By: Ed Dick
NORTH ROYALTON, OH – Fresh off of a thrilling comeback victory over Twinsburg last Saturday night, the upstart North Royalton Bears (3-2 overall, 1-1 Suburban League National Division) played host to the perennially strong Hudson Explorers (4-1, 2-0). The home fans inside Gibson Field at Serpentini Chevrolet Stadium gathered under a breathtaking sunset on the west side of the stadium, fresh off a rare rainstorm. A strong wind whistled from the north end of the field through the south as the Bears won the toss and deferred to the Explorers.
Both teams exchanged three-and-outs to start the game. Hudson took over on their own 10 yard line. The Explorers wasted no time, as QB Colt Pallay led his team on a five-play, 90 yard drive into the wind ending with a 14 yard TD pass to TE Brandon Lal. Pallay covered all but 8 yards through the air. All-Ohio placekicker had a rare extra point miss, and the Explorers lead 6-0. On the next drive, Hudson DB Anthony Rightnour intercepted an attempted throwaway from Bears QB Joey Marousek, under heavy pressure from the Explorers pass rush. Marousek was also flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty, giving Hudson a short field. Seven plays later, Pallay called his own number, scrambling for a 10 yard TD run and a 13-0 Hudson lead, capping a 36 yard drive that took about two and a half minutes. North Royalton countered with a seven-play drive covering 66 yards and 3 minutes. Marousek spun out of would-be tacklers and found the end zone to cut Hudson’s lead to 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The turning point of the game coincided with the Explorers having the wind at their back in the second quarter. Grant Gonya atoned for his missed PAT by drilling a 47 yard FG to give the Explorers a 16-7 lead. Hudson’s defense forced three straight three-and-outs, limiting the Bears to no yards of total offense and setting up the offense with excellent field position. Pallay used the wind to his advantage, following up each Bears three-and-out with a TD pass. WR Colin Paltani caught one TD, while WR Greg Mailey doubled up with two TD catches, each one covering 33, 45, and 15 yards respectively. Paltani was initially bottled up by the Bears before breaking free and settling inside the pylon. In a span of just seven minutes, Hudson quickly expanded their lead to 37-7 leading into the half and triggering a running clock to start the third quarter.
Due to the big lead, Explorers head coach Jeff Gough decided Pallay and his first-team offense was done for the night. After a quick third quarter, Marousek hit senior WR Adam Barrett for a 19 yard TD, cutting the Bears deficit to 37-14 to start the fourth. Undaunted, Hudson backup QB Liam Brennan found WR Zachary Palmer on 3rd and 4 for a 46 yard TD pass and a 44-14 lead, and the Explores went on to win 44-21. QB Colt Pallay completed 12 of 14 passes for 258 yards and 4 TDs while rushing three times for 22 yards and a TD. WR Greg Mailey caught three passes covering 71 yards with 2 TDs, and RB Kevin Callahan rushed 11 times for 52 yards. North Royalton QB Joey Marousek completed 11 of 23 passed for 160 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He also rushed for a TD. WR Adam Barrett caught 5 passes for 95 yards and a TD and RB Zach Antonio rushed 13 times for 58 yards.
Hudson improves to 5-1 overall, 3-0 in the conference. The Explorers will host Cuyahoga Falls in Week 7. North Royalton drops to 3-3, and 1-2. The Bears will host Wadsworth.
Continue checking out our website for Week 6 scores and recaps. We will recap all of the action live Monday night at 7:30pm from Z’s Cream and Bean in Hinckley! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and youTube using #SOTHSF!
|H – Brandon Lal 10 yards from Colt Pallay (kick failed)|
|H – Pallay 10 yard run (Gonya Kick)|
|NR – Joey Marousek 12 yard run (Osborne Kick)|
|H – Gonya 47 FG|
|H – Colin Paltani 33 yards from Pallay (Gonya Kick)|
|H – Greg Mailey 45 yards from Pallay (Gonya Kick)|
|H – Mailey 15 yards from Pallay (Gonya Kick)|
|NR – Adam Barrett 19 yards from Marousek (Osborne Kick)|
|H – Zachary Palmer 46 yards from Liam Brennan (Osborne Kick)|
|NR – Miles Strnad 13 yards from Marousek (Osborne Kick)|