

“I like how we came out,” Beachwood head coach Damion Creel said. “Our kids, they played hard. We didn’t execute too well if that’s something I can say being up what we were at halftime, but we’re just trying to get our kids to be consistent and do the little things right.”

Junior running back Kendyn Wiggins led the attack with two rushing touchdowns and a fumble recovery on defense. Independence struggled to find a groove on offense and failed to capitalize on key turnovers in the loss as they fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

Wiggins opened up the scoring for the Bison with a 49-yard touchdown run on the third play of the opening drive.

Independence looked to bounce back after the early touchdown, but they were forced into a quick three-and-out after a sack by Beachwood’s Marcus Moore.

After the teams traded punts, Beachwood’s Dawann Gray, Jr. broke free for a 43-yard run setting up a two-yard touchdown run by Desmond Horne making the score 14-0.

The Bison defense forced a fumble on the first play of the ensuing Blue Devils’ drive, recovering at the Independence 22-yard line.

The Bison took advantage of the great starting field position as Wiggins showed his elusiveness and ran it in for his second touchdown of the game, pushing the lead to 21.

The Bison picked up where they left off on defense as Letraize Walker intercepted a deep pass by Michael Tommer on the Blue Devils’ next drive.

“They were getting in our heads a little bit, but we stuck to it,” Wiggins said about his team’s defensive effort. “I feel like the connection, as far as Beachwood, I feel like we (haven’t come) together as a team on the defensive side and I feel like today we came through.”

The Blue Devils’ defense held tough after the interception and forced the Bison into a three-and-out. Beachwood then fumbled the snap on the punt, setting up Independence at the Beachwood five-yard line.

Independence was unable to find the endzone but cut the score to 21-3 after a short field goal by Casey McGhee.

Independence forced another Beachwood fumble on its ensuing possession but was unable to capitalize as they were forced into a punt.

After the stop, Beachwood’s offense found their groove again as Willtrell Hartson shed multiple Blue Devil defenders fighting his way to a 60-yard touchdown run.

A Wiggins fumble recovery and a 33-yard touchdown run by Walker pushed the lead to 35-3 at the half.

“We have to have a laser focus of continuing to play through adversity,” Creel said regarding the increase of defensive penalties in the second half. “We preach it, we talk about it and we just have to continue to grow and continue to learn from the lessons we’re in.”

Independence found the endzone on the first drive of the second half when Tommer found Kyle Zygmunt for the touchdown pass, cutting Beachwood’s lead to 35-10.

The drive was aided by four defensive penalties.

Beachwood closed out the scoring with a fourth-quarter touchdown.

“Just get on the film and keep correcting because there’s always things you can correct and learn from,” Creel said. “We coach the game, we don’t coach the score. There’s a lot of things we can improve on. We have another great opponent next week coming up with Wickliffe. Independence was a great opponent for us as well. So, we have to prepare for a different challenge.”

Beachwood travels to Wickliffe and Independence host Richmond Heights next Friday.

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