Rochester gets 4th shutout vs. injury-plagued, turnover-prone Southwood
Deming’s 135 yards, Beck’s offensive, defensive scores, Meadows’ pick-6 highlight win
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Photos by Paul Deming
WABASH — The Rochester football team forced a turnover on the first play and the last play of the game against host Southwood Friday, and they also forced two touchdown-producing takeaways in between as their defense remained impenetrable for the second straight week in recording a 41-0 win.
Meanwhile, Alex Deming ran for 135 yards and a touchdown. The defensive touchdowns – a 4-yard Brant Beck fumble return and a 26-yard Wesley Meadows interception return – came in a 45-second span in the fourth quarter.
Beck also finished with 11 carries for 88 yards and three receptions for 29 yards on offense.
Beck’s scoop and score and Deming’s two-point conversion run made it 28-0, and on the third play of Southwood’s next drive, Wesley Meadows read Southwood quarterback Eli Boone on a third-and-17 play, picked him off and headed untouched to the end zone.
Colton Ferverda contributed 68 yards rushing on 14 carries and a score, and Trevor Walley’s first career varsity touchdown came on a 3-yard run with 5:27 left.
Rochester’s unluckiest player might have been senior Dylan Hook, who had both a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown and an acrobatic 33-yard touchdown reception negated by penalties in the first half.
The game was played with a running clock after Walley’s score.
Rochester improved to 6-2 overall and 6-1 in the Three Rivers Conference. All six of their wins have ended with a running clock.
Southwood, playing without starting quarterback Griffin Chambers and leading receiver Will Winer, fell to 4-4, 4-3.
Rochester beat Southwood for the second straight year but for the first time on the road since 2013.
The Rochester defense posted its second straight shutout and its fourth shutout in their last six games. Rochester’s four shutouts for the season are their most since they had six in 2009.
With Chambers out, Boone got the start at quarterback, but by the second quarter, sophomore Maddox Marshall had taken over. Marshall ran a wildcat offense and led Southwood with 69 yards rushing.
“We just kept doing our same stuff pretty much,” Rochester coach Ron Shaffer said when asked if they made any defensive adjustments after Southwood changed quarterbacks. “They’re just a little more running with Marshall, so we’re just a little more aware of that in the box.”
Before Marshall took over at quarterback, however, he returned the opening kickoff to the Southwood 45 before he fumbled, and kicker Parker Wallace recovered at the Knights 47.
Rochester went on a seven-play scoring drive from there with Beck scoring around the left perimeter and just getting inside the left front pylon to make it 7-0.
Southwood had a fourth-and-1 at the Rochester 34 with 2:13 left in the first quarter, but Boone bobbled the snap, and Deming sacked him for a four-yard loss to give the Zebras the ball back.
The Zebras then went on a 16-play, 62-yard touchdown drive. Rochester went for it on fourth-and-7 on their own 41, and Deming squeezed out a 9-yard run to midfield.
A 13-yard pass from Carson Paulik to Beck and a 12-yard Deming run on third-and-5 highlighted the drive.
On fourth-and-goal from the 5, Deming surged up the middle and scored to make it 14-0.
Rochester maintained that lead into halftime despite five penalties for 55 yards.
Ferverda’s 3-yard off-tackle run for a touchdown capped off the first drive of the second half, which included facemask penalties on Southwood on back-to-back plays.
Southwood followed with an 11-play drive that reached the Rochester 13, highlighted by multiple jitterbugging runs from Marshall, but it ended with them turning it over on downs when Boone overthrew a receiver on fourth-and-21.
Rochester defensive end Peyton Young said he moved out a little bit more. He credited a quick consultation with defensive tackle Brady Beck.
“I had a little bit of a problem with the (offensive) tackle,” Young said. “I was talking to Brady, and he was telling me I should move out just a little bit for a little bit more space and get through. Brady is a great mentor that helps me.”
Southwood blocked Wallace’s 36-yard field goal try, but after back-to-back 6-yard losses, Rochester shook the ball loose from Boone just as he was going down to the ground, and Beck picked up the loose ball and dove over the goal line.
There was no immediate signal from an official, but after the five officials briefly discussed the play, they awarded Beck the touchdown. Deming added a two-point conversion run on a sweep to make it 28-0.
Meadows’ interception came on a third-and-17 play.
“It’s a mesh concept, and so he’s picking up a guy crossing, and then, I think the kid just panicked, and Wes ends up reading his eyes and running to the ball,” Shaffer said.
Walley’s touchdown run capped off a six-play, 48-yard drive after the Zebra defense forced a four-and-out.
Rochester finished with 357 yards of offense, and they reached their average of 41 points per game.
Still, penalties halted momentum, and Southwood junior defensive tackle Dalton Barney was bothersome with his penetration.
“I don’t know if it was as much physical as us not executing,” Shaffer said. “Obviously, you’ve got to give them some credit. We couldn’t block number 58 (Barney). … He was trouble all night long, so we have to play a little more physical and know assignment football. … It seemed like every big play got called back, and those things happen.
“You’ve just got to overcome it. That’s the thing I talked to our guys right there about.”
Southwood’s fourth turnover came on Maddox Jewell’s interception on the final play on a Hail Mary, bookending another strong night for the Rochester defense.
The four shutouts have occurred since Deming moved from inside linebacker to defensive end and Brant Beck moved from safety to linebacker. Meanwhile, Young is a newcomer at defensive end. He calls Deming his “d-end brother.”
Young played offense only last year but has started both ways this year. He said he weighed 250 at the end of last year but weighs a “lean” 240 now. He said he feels stronger and faster.
“So I would get in the weight room every single day for summer weights,” Young said. “I would try to get in every single day. Plus, during school weights, I would get in as much as I could, trying to bring up my weight and my bench, my deadlift, everything, just to make myself presentable for d-end and offensive guard.”
Rochester remained in a tie for second place in the TRC at the end of the night. Peru clinched a share of the conference title with a 54-7 win at North Miami, and Maconaquah beat Wabash 55-13 to stay tied with Rochester for second place.
Peru can clinch the TRC title outright with a win at Manchester next Friday. If Peru falls, then the Maconaquah-Rochester winner at Barnhart Field will share it with the Tigers.
Rochester 41, Southwood 0
Rochester 7 7 6 21 – 41
Southwood 0 0 0 0 – 0
RHS – Brant Beck 5 run (Parker Wallace kick)
RHS – Alex Deming 5 run (Wallace kick)
RHS – Colton Ferverda 3 run (run failed)
RHS – Brant Beck 4 fumble return (Deming run)
RHS – Wesley Meadows 26 interception return (run failed)
RHS – Trevor Walley 3 run (Wallace kick)
Photos By Paul Deming