“We needed that win. It was a good one.”, said Rockie Head Coach John Barron. “Ike Kastner came into his own at quarterback. He made some really good decisions tonight.”
Rochester scored first on a 76 yard touchdown by talented Senior Zac Shultz to make it 7-0. It would eventually be the only score of the first half.
“We made some bad reads. That wasn’t a good defensive effort on our part. By the same token, Shultz made some incredible moves to make us miss. He’s a very good runningback.”, added Barron.
But the bigger issue for the Rockies in the first half was their inability to punch it in the end zone twice on first and goal opportunities.
“We have to score. That’s it. There’s no other excuse, reason, or whatever….we have to take advantage of those opportunities. It was like the Bremen “deja-vu” all over again when we caused three fumbles against the Lions and failed to capitalize. The kids know it, so next time we’ll do it.”, said Barron.
The halftime speech was looking at the stat sheet tend letting the kids decide if they wanted to win this game.
“We have had chances and we weren’t taking advantage of them. There was no yelling, breaking things, or anything like that. I just challenged them to decide the outcome of the game.”
The third quarter started in a ugly fashion. A 65 yard kick return by Shultz set up Rochester’s next touchdown. Collyn Bennett scored on a 25 yard pass from QB Jon O’Dell using just 38 seconds of the third quarter clock.
“I was read the body language of our players after that second Rochester touchdown. I liked what I saw. We were still encouraging each other and our seniors basically said enough already. That’s when this game changed for us.”, said Barron.
Plymouth responded with a 9 play-52 yard drive to eventually lead Ike Kastner in the end zone for his first of three touchdowns on the night. It was a three yard scamper into pay dirt.
Plymouth tied the ballgame on their next possession marching 93 yards down field resulting in a Sam Stevens 18 yard touchdown run to tie the game at 13-13 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We really started to figure some things out with our offensive line play. Made adjustments and started to wear Rochester’s defense down after we tied it up.”, said Barron.
Indeed the case, when Plymouth stopped Rochester on four downs, then Sam Stevens scored his second touchdown of the evening thanks to great blocking by several Rockie linemen and wide-out Aaron Robbins for the 71 yard score to give Plymouth a 20-13 lead.
“Just some good blocking up front, set that great run up by Sammy. Robbins threw the final block that caught my attention. That was done the way we teach it.”, said Barron.
The Zebras were not done scoring either. They got good field possession starting at the Plymouth 38 yard line. 3 plays later Jon O’Dell hit receiver Pat Showley on a streak down the right sideline for a 48 yard touchdown reception to tie the game back up a 20-20 with 9:35 left in the ballgame.
“Even though are coverage wasn’t best on that play, O’Dell threw a great ball and their receiver made an outstanding catch”, added Barron. “I wanted to see again, what reaction our kids would have to that play offensively. We needed Ike to take control of the ballgame. And he did.”
O’Dell kicked the ball into the end zone for a Plymouth touchback. From that possession on, Plymouth took seven plays to get it in and go ahead for good. Kastner finished that drive with a 41 yard scamper to score his second touchdown of the night giving Plymouth a 27-20 lead.
“We look for our seniors to make a difference. Tonight Cole Mann had the play of the game by getting a HUGE first down on a 3rd and a long 7 situation. We needed to convert that play and did. He did his job as a Senior.”, said Barron.
Plymouth put the ballgame away with one more touchdown score at the 3:54 mark, when Ike Kastner hit a hole for a 14 yard run to seal a 34-20 win.
Plymouth will travel to Warsaw next Friday night. WTCA pre-game show will be 6:00pm.