Paulik’s 2 TD passes, Hook’s pick-6 help Rochester blank Manchester
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Brant Beck and Alex Deming each ran for two touchdowns, and Carson Paulik threw two touchdown passes to lead the Rochester football team to a 50-0 rout of Manchester at Barnhart Field Friday.
Rochester scored on all six of its first-half possessions, and Dylan Hook added a 38-yard interception return for the Zebras, who improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the Three Rivers Conference. Of the six first-half touchdown drives, four started in Manchester territory, and one started at the Zebra 49.
Maddox Jewell and Zakk Parks caught touchdown passes. Senior kicker Parker Wallace converted all six of his extra point tries.
The lead was 50-0 at halftime, and the second half was played with a running clock per the IHSAA Mercy Rule.
Manchester fell to 2-2, 2-1 TRC.
Rochester remains in a first-place tie in the TRC with Peru and Maconaquah. Peru beat Wabash 53-13, and Maconaquah handled Whitko 43-6 on Friday.
The win was Rochester’s first over Manchester since 2019. Rochester was coming off a 42-0 win over Whitko last week. The back-to-back shutouts are Rochester’s first since 2014.
Rochester’s first touchdown came on a 1-yard run from Deming and came two plays after Manchester punter Wyatt Young fumbled a long snap. Young picked up the fumble, but Deming tackled him for a 19-yard loss at the Manchester 11.
Deming took the next handoff down to the 1 and scored on the next play.
Manchester tried to convert a first down on fourth-and-five at their own 25 on their next possession. Coach Eddie Fields called a timeout, but on the play after the timeout, Hook, a senior safety, stepped in front of Cody Eastgate’s pass at the Manchester 38 and cut back past a sliding Eastgate for a touchdown to make it 15-0.
“It’s a nice read by him,” Rochester coach Ron Shaffer said. “We wouldn’t necessarily always want a ball picked off on fourth down, maybe knock it down, but it’s a good opportunity. Defense turned to offense pretty fast on that one.”
After another Manchester four-and-out, Rochester took over at the Manchester 24. Two plays later, Beck turned the left perimeter on a sweep to the left and followed a Brady Beck block after Paulik had faked a handoff to Deming. His 18-yard touchdown and Wallace’s extra point made it 22-0.
After a Manchester punt, Rochester took over on their own 36. Facing a second-and-five from the Manchester 40, Paulik faked a toss to Gavin Young and looked downfield at Jewell, who got inside Manchester defender Rex Moore on a post route and caught a 40-yard touchdown pass to make it 29-0 with 26.6 seconds left in the first quarter.
“He’s a junior that really likes playing split end,” Shaffer said of Jewell. “We don’t get those kind of kids very often in our offense. He works hard. He wants to do really well. For right now, he’s maxing it out and working harder to raise that ceiling.”
Deming’s 5-yard touchdown run in which he plowed through the left side of the Rochester line, a 38-yard touchdown pass from Paulik to Zakk Parks, and Brant Beck’s 46-yard run on a delayed handoff in which he tore through the middle of the line untouched completed the scoring.
“It was an option play, and linemen did their jobs, and I got the touchdown,” Brant Beck said. “It was a fake handoff to Alex.”
Clarence Garrett was the quarterback for the second half with players like Kye Murphy, Trevor Walley, Trenton Meadows and Kale Shotts getting carries and backups like Mason Hisey, Aiden Harrington and Matthew Crossland helping with the blocking.
Meanwhile, Rochester held Manchester to -8 yards rushing in the first half.
This was the second week Rochester had run a reconfigured defense with Deming at defensive end, Brant Beck and Colton Ferverda at outside linebackers, Parks and Jewell at cornerback, Hook at safety and Young at a hybrid linebacker-safety spot.
“The guys staying low and getting hands on, and their blocking scheme, for whatever reason, they wanted to leave the two defensive ends almost totally unblocked in their inside zone read, so it’s just too many for them at the point of attack,” Shaffer said of the ability of the defensive front to get penetration. “Once again, it backs up our move to put Alex Deming there is working out. I think we saw a faster defense tonight.”
Brant Beck said he was open-minded about moving from safety to linebacker and said he “didn’t do too bad” in the Whitko game in his first game at his new position.
He said the position switch affects how he reads the opposing team’s offense as he prepares for a game.
“It’s just different keys now,” Brant Beck explained. “Usually at safety, I’d read the linemen. This week against Manchester, it was really the sniffer that they had and the quarterback.”
Deming was also named homecoming king at halftime. Katia Andrionova was named homecoming queen.
Rochester 50, Manchester 0
Manchester 0 0 0 0 – 0
Rochester 29 21 0 0 – 50
RHS – Alex Deming 1 run (Brant Beck run)
RHS – Dylan Hook 38 interception return (Parker Wallace kick)
RHS – Brant Beck 18 run (Wallace kick)
RHS – Maddox Jewell 40 pass from Carson Paulik (Wallace kick)
RHS – Deming 5 run (Wallace kick)
RHS – Zakk Parks 38 pass from Paulik (Wallace kick)
RHS – Beck 46 run (Wallace kick)