What a Run: Rocket Rewind 2014

Danny Heideloff, Matt Beniard, Nick Best and Dan Hoke with The Jug.

Danny Heideloff, Matt Beniard, Nick Best and Dan Hoke with The Jug.

What a run by the Bay High football team this season!

The Rockets ended the year last Friday at frigid Byers Field in Parma where they dropped a Div. IV regional championship decision to Benedictine, 35-7.

But what a season it was! Bay advanced to the state Elite Eight for the first time ever, made the playoffs for the first time since 1993 and posted an 8-win season.

Not bad for a team coming off an 1-8 campaign the year before and under a new head coach in Ron Rutt.

This Bay team could play with anyone in a conference that showed its muscle in 2014. Four teams from the West Shore Conference (Midview, Avon, Bay and Rocky River) made the playoffs this fall with two teams (Bay and Midview) advancing to regional finals.

“It was definitely a fun season,” said coach Ron Rutt. “Where we came from as a 1-9 team the year before and where we got to is most impressive to me.

“I have to credit our senior leadership and our captains for working hard. They changed the culture of our program.”

Coach Rutt with this year’s unforgettable class of senior standouts.

Coach Rutt with this year’s unforgettable class of senior standouts.

The wake-up call for area fans came in September when Bay hosted Westlake in the last-ever battle for the Little Brown Jug. Bay made an incredible comeback after a Friday night rain delay to shock the Demons with a last second TD pass from John Koz to Rex Sunahara on Saturday morning.

Bay’s 35-33 win set the tone as Bay became a no-quit team that refused to accept defeat and came from behind to also beat Lakewood, Rocky River. Crestview and Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin en route to an 8 win season.

“The Brookside win was big, but when we came back to beat Westlake in the last-ever, for now, Little Brown Jug game, that gave us the knowledge that we can play with good Div. II schools,” said Rutt.

Other highlights: Nick Best set a single game school rushing record with 376 yards against Rocky River. He also set a scoring record with his 119th point in the playoff win over NDCL.

“I was proud of the way this team went about its business,” said Rutt. “We really didn’t have a weak spot. We had a solid all-around team with a lot of guys going both ways.”

Next year, Bay, Elyria Catholic and Rocky River will form a new conference with the Parma schools (Parma, Holy Name, Normandy and Valley Forge) named the Great Lakes Conference. It should be a great opportunity for returning quarterback John Koz, Best and the entire program to set their sights high and continue the tradition of winning set by this year’s senior class.

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