It looked like a prize winning fight between two NLC heavyweight contenders at Jake Field in Concord. After the horn sounded in the fourth round, Plymouth gets a 31-28 victory at Concord.
“This was a big win for us. Our coaching staff felt we (Plymouth) needed to play an almost perfect game against one the states best teams (Concord).”, said Rockie leader John Barron. “It was a night of big plays. I mean look at our first touchdown. 3rd and 8 from our 49 yard line, and Ike (Kastner) throws a great ball to Dakota Brooke down the Concord sideline for a 51 yard touchdown reception. That set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Plymouth struggled with specialty team defense on the following play when they allowed a 89 kickoff return to Concord’s Jerrell Pointdexter to tie the game up at 7-7.
“Not happy about that play. I want to give credit where credit is due though. Concord set up a wall to allow their returner to utilize his speed, but we didn’t have good spacing in one spot and that was enough for him apparently. Still….we just scored and then let them get it back. So no….not pleased at that point”, added Barron.
Holding true to form, Plymouth answered back on a 12 play-51 yd drive that led to the biggest play of the ballgame, a 30 yard field goal by Jacob Frantz to put Plymouth ahead 10-7.
“That’s your ballgame right there! The difference in the score. That was a big make by Jacob! We knew he could hit that from that distance. It was a matter of executing in an intense situation…and he did!”, said Barron.
Not to be outdone, Concord answered right back on a 2 play-79 yard drive capped off by a 72 yard touchdown run by DuWhan Alford to regain the lead for Concord 14-10 with 9:14 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
On the next Rockie drive, a huge Justin Drudge run of almost 20 yards led to the Rockies next touchdown run that was finished by a 2 yard touchdown run by Ike Kastner to regain the lead at halftime 17-14.
A Concord quarterback change in Trevor Wilmore started the Concord first possession of the second half. He led a 3 play-69 yard drive to give Concord the lead back at 21-17.
“All week long we were preparing to defend McKibben, with little preparation for Wilmore. Wilmore is more of a running quarterback than McKibben. But we never really seen him on films. But that’s no excuse by me for not preparing our defense for the #2 quarterback. Credit Concord for the change. But as the game went on after that particular series, we made a much better adjustment even though they had some success running the ball.”, said Barron.
Concord got another shot on offense after their defense stopped the Rockies in that third quarter. Concord marched down field getting down to the Rockies 20 yard line forced into a 4th down situation. Coach Dawson went for the 30 yard Ryan Tepe Field Goal attempt, only to see it blocked by DeAndre Pickford who then scooped the ball up and returned into Concord real estate.
“That was incredible play by Pickford. He just simply wasn’t to be stopped on that play. You could see it from the sideline. That was a big momentum changer for us. It led us to getting the lead back when Sam (Stevens) scored from 8 yards out.”, added Barron.
But another Concord counter punch came on their next possession in the start of the fourth quarter. A 7 play-58 yard drive resulted in a Trevor Wilmore scamper into the enzone for a 28-24 Concord lead.
More big plays ensued for the Rockies when a 7 play-66 yard drive resulted in a Ike Kastner score from seven yards out to give Plymouth a 31-28 lead with 7:49 remaining in the game. Now it was a matter of holding the offensive oriented Minutemen from this point on….easier said than done!
In the final 1:30 of the ballgame, Concord was driving. DuWhan Alford was the showcase on this particular drive which got to the Rockie 10 yard line. But two poor snaps by Concord’s number two center and an Ethan Sampson 10 a yard quarterback sack forced Concord back to the Rockie 32 yard line on a long 4th down.
Concord took a timeout with 10 seconds left in the game. Coach Dawson’s decision was to kick a 42 yard field goal by his kicker Ryan Tepe, who had already hit a 45 yard field goal earlier this season, and go for the tie. Tepe’s kick went short and way left to insure the Rockies upset win at Jake Field, 31-28.
“This was a huge win for our program. We are playing well right now. We have to continue this momentum into next week. But for now, I the kids to enjoy the fruits of their labor. We had to work hard to beat a well Coached team. A number 7 team in state, on the road no less.”
The Rockies will now get ready for the Goshen Redskins next Friday in Goshen. WTCA Pre-Game Show begins at 6:30pm.