RHS held without first down in TRC road loss
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WABASH –- The Rochester football team suffered their fifth straight loss to start the season in a 62-0 loss to Northfield at Wilbur Dawes Field Friday.
It might be argued that mistakes were not necessarily the issue. The Zebras committed only one turnover, and by the time it happened, they were already down 55-0 in the fourth quarter. RHS also only had two penalties.
But RHS did not get a first down against the Northfield defense either.
Northfield improved to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in the TRC. RHS fell to 0-5, 0-5.
RHS played without starting quarterback Reece Renie, who suffered a shoulder injury against Peru a week earlier.
They also played without Alex Deming (shin) and Kaleb Shaffer (illness), both two-way starters. On offense, Deming and Shaffer are RHS’ top two fullbacks. Shaffer also does all the kicking, punting and kickoff work on special teams.
Northfield scored four touchdowns in less than seven minutes in the second quarter. That turned a 14-0 Northfield lead into a 42-0 lead.
The Norsemen scored 50 seconds into the game. Though Clayton Tomlinson’s kickoff return for a touchdown was called back on an illegal-use-of-hands penalty, Northfield needed only three plays to drive 25 yards. Mason Fisher took a handoff from quarterback Jared Halderman and lateraled to Alex Haupert at the 6-yard line, and Haupert took it in from there along the right sideline.
Northfield’s next drive was more prolonged – a 14-play, 67-yard trek that Halderman capped with a 3-yard run between the tackles. The drive included a 10-yard Jarrett Shafer run up the middle on third-and-10.
The tempo picked up in the second quarter. Tomlinson hit Michael Fisher with a 7-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal on a halfback option.
After a RHS three-and-out, Halderman hit a wide-open Haupert on a pop pass behind the middle of the RHS defense. That went for a 42-yard touchdown to make it 28-0.
Reserve fullback Jayden Goshert’s 43-yard touchdown run around the right perimeter made it 35-0.
After another three-and-out, Tomlinson returned a punt down the middle of the field for 57 yards and another touchdown to make it 42-0.
“They’ve got several guys with breakaway speed, and right now, we don’t,” RHS coach Sean Kelly said. “If they get a crack or they get an opening, we don’t have a very good chance.”
The entire second half was played with a running clock.
A 50-yard Haupert run – he finished with 134 yards on five carries in addition to the 42-yard touchdown catch – made it 48-0 in the third quarter.
Turner Stephens and Jon Clark had touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.
“We had a scheme that we thought we had a solid plan coming in about who we were going to tackle and who had responsibilities,” Kelly said. “They had some very good athletes tonight, and we couldn’t match up with them.”
Junior Braxton Mencias was the latest RHS newcomer. He saw time at both wide receiver and cornerback. Mencias is a move-in from Plymouth but spent time previously in the Rochester schools.
“Braxton’s just a solid player,” Kelly said. “He came back to us a couple weeks ago. He had been here as a freshman and sophomore, but he went and played at Plymouth this year but had to transfer back. He’s still in learning mode.”
Northfield 62, Rochester 0
Rochester 0 0 0 0 – 0
Northfield 14 28 6 14 – 42
NF – Alex Haupert 6 run (Trent Osborn kick)
NF – Jared Halderman 3 run (Osborn kick)
NF – Michael Fisher 7 pass from Clayton Tomlinson (Osborn kick)
NF – Haupert 42 pass from Halderman (Osborn kick)
NF – Jayden Goshert 43 run (Osborn kick)
NF – Tomlinson 57 punt return (Osborn kick)
NF – Haupert 50 run (kick failed)
NF – Turner Stephens 3 run (Osborn kick)
NF – Jon Clark 23 run (Osborn kick)