Ferverda, Beck also run for over 100 as Rochester takes 2nd in TRC
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Alex Deming and Colton Ferverda set single-game season-highs for rushing yards, and Brant Beck also ran for over 100 yards for the Rochester football team as they secured sole possession of second place in the Three Rivers Conference with a 36-14 win over Maconaquah at soggy Barnhart Field Friday.
Deming ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns, and Ferverda ran for 136 yards and a score. Beck had 104 yards rushing, which included a 44-yard run on a double handoff counter play to open the scoring.
Rochester scored on their first four drives and never trailed. They led 20-0 after the first quarter and 26-14 at halftime. They shut Maconaquah out in the second half in beating the Braves for the third straight year.
Beck intercepted a shovel pass attempt on fourth down on Maconaquah’s first drive, and Zakk Parks also had an interception. Rochester also recorded a safety with 1:18 left when Maconaquah backup quarterback Aiden Robinson fell on an errant snap in the end zone.
Rochester finished the regular season 7-2 overall and 7-1 in the Three Rivers Conference. Maconaquah fell to 6-3, 6-2.
Peru beat Manchester 52-6 Friday to clinch the outright TRC crown and an undefeated regular season.
On their last drive of the first half, Maconaquah possessed the ball for 11 plays before Zakk Parks picked off a Hail Mary attempt from Braxton Birner in the end zone. On their first drive of the second half, Maconaquah had the ball for 12 plays before a Rochester goal line stand on fourth down from the 1-yard line quashed a drive.
Maconaquah also had a 19-play drive in the fourth quarter in which they did not score. On that drive, they moved the ball from their own 19 to the Rochester 10 before turning the ball over on downs when Parks deflected a pass.
Maconaquah top receiver Fuddy Kile had 10 receptions for 172 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the second quarter.
D.J. Elliott also had a 9-yard touchdown catch for Maconaquah. Baxton Birner attempted 46 passes for the Braves out of their air raid attack.
“I thought the guys did fine,” Rochester coach Ron Shaffer said of the pass defense. “One guy can’t beat you. So he got his plays, but I think the kids did fine in coverage and really took care of A.J. Kelly and some of the other guys.”
After Beck opened the scoring by speeding down the left sideline and winning a foot race from A.J. Kelly, he stopped Maconaquah’s first drive when he picked off Kaleb Shelton’s shovel pass attempt intended for motion man Kile in a crowd.
Rochester capitalized, going 51 yards in 11 plays and scoring on Deming’s 5-yard run.
A deep pass from Birner intended for A.J. Kelly fell just incomplete on fourth-and-3 from the Rochester 44, and Ferverda answered with a 55-yard run on a sweep around the left side, following imposing blocks from Peyton Young and Brady Beck to make it 20-0.
Kile’s touchdown catch made it 20-7, but the Zebras followed with a six-play, 62-yard scoring drive that Deming finished with a 34-yard run on a trap.
Deming praised offensive linemen Xavier Vance, Brady Beck, Callen Ferverda, Young, Rosswel Zeiger and Mason Hisey.
“We started off rough a little bit,” Deming said. “A couple four-yard gains and then we stepped in high gear running up the middle running trap. Trap was the move tonight, and X, Brady and that side was just killing it. Callen being out there, the whole line. Even the halfbacks were blocking very well.”
Kile had a 27-yard reception on the first drive of the second half, and Maconaquah would have a second-and-goal from the 3. Shelton ran for 1 yard, and Birner ran for 1 yard to get the ball down to the 1. Birner then tried a quarterback sneak on a quick snap, but Brady Beck stood up the line, and
Peyton Young penetrated into the backfield to stop Birner for no gain.
Rochester then went on a nine-play, 99-yard drive. Quarterback Carson Paulik drew Maconaquah offsides with a hard count on third-and-3, and Deming converted a third-and-1 with a 6-yard run. On the next play, Deming busted through the line and ran 59 yards for a touchdown. Brant Beck tacked on a two-point conversion to make it 34-14.
Rochester ran the ball at will despite Maconaquah typically having nine men in the box.
“The offensive line did a really nice job,” Shaffer said. “Because they mixed fronts up, and they do a lot of different things. They play physical up front, and I thought everybody up front did a really nice job. The backs ran hard. We put it on the ground a couple times, but in this (weather), sometimes things happen, but all of them ran really hard, and I thought the execution on the offensive line was good.”
Winamac lost to Triton 35-6, and Lafayette Central Catholic topped Western 26-7 Friday. Rochester will play either Winamac or Lafayette Central Catholic on the road in the Class 2A, Sectional 34 semifinals on Oct. 27.
Rochester lost two fumbles in the second half, but Maconaquah was not able to convert either miscue into points.
Maconaquah’s A.J. Kelly appeared to recover a high, looping onside kick with a lunging catch right in front of his sideline in the second quarter with his team trailing 26-14. However, he was cited for a kick interference penalty as a player on the kicking team cannot catch a kickoff without the ball hitting the ground or touching a player on the opposing team first.
Rochester 36, Maconaquah 14
Maconaquah 0 14 0 0 – 14
Rochester 20 6 8 2 – 36
RHS – Brant Beck 44 run (Alex Deming run)
RHS – Alex Deming 5 run (run failed)
RHS – Colton Ferverda 55 run (run failed)
MAC – Fuddy Kile 58 pass from Braxton Birner (Nolan Tarrh kick)
RHS – Deming 34 run (run failed)
MAC – D.J. Elliott 9 pass from Birner (Tarrh kick)
RHS – Deming 59 run (Beck run)
RHS – Safety, Robinson recovered fumbled snap in end zone
Photos by Paul Deming