"The Return of the GameDay MVP!"
Tonight it was host to on of the Division 3 Region 9 semi-final games of the 2007 playoffs between Lake Catholic and Rocky River.Lakewood Stadium, normally home to the Lakewood Rangers and occasionally St. Edward. Talking with head coach Mike Bell, Randy Greenwood and Chad Hounshell before the opening kick-off I could sense the conviction to winning. These men were "confident" tonight, not cocky. You knew you were about to see something special tonight and we truly did.
Essentially a home game for the Pirates the crowd was out in force for Rocky River early, but the east-siders closed the gap and by the end of the first quarter the place was packed nearly to capacity.
Cool and calm to start out, the game got underway and Lake Catholic scored first with a touchdown run by Pat Sweigert, who soon followed up with the second score of the game to push the Cougars out to a 14-0 lead. Rocky River did get on the board to make it 14-7 through the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Pirates scored again, but Lake blocked the ensuing point after try and the score at halftime was 14-13 in favor of Lake Catholic. As the second half got under way, you could see Cougar head coach Mike Bell's game plan go to work.Junior running back Randy Greenwood would be the major weapon from here on out. Running with fluid movement and power like a young Marcus Allen, playing defensive back and punting, the kid was nails! A drive down deep into Pirate territory saw Greenwood explode on defenders breaking 3 tackles to score from 6 yards out. Being right on the sidelines and "hearing" the collision made me long to return to the gridiron. The sound only a player could appreciate fully! These Cougars found themselves leading the game 21-13 in the third quarter when the Pirates of Rocky River put together a couple good drives and forged ahead to lead 25-21. The latter drive was made possible by a fumbled punt return by Lake Catholic, however two failed two-point conversions left Rocky River only ahead by 4 points.
Late fourth quarter, here comes the wind and a chilling rain. That didn't put a chill on Lake's attack who put the ball in the hands of the kid with "No Quit", Randy Greenwood and with just over 3 minutes to go, Greenwood scored from 14 yards out after it seemed he'd be tackled for a loss of a yard. Now the Cougars were back on top 28-25 as the rain picked up as did the wind. The Pirates drove deep into Lake territory, but an attempted pass into the endzone was picked off by Lake Catholic's Matt Lender with just over a minute to go securing the win and sending the Cougars into next weeks regional final against Cortland Lakeview who upset top seed Walsh Jesuit earlier in the evening.
Enjoy this night because next week it doesn't get easier, it never does in the playoffs. Practice hard, listen to your coaches and play your hearts out next week once again. We'll be there watching you. Good luck.