PARMA, Ohio -- For the host Normandy Invaders, Thursday's Great Lakes Conference match-up was a case of Byers beware. Normandy was hosting a Rocky River gridiron squad fresh off a disappointing 34-0 home loss to Holy Name (Sept. 18). And a resolute Raider crew from River is what the Invaders had to tangle with all night in an eventual 40-0 Pirate rout at Byers Field.
Rocky River (2-1, 2-1 GLC) bounced back from being blanked at home for the first time since 2011 by scoring in all four quarters of Thursday's victory. The Pirates clocked their most points in a single game since Sept. 27 (42-12 home win over Normandy), and on defense a stout River 11 pitched its first shutout since Sept. 8, 2017 (35-0 vs. Collinwood).
The tone was set on the first play from scrimmage when senior linebacker Sam Fuchs intercepted a pass over the middle. Rocky River's fourth pick of the season set up a Pirate offense looking to bolt free from the frustrations of a loss last week that saw the team move the chains just four times. River flipped that script and on Thursday night moved bodies out of the way, moved chains, and -- most importantly -- moved digits on the scoreboard. Sophomore running back John Bebie took a handoff on the second play from scrimmage and rambled 37 yards to the Invader 3-yard line. Bebie would punch it in from there, getting the Pirates on the board.
Rocky River scored once more in the first quarter when junior quarterback Braedon Spies found paydirt on a 2-yard keeper at the 37-second mark. The Sons of Blackbeard extended their lead to 20-0 (after a missed point after) when Spies found Fuchs on an 18-yard touchdown pass before halftime.
The River advantage was pushed to 33-0 with third-quarter TDs by David Rosenberg (6-yard run) and Charlie Hudson (24-yard reception on a Spies pass). Key plays by Bebie, Spies and Patrick Lange helped set up the scores.
The fourth-quarter was a running-clock conclusion to the game, with a healthy dose of John Bebie runs to keep the Pirate momentum. River's final touchdown was a 9-yard Bebie bolt into the end zone.
With his two TD passes Thursday, Spies has now thrown six scores against the Invaders over the last two seasons.
Rocky River is now 6-0 against Normandy since the two schools became GLC foes in 2015. The game at Byers Field marked the Pirates' 2020 road debut; dating to last season, the Maroon & White are now 4-2 over their last six games away from Rocky River Stadium.
by Skip Snow
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