Updated: Aug 23
Rootstown, OH- It was an opening night matchup at Robert C. Dunn Field in Rootstown between the defending Chagrin Valley Conference Champion Crestwood Red Devils and host Rootstown Rovers. The two teams matched up last season with Crestwood taking home the week one win 28-7.
Both teams boasted new starting quarterbacks this season with the graduation of senior quarterbacks Brandan Nicholas (Rootstown) and Evan Daniels (Crestwood).
Rootstown took the opening drive 65 yards as junior RB Cody Coontz took it in from 1 yard out for the first score of the game. The touchdown plunge was setup by a Coontz 23-yard run. The PAT was converted giving the Rovers a 7-0 lead.
After a Crestwood 3 and out the Rovers struck again on the 2nd play of their drive as Coontz hit pay dirt from 69 yards out giving Rootstown a 13-0 lead after the PAT was blocked.
Crestwood took over with 6:30 to go in the first quarter and was able to convert their first 1st down of the game on a Charlie Sommer 13-yard completion to Nate Blasiole. But the drive stalled as Rootstown forced another Red Devil punt.
The Rovers first drive of the 2nd quarter started at the 50-yard line. They proceeded to go 8 plays with two holding plays mixed in before Coontz once again found the end zone this time from 10 yards out for his third touchdown of the half! He also converted the 2-point conversion making it 21-0 Rovers.
Yet another Red Devil drive stalled as QB Charlie Sommer could not connect on a 4th & 5 pass that fell incomplete. Their defense would step up on the next Rootstown possession. After moving the ball 33 yards Rover QB Luke DeAngelis unloaded a deep ball going for touchdown number four of the half but it was intercepted by Crestwood DB Noah Baker in the end zone for a touchback.
The Red Devil offense then gained some momentum as Sommer connected on a nice pass over the middle to Tommy Georger for a 30-yard gain. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Rovers, Rootstown DE Drew Nero sacked Sommer for an 8-yard loss. The Rover defense then stuffed Blasiole for a 1-yard loss before LB Brian Youngblood intercepted a Sommer pass at the 29-yard line. With only 19 seconds left in the half a hand-off to Cody Coontz went for 71 yards and his 4th touchdown of the first half! The PAT was missed making the Rover lead 27-0 heading into the half. Coontz accumulated 283 yards on the ground in the first half to go with those 4 touchdowns.
The second half was more impressive defensive play by the Rootstown Rovers defense. They accounted for the only points of the second half when Rover LB Tristan McKibben picked off a Sommer pass in the 3rd quarter and took it back 47 yards for a Rootstown touchdown making it 33-0 which ended up being the final score of the game.
Rovers RB Cody Coontz was spectacular in this contest carrying the ball 21 times for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns. Defensive end Drew Nero was disruptive picking up a sack and batting down a few Charlie Sommer passes. It was an all around solid opening week win for Rootstown.
After the game I had a chance to talk with Rootstown head coach Chris Knopick.
The Rovers travel to Champion to take on the Flashes next Friday while Crestwood welcomes in Minerva for their home opener.
Thank you to our high school sports sponsor Daystar Ford in Garrettsville!