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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Rochester scores on first 4 drives, stays undefeated in TRC

Deming, Brant Beck: 2 TD runs each; Paulik throws 2 TD passes


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Carson Paulik

After the Rochester football team lost to Tippecanoe Valley 39-8 on Aug. 25, the Zebras practiced in full pads twice before their next game with Whitko, according to two-way lineman Brady Beck.

The very physical portion of the Zebras’ season had begun.

That portion reached its third week as Rochester routed Lewis Cass 44-6 at Barnhart Field Friday, setting them up for a showdown for first place in the Three Rivers Conference at Peru next week.

Alex Deming ran 20 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns, and Brant Beck added 14 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns for the Zebras.

Carson Paulik completed two passes, both in the second quarter and both for touchdowns. The first was a 29-yarder to Wesley Meadows on a bootleg to the right, and the second was a 56-yarder to Dylan Hook in which Hook came back toward a Paulik rollout on the left side to receive the pass at the King 40. He then broke a tackle and sped down the left sideline for a touchdown.

Rochester improved to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the Three Rivers Conference. L.J. Hillis threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Frey in the second quarter for Lewis Cass, who fell to 2-3, 2-2.

Rochester beat Lewis Cass for the first time since 1998. They had lost the previous five meetings, all in sectional games between 2004 and 2019.

Rochester and Peru are the only remaining unbeatens in the TRC. The Zebras and Tigers will meet at Peru next Friday. Peru edged Maconaquah 27-26 on Friday.

Rochester scored touchdowns on their first five possessions. They scored six touchdowns on eight possessions for the game.

The first possession was a 10-play, 58-yard drive that featured five carries each from Deming and Brant Beck. Beck had the first three carries around the left perimeter, gaining nine yards and a first down on the third carry. Deming followed with three carries in between the tackles that netted 22 yards. Then came a 5-yard run from Beck and a 2-yard run from Deming. On third-and-3 from the Lewis Cass 16, Deming gained six yards and a first down, and Beck scored from the 10 off left guard to open the scoring.

Colton Ferverda’s two-point conversion run made it 8-0.

“Really nice job of execution,” Rochester coach Ron Shaffer said of the first drive. “That was the game plan from the start. We thought we had a physical advantage up front. They made some plays. They were blitzing. Things happened, but a really nice job of executing on that first drive, and it did set a tone that it was going to be a physical night.”

Both teams ran wing-T offenses.

“We had to show them we were the more physical team,” Brady Beck said. “That first drive just sets the tone for the whole game. … We put it in, and that’s how it started and how it finished.”

After a Lewis Cass three-and-out and a 25-yard punt from Eli Martin, Rochester took over at the Lewis Cass 48. Brant Beck gained 10 yards on the first carry, and a 15-yard facemask penalty on Lewis Cass moved the ball to the Lewis Cass 23. Deming poured through a hole between center and right guard for a 23-yard touchdown run on the next play. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but Rochester led 14-0.

The next drive was also a 10-play, 58-yarder and featured a pair of fourth-down conversions, including a 15-yard Brant Beck run on fourth-and-2 from the 50 and a 7-yard Deming run on fourth-and-1 from the Lewis Cass 26.

Two plays later, Brant Beck cut inside off a Brady Beck block and scored on a 15-yard run to make it 20-0, and Brant Beck tacked on the two-point conversion to make it 22-0.

Rochester tried an onside kick down the middle of the field, but Lewis Cass recovered and embarked on a 57-yard touchdown drive that included a 37-yard Frey run around the right perimeter that got the ball to the Rochester 11.

Frey’s touchdown reception came on a Hillis bootleg to the right.

But Rochester scored on their own bootleg pass to the right with Paulik finding senior tight end Meadows wide open behind a defender that bit on a run fake. Deming’s two-point conversion run made it 30-6.

Hook’s 56-yard touchdown catch followed another three-and-out, and Deming’s two-point conversion run made it 38-6 with 2:51 left in the half.

Lewis Cass’ first drive of the second half stalled on downs at the Rochester 15 after 12 plays.

While Frey’s long run on Lewis Cass’ first-half scoring drive came on a sweep, successful inside runs for the Kings were infrequent.

“I think they went away from anything inside pretty quick,” Shaffer said. “They got us on a couple plays after the onside kick on the perimeter, but the kids settled back down and started executing again on defense.”

The physicality on defense might have started after it allowed 39 points and 498 yards of total offense to Valley. Since then, they have outscored their last three opponents 136-6.

“The week after, we spent two days in pads and just beat the crap out of each other,” Brady Beck said. “That got us back into a rhythm, and we started more competition in practice. Linemen and the backs just trying to beat each other to get that competitive edge back, I guess, and obviously, it’s working out pretty well.”

Rochester then drove 85 yards in 17 plays with Deming scoring from the 1 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Aiden Harrington started at center for the Zebras for Callen Ferverda, who was ill.

Rochester 44, Lewis Cass 6

Lewis Cass 0 6 0 0 – 6

Rochester 14 24 0 6 – 44

First quarter

RHS – Brant Beck 10 run (Colton Ferverda run)

RHS – Alex Deming 23 run (run failed)

Second quarter

RHS – Beck 15 run (Beck run)

LC – Cooper Frey 3 pass from L.J. Hillis (run failed)

RHS – Wesley Meadows 29 pass from Carson Paulik (Deming run)

RHS – Dylan Hook 56 pass from Paulik (Deming run)

Third quarter

(no scoring)

Fourth quarter

RHS – Deming 1 run (run failed)


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