BAY VILLAGE, OHIO – Many wondered how the Bay Rockets would respond after a disappointing 38-7 loss in week two against Buckeye, as they played host to the rival Elyria Catholic Panthers Friday night.
While Mother Nature stopped the game at halftime, the Rockets answered the call with a opportunistic defense that picked off four passes, two for touchdowns, taking a 26-8 lead after 30 minutes.
The game will resume at 2pm on Saturday after the officials determined that the lightening in the area was too dangerous to continue.
Bay fell behind 8-0 after the Panthers went on a solid seven play drive that covered 90 yards. Running back Chris Jackson punched the ball in from the one to take the early lead.
Jackson, who amassed 118 yards rushing on 18 first half carries, also rushed in the two-point conversion making it 8-0.
The Rockets offense got a boost from the special teams, as Hudson Cisneros took the kickoff back 57 yards to the Panthers 33 after the score.
Bay scored to tie the game on fourth down from the 16, as Ben Anderson hauled in a pass from Logan LaMere to make it an 8-6 game.
The PAT was blocked, but the Rockets would not trail very long.
The Panthers ensuing drive saw them take the ball to the Rockets 24, but Bay’s defense stepped up to force a fourth down.
Anderson stepped in front of a pass from Panthers QB Steven Navalinky, and raced down the sideline, going 97 yards to make it a 12-8 Bay lead after a failed two-point conversion.
Elyria Catholic continued to dominate in the stat department, but yet another turnover stopped a drive and extended the Bay lead in the second quarter.
The Panthers offense led by Navalinky faced a third-and-13 from their own 14, and this time it was Cullen Gergye picking off a pass, and he took it 34 yards for a score down the sideline to make it 19-8.
The following drive saw again Elyria Catholic drive downfield, only to have yet another interception stop a potential scoring drive.
Navalinky attempted a pass from the Rockets nine, but again it was Gergye stepping in to make the interception to stop the drive.
The two teams traded possessions as the half wound down, and the Rockets went on one last drive to push their lead out to 18 points.
Starting from their own 34, they went 66 yards in six plays in just 42 seconds to take a 26-8 lead at the half.
The big plays in the drive was a LaMere 34-yard pass to Gergye to put the ball at the Panthers one-yard line. LaMere pushed his way into the end zone on the last play of the half to push the Bay lead to 18 points.
The Rockets were held on offense to just 88 yards, holding the ball for just 5:33 in the first 30 minutes of play.
Elyria Catholic put up 259 yards of offense, holding the ball for 19:35, but committed seven penalties for 74 yards, and were crushed by the four Navalinky interceptions.
The Rockets will get the ball to start the second half Saturday when the game continues. If they can hang on to the lead they will move to 2-1 on the year, looking to hand the Panthers their first loss of 2019.
Check Out Some of the Photos Below from the Action Between Elyria Catholic and Bay!