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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Week 3 preview: Rochester hopes they won’t be ‘nails’ against Wildcats

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Rochester (1-1, 1-0 Three Rivers Conference) at Whitko, 7 p.m.

The Rochester football team ran for 229 yards on 5.3 yards per carry against Tippecanoe Valley last week.

But it is also true that the Zebras did not get a first down on their first four possessions of the second half, and they did not score in the second half in a 39-8 loss.

Being able to open running lanes for fullback Alex Deming and wingbacks Colton Ferverda and Brant Beck must improve.

“Poor,” Rochester coach Ron Shaffer said in assessing the offensive line play against Valley. “Not aggressive enough. Too much catching. We talk to them all the time about there’s two types of football players: There’s hammers, and there’s nails.We were nails instead of being hammers. We want to hit people and were way too passive in what we were doing. It’s been a big emphasis this week already.”

Rochester also struggled defensively against Valley, allowing 498 yards of offense. Valley runners like Nate Parker ran around the perimeter of the Rochester defense with success, including on an 81-yard touchdown run.

“Our edge defenders didn’t play very well,” Shaffer said. “Didn’t set the edge very well. The pursuit from inside out wasn't fast enough. We didn’t get our reads fast enough and get there. It’s not that they can’t get there. They’re tired. They’re worn out. Their mind’s spinning. It’s the hottest it’s been all year. You can say what you want about the weather, but it was a nice day, but there was no air moving. It was hot, and our kids were going both ways. It was rough on them to try and cover as good a player as Nate Parker is to cover him from sideline to sideline.”

As for Whitko, their Week 1 win over Prairie Heights snapped a 15-game losing streak for coach Brad Sprunger, who was hired as interim coach following last year’s 70-0 loss to Rochester and who was named permanent coach after the season.

His brother Jeff and father Bryan are former Whitko head coaches. Whitko quarterback Jack Hill impressed Shaffer with his demeanor in last year’s game, even with his team trailing by a hefty margin.

“The guy that really stands out to me is the quarterback Jack Hill,” Shaffer said. “He impressed me last year. Jack was the guy that was constantly leading his team and trying to get them fired up. He never stopped being positive, and it was a bad situation for them last year, and I was impressed with how he handled himself as a person and a player. I think he’s a real tough nut, and I think he’s a guy we’ve got to keep our eye on. He extends plays, throws the ball well and has a pretty good group of receivers to throw it too.”

Rochester is 10-2 in their last 12 meetings with Whitko. Last year’s 70-0 win was the largest margin of victory in Rochester school history.


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