BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Rochester (0-4, 0-4 Three Rivers Conference) at Northfield (3-3, 3-2), 7 p.m.
The Zebras lost 28-7 to Peru last week, but it was a sign of progress as they were able to sustain a 14-play drive in the second half and eventually score a touchdown on a run by Colton Ferverda in the fourth quarter.
That came one week after a 54-0 loss to Tippecanoe Valley in which they had only 64 yards of offense.
RHS coach Sean Kelly said the entire offensive line “played pretty well.” He said Jesse Shriver, a junior left tackle, was named the team’s offensive lineman of the week.
Junior quarterback Antonio Schlosser guided the touchdown drive. Schlosser took over in the second quarter after starter Reece Renie went down with a shoulder injury.
Kelly said he didn’t know if Renie can play against Northfield but deemed it “unlikely.”
“I thought Antonio did an outstanding job of coming in and throwing for over 100 yards,” Kelly said. “He stepped up and kept our offensive moving with his feet and arm.”
Meanwhile, the RHS defense will have to try and hold down the opposing quarterback. Junior Jake Halderman is a first-year starter for Northfield. He had a team-high 63 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 24-8 win over Wabash last week. He also threw for 118 yards and connected with five different receivers for completions.
“He’ll run the triple-option and is very good in the play-action,” Kelly said. “You can’t fall asleep on him because he may go several plays without running the ball and then he’ll pull it and it will be a big play.”
Jarrett Shafer is a senior and a fullback who runs hard between the tackles.
“He is big and strong and runs angry,” Kelly said. “He somewhat reminds me of (2020 RHS grad) Bryce Abbott. We can’t try to tackle him high because he will run through those.”
Shafer also excels at the defensive end spot for the Norsemen, but he’s just one aspect of a Northfield defense that has held all six opponents under their season scoring average.
“They have outstanding speed on their defense and run to the ball well,” Kelly said. “They are aggressive and tackle well. It will be a challenge.”
RHS lost to Northfield 40-21 last year. They have lost their last two trips to Northfield and were outscored 64-12 in those games. They haven’t beaten Northfield on the road since 2014.