High School Sports

Unbeaten Vance shuts down Rocky River, rolls to huge win

Rocky River’s Jaylon Sharpe (9) fights off two blocks and makes the tackle on Vance’s Jaliek Cooper (right) in Friday’s game.
Rocky River’s Jaylon Sharpe (9) fights off two blocks and makes the tackle on Vance’s Jaliek Cooper (right) in Friday’s game. Special to the Observer

Known in past seasons for a fast, big-play offense, the Vance Cougars are getting it done with defense so far this season.

The Cougars’ 51-0 rout of Rocky River at home on Friday night was a good example. A safety 30 seconds into the game gave Vance all the points it would need in this matchup of unbeaten teams.

But the Cougars’ defense gave the offense “short field” drives throughout the game and scored the team’s first touchdown itself as Vance rolled to a 37-0 halftime lead.

The visiting Ravens were never able to get into the game, struggling to 25 yards total offense in the first half and 41 total for the game. Rocky River’s first first down of the game came on the last play of the first half.

“Our defense has been solid in all three games so far, and I think we’re starting to turn the corner and take advantage of what the defense can give us,” Vance coach Aaron Brand said.

Records: Rocky River 1-1; Vance 3-0.

Three who mattered

Nigel Summerville, Vance: Not a big statistical passing night for the senior quarterback, with 150 yards through the air. But he was efficient (13 completions in 18 attempts) and productive, passing for two scores and running for another.

Nyiel Clark, Vance: Senior wide receiver was Summerville’s favorite target, with five receptions for 80 yards and a pair of touchdown receptions of 21 and 23 yards that broke the game open.

Stefon Thompson, Vance: Junior linebacker, who has an offer from Colorado State, scored Cougars’ first touchdown on a 45-yard interception in the first quarter. It gave Vance some momentum while the offense was still getting warmed up.

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Rocky River’s Jaylon Sharpe (9) makes an open-field tackle on Nigel Summerville (left) during the first quarter of Friday’s game at Vance. Jonathan Aguallo Special to the Observer

Worth Mentioning

▪  Andre White, Joseph Morris and Jahlik Cooper each added a rushing touchdown for Vance.

▪  The fourth quarter and all but a minute and 15 seconds of the third quarter were played with a running clock.

▪  Summerville’s passing night for Vance included a string of 11 straight completions. “We want him to finish stronger,” Brand said. “But that showed what he can do. We don’t want him frantic and scrambling around. We want him to be able to stay in the pocket so he can make some throws,” Brand said.

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Vance coach Aaron Brand readies for Friday’s kickoff against Rocky River. Jonathan Aguallo Special to the Observer

They said it

“We really feel like our linebackers are as good as anybody’s in the state. They made some big plays that really got us going tonight.” — Brand

What's next

Rocky River hosts North Meck at 7 on Friday; Vance has a bye week.