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  • Val T.

Week 10 preview: Rochester defense preparing for Plummer, DeWitt, big LaVille line

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Sports Editor, RTC

Class 2A, Sectional 34 quarterfinal: LaVille (6-2) at Rochester (5-2), 7 p.m.

The transformation of the Rochester offense into a wing-T running machine has seemingly occurred overnight.

Last year, Rochester’s season high for points in a game was 28. This year, they average 34 points per game.

Last week, they amassed 361 yards of total offense in beating Maconaquah 44-12. It was their first win over Maconaquah since becoming TRC rivals in 2015. Alex Deming ran for 169 yards, and Antonio Schlosser ran for 102, including a 65-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Deming is up to 1,431 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns on the season.

But perhaps just as impressive an accomplishment was that the Rochester defense held Maconaquah to just eight yards rushing.

“The challenge you face is that kids don't always defend it exactly the way you’d want to,” Rochester coach Ron Shaffer said. “They get into the game, and sometimes, they forget to redirect routes or play things exactly the way you’d want them. So those are challenges. But the kids for the most part did a pretty good job with executing the game plan.”

Shaffer also said that Rochester was the more physical team. He said that not only comes from spending time in the weight room but a mentality of knowing they have to be physical at the point of attack in the wing-T.

Rochester hosts a LaVille team coming off a 19-6 win at Culver last week. LaVille has already clinched their eighth consecutive winning season, and they have won their first sectional game in six of the last seven years.

No opponent has scored more than 14 points against the LaVille defense.

Both teams have two wins over Class 3A opponents. Rochester has wins over Knox and Maconaquah while LaVille has wins over Knox and John Glenn.

LaVille relies on sophomore Lucas Plummer, who is a starter at quarterback, defensive back, punter and placekicker.

He has thrown only one interception all season, and he has a reliable receiver in Owen T. Smith, who caught two touchdown passes in the Culver game, and a reliable back in Paul DeWitt, who ran for 101 yards against Culver.

“They don’t really complicate things with their routes,” Shaffer said of Plummer and the LaVille offense. “A lot of their routes are deep routes or flood routes. They’ll flood the zone and try to hit guys. I think he’s a real solid player. He does exactly what they want to do in their offense and a lot of times just handing the ball off and carrying out a fake or he’s able to pull it and run with it too. So he’s a threat in that backfield.”

Shaffer also said that LaVille’s favorite running plays are an off-tackle power, a “counter dart” and an iso play where DeWitt will follow his fullback’s lead block.

Zebra sophomore wingback-linebacker Colton Ferverda is expected back this week after missing the Maconaquah game with an ankle injury.

This is the first meeting between the Lancers and Zebras since 1982.

(Winner plays the Bremen-Manchester winner in the sectional semifinals on Oct. 29)

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