Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Blue Devils blank Skippers

Don’t look now but the young Independence football team is jelling.

After Friday’s 49-0 Homecoming win over Fairport Harding the Blue Devils have won two straight and improved to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in Chagrin Valley Conference play.

“It was great,” said Independence coach Rick Adams. “The kids really came together this week.”

The week wasn’t without challenges.

Starting left tackle Adam Kuczmarski was out with an illness. Sophomore Griffen Starling stepped in and locked down the left side.

“We had a little adversity again,” Adams said. “We had a lineman that was sick that didn’t start so we had to put in another young linemen in there and he did a really good job for us. I was really happy to see that.”

Independence’s defense did much of the work leaving the offense with short fields to work with and even scored two touchdowns on Owen Ramm’s fourth quarter fumble recovery in the end zone and Stephen Molchan’s 3-yard scoop and score in the second quarter.

Offensively, Kyle Stefanski completed 11 of 14 passes for 186 yards in his second start. Jack Giganti led the rushing attack with five carries for 35 yards and Molchan added 30 yards on five rushes.

“It was a little bit of everything,” Adams said. “Our defense put us in a lot of good positions. We had some turnovers that we capitalized on. Kyle Stefanski, it was his second start. Kyle has grown at quarterback. Everybody contributed. Defensively, we had a couple fumble recoveries and Kyle had an interception on the first series. We got the ball on offense a couple of times with short field position. We had a lot of people contributing. It was a fun night.”

Evan Collins booted a 29-yard field goal to open the scoring and Mason Crist and Molchan ran for touchdowns to give the Blue Devils a 16-0 lead after the first quarter.

Kevin Clymer ran for a 29-yard score in the second quarter to go along with Molchan’s scoop and score and his 17-yard run.

Independence led, 36-0 at halftime.

Jason Bianco caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from backup QB Jordan Mallernee in the fourth quarter.

Independence crowned Olivia Jones and Nolan Fields as Homecoming Queen and King.

The Blue Devils travel to Kirtland on Friday.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. 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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