The Bay High School football team is set to make its third consecutive playoff appearance when the eighth-seeded Rockets travel to Toledo Central Catholic on Saturday night for a Division III, Region 10 quarterfinal matchup with the top-seeded and undefeated Fighting Irish.
Playing in November seemed somewhat of a longshot after the Rockets began the season with a 1-3 record, but fully embracing the wolf-like mentally adopted at the season’s outset, they rallied off six straight wins to earn a postseason berth and a share of the Great Lakes Conference championship.
“A wolf does not care if it is hungry, cold or tired,” third-year head coach Ron Rutt said, elaborating on the program’s motto. “A wolf continues to do what it must for its survival and the good of the pack. It is a mindset that we are not going to let our circumstances control our attitude or work ethic.”
That mental approach aided the turnaround, which saw the Rockets surrender only 22 points and record four shutouts during the winning streak.
“Our guys kept fighting and doing what they needed to do to get better,” Rutt said.
Tailbacks Sean Chambers and Trey Psota, along with offensive linemen Maxton Edgerly, John Reid and Carter White, have combined to produce a record-setting rushing attack that has surpassed 3,000 yards on the ground.
Rutt recently discussed his team and its season thus far with WKYC. Read the Q&A below to learn more about the Rockets heading into the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs.
WKYC: What is your team’s motto this season? What is its significance?
Rutt: As a program, we go by the motto, "The Wolfpack," because we work as a team, and every member of the program has a role and responsibilities for the success of the pack or team.
WKYC: What are three adjectives that describe your team and/or its play this season?
Rutt: Relentless, powerful, cohesive.
WKYC: Who are your team's leaders? What does each bring to the team?
Rutt: Jimmy Hoke, a three-year starter and contributor on both sides of the ball, has become the emotional leader of our team. Jimmy is a hard-hitting, passionate football player who has developed into a vocal leader as the season has gone along. Also, Maxton Edgerly, John Reid and Carter White, three members of our offensive line, which goes by the acronym BVOL (Bay Village Offensive Line). Those seniors lead by example and with hard work, and they are respected by all of their teammates.
WKYC: Who has been your team's unsung hero this season?
Rutt: Connor Shell. It is not often that a team's quarterback is its unsung hero, but as a sophomore starting quarterback on a power-run football team, Connor does not get a lot of credit. He has done an excellent job of running the offense, handling the ball and making timely passes.
WKYC: What must happen for your team to be able to make a deep playoff run?
Rutt: We must win the battle in the trenches. Our line is the strength of the team on both sides of the ball.
For more Northeast Ohio high school sports news, scores, photos and videos, visit WKYC.com/hss.