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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Week 7 preview: Rochester defense hopes things take ‘Turn’ vs. Northfield fullback


Sports Editor, RTC

Northfield (2-4, 2-3 Three Rivers Conference) at Rochester (4-2, 4-1), 7 p.m.

After allowing only 13 points in four conference games combined, the Rochester defense allowed touchdowns to Peru on four consecutive possessions in the second half in a 34-23 loss last week.

Rochester coach Ron Shaffer attributed some of Peru’s success to their blocking schemes and some to players like Matt Roettger, Alex Ross and Tanner Boggs making big plays. Shaffer also said that the Peru offensive line double-teamed Rochester senior defensive tackle Brady Beck “quite a bit.”

“They were very similar to our blocking schemes,” Shaffer said of Peru’s offensive line. “It’s a gap scheme. They’re going to block back on certain players and pull guys around to get in front. They’re trying to get a lot of blockers in front of the runner.

“At times, we defended it very well. With great players like Alex Ross and Matt Roettger, you just can’t have lapses or breakdowns. When it comes down to big plays, that’s what happened. You had breakdowns, whether it was misreads or not executing technique, on those certain plays, they out-execute you. Guys like that can make you pay in a hurry.”

As for Rochester’s offensive line, Shaffer said he would give it a three on a scale of one to 10 for the first half and a seven for the second half.

The Zebras finished with 280 rushing yards.

“For whatever reason, our guys were a little confused not executing things correctly,” Shaffer said. “It made it very difficult to move the ball. We were making gains on it through the second quarter and then in the third and fourth, I’m not sure we ever turned the ball over on downs. I think we finished every drive pretty much except for the last one of the game. So, much better execution in the second half.”

Now in a second-place tie in the TRC with Southwood and Maconaquah, Rochester will host Northfield Friday. The Zebras beat Northfield 42-33 last year on the road, but they are 2-6 in their last eight meetings against the Norsemen.

The seniors on the roster were there in 2020 when Rochester lost to Northfield 62-0.

Northfield relies on fullback Turner Stephens, who has a team-high 410 rushing yards.

“He’s a load,” Shaffer said. “He’s 195 pounds, not real tall, maybe 5-9 or 5-10. They’re not a really large team from that aspect. We’re seeing two probably polar opposites as far as size comparing Peru down to Northfield. … Very hard runner. They’re going to run everything through him. That ball’s going to start a lot of times in his belly, whether it’s midline option, whether it’s inside veer, it could be actually outside veer also, and they run a wedge play for him. He is really, really low to the ground, a tough runner.”

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