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Lake County Sentinel
Wickliffe opens season by pounding Phoenix 56-18 

BY TIM SHIRER
SPORTS EDITOR
The Wickliffe Blue Devils football team with their roster of only 22 players welcomed the much larger roster of the Oberlin Phoenix to Wickliffe Memorial Stadium. In the end the larger roster was not an issue as the Blue Devils pounded the Phoenix 54-18.

The Blue Devils got on the scoreboard quick, just 1:36 into the game when Senior quarterback Evan Rypinski hit junior Chase Fortkamp for a 42-yard touchdown strike. The extra-point attempt by Isaiah Bolon. Wickliffe was just getting started with the 6-0 lead.

Just 3:18 later the duo of Rypinski to Fortkamp struck again, this time from 54 yards and the Blue Devils lead 12-0 after another missed extra point.
Things were quiet for nearly a quarter until 6:54 left in the second quarter and Fortkamp once again was the culprit as he scampered 35 yards for the touchdown. Wickliffe now led 20-0 after the two-point conversion when Rypinski hit Junior Duke Stanczak in the endzone.

Rypinski left the game briefly in the second period when he appeared to injure his left shoulder. He was able to return to the contest.

The Phoenix got on the board with 5:02 left in the second quarter when Oberlin Senior QB Azarie Hairston bolted through the Blue Devils defense to score from 56 yards out. The Phoenix could not convert the two-point conversion and the score remained 20-6.

The first half was riddled with fumbles as the two teams fumbled and turned the ball over a combined eight times, four by each club.

The final score of the first half came when backup QB in for the injured Rypinski ran the ball across the goal line from seven yards to put six points on the board. The Blue Devils converted the two-point attempted when Rypinski returned to the game and hit Bala in the endzone to give Wickliffe a 28-6 with 2:02 left in the first half.

Hairston pulled the Phoenix to within 16 points at 28-12 when he bolted 50 yards just :46 into the second half. Once again, the Phoenix could not convert the extra-point.

The Blue Devils struck back just 1:59 later at the 9:15 mark when Rypinski hit Bala from 21 yards, this time Bolon converted the extra point try giving Wickliffe a 35-12 lead.

Then one of the most improbable moments of the game happened as two way player offensive/defensive lineman Zak Esteves who is called a great athlete by Wickliffe Coach Marce Porcello recovered a Oberlin punt and returned it, holding the ball with two handed the entire 40 yards to the endzone giving the Blue Devils a 41-12 lead after Bolon had his extra-point attempt blocked with 7:30 left in the 3rd quarter.

The route was on as Fortkamp scampered 5 yards to the endzone with 1:57 left in the 3rd quarter after the Bolon extra-point conversion giving the Blue Devils a 48-12 lead.

Wickliffe scored their final touchdown with 5:30 left in the game when Bala trotted in the endzone from 22 yards out. The extra-point was missed again so the score was 54-12.

The Phoenix scored on more TD with 2:56 left on the clock when Mikah Jones-smith ran for a 15-yard score. The Phoenix could not convert the two-point conversion and the score remained 55-18.

The Blue Devils racked up 355 yards offense in the game, 155 through the air, 200 on the ground. Fortkamp accounted for 191 of those yards on 14 rushing attempts for 95 yards and two receptions for 96 yards.

A negative for the Blue Devils could be that their defense allowed only 19 yards less than they had on offense, but Oberlin did run 23 more plays than the Blue Devils.

Rypinski threw for 155 yards and three TD’s on just five completions for a 31-yard average in his starting debut for the Blue Devils.
Next week the Blue Devils will take on the Painesville Harvey Red Raiders at home at 7:00 p.m.
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com or follow Tim on Twitter @IndiansTim Check out our High School Scoreboard
​POSTED 08/30/2019 23:38
Photo by Tim Shirer