CUYAHOGA FALLS — The term "friendly rivals" is no misnomer when it comes to the Cuyahoga Falls and Stow-Munroe Falls bowling teams.
While they may cheer each on, however, both teams made it clear that when the ball starts rolling, this is still Falls-Stow.
The Bulldogs bowled as hot as early January has been cold Friday, sweeping their rivals at Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls. The Stow boys scored a 2,790-2,708 win over the Black Tigers, while the girls team rolled to 2,568-2,111 win.
Both Stow teams improved to 6-0 overall and in the Suburban Leagues, while Falls girls suffered their first loss of the season (5-1) and Falls boys dropped to 4-2.
It was clear both boys teams were psyched up early, as nine of the 10 varsity bowlers broke 200 in their first game. Despite Stow boys coach John Martin being absent due to a national bowling tournament in Las Vegas, the Bulldogs made it clear they wanted this one.
"I just got off the phone with John and he was so pumped up for us," said Stow senior Alex Snowberger. "I say we’re pretty stacked this year and we wanted to this one pretty badly."
Snowberger noted the Bulldogs used last year’s loss to the Black Tigers at Sto-Kent Lanes as motivation.
Falls coach Tim Wiant said there was little he could do but tip his cap to the Bulldogs.
"There’s nothing you can do in situation like that," Wiant said. "I’m lacking that fifth bowler right now. We need to get that locked up."
Wiant noted he would like to see his team duplicate last year’s form, which saw the Black Tigers catch fire in February.
"They’re still molding together," Wiant said. "I counted them out last year and look what happened. They’re a great team."
It was the Bulldog boys who were on fire early, as all five Stow bowlers broke 200 in game one to take a 1,126-1,064 lead, negating a very good first game from Falls. While Stow’s seniors cooled off in game two, big games from freshman Nolan Snowberger and junior Evan Koch led Stow to win game two 1,072-1,013 and take a 120-pin lead into the Baker games at 2,197-2,027.
"I’m so happy for my little brother," Alex Snowberger said. "He and Evan carried us in that second game."
The younger Snowberger brother rolled a 259 in game two to finish with a 474 series, edging Falls’ Justin Moyer (469, 225-244) for top series.
"Once they came out striking so much, it was hard to keep up with them," Moyer said.
All five Stow bowlers finished above the 400 series mark, as Alex Ridings rolled a 467 (246-22), Koch rolled a 441 (204-237), Alex Snowberger rolled a 414 (244-170) and Nick Arlequeeuw rolled a 401 (215-186).
Falls got solid series from Justin Drayer (450, 258-192), Matt Knight (432, 229-203) and Jim Vascoy (396, 203-193). However, as Wiant noted, his No. 5 bowler spot proved the difference, as Mike DeMoss rolled a 148 in game one and Caden Paster rolled a 181 in game two.
"That’s on me," Wiant said.
In the Baker games, Falls looked poised to rally. Falls won game one 225-211 and then put the pressure on by winning game two 232-178, as Stow had to contend with several splits.
With lead reduced to just 52 pins heading the final Baker game, Stow closed the match by winning 204-174 in the last game.
Stow’s boys weren’t the only ones bowling hot Friday, as the Bulldog girls had some standout perfromances.
Stow led 980-910 after one game, but blew the match open by winning game two 1,079-772 to take a 2,059-1,682 lead heading into the Bakers. Stow won the first two Baker games 168-126 and 193-139, before Falls took game three 164-148.
"It’s always going to be our biggest rival," Stow coach Rachael Ritzinger said of Falls. "We really wanted this one. Right now, tournaments our are biggest problem. We’re going to to have to get better."
Senior Hayley Roberts had one of the best nights of her career for Stow. Roberts rolled a 248 in game one and 257 in game two for a 505 series. Ritzinger noted it was the first time Roberts had rolled a 500 series in her career.
Meanwhile, Stow’s Natalie Rockwell rolled a solid 198 in game one, but exploded for career-best 265 in game two (465 series).
Senior Taylor Roberts also broke 200 in game two (202) to finish with a 392 series. Kayla Flake rolled a 358 (162-196) and Allie Rudman rolled a 341 (182-159) for Stow.
Falls was unable to keep up with the Bulldogs after Paige Haubert rolled a 226 in game one. She finished with a 377 series. Nicole Hannan rolled a 362 (199-172) for Falls.
Falls will host Barberton Tuesday at Legend Lanes, while Stow returns to Sto-Kent Lanes Tuesday to face Kent Roosevelt. Both matches will begin at 4 p.m.