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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Week won: Zebras score on 7 of first 8 possessions, rout Wabash

Next up: vs. Tippecanoe Valley, 7 p.m. next Friday


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Brant Beck

WABASH — Alex Deming ran 51 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, and Brant Beck ran for 125 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to lead the Rochester football team to a 56-7 win over host Wabash in the season opener for both teams at Alumni Field Friday.

Deming finished with 134 yards rushing. Colton Ferverda ran for 32 yards and two scores, and Carson Paulik threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Wesley Meadows in the Zebras’ 40-point second quarter. The touchdown was Paulik’s first career touchdown pass and Meadows’ first career touchdown catch.

Gavin Young had an interception that set up a touchdown.

Rochester scored on seven of their eight first-half possessions in building a 56-0 halftime lead. They converted all seven of their two-point conversion attempts.

Rochester’s offensive line, which consists of veterans Xavier Vance, Brady Beck and Peyton Young and newcomers like center Callen Ferverda, Rosswel Zeiger and Wes Lawson, continued to create big holes for running backs to follow.

“I thought they played fairly well,” Rochester coach Ron Shaffer said of the offensive line. “You know, it’s weird playing a defense that doesn’t come forward and doesn’t get after it. And so, sometimes, they just get in the way and make tackles. Our kids, I thought, executed fairly well.”

The second half was played with a running clock.

Rochester held Wabash to three first downs in the first half. The Apaches’ lone score came on Keaton Fields’ 2-yard touchdown run against a collection of Zebra back-ups with 2:15 left.

Rochester will host Tippecanoe Valley in the Bell game at 7 p.m. next Friday. Valley won their opener over Wawasee 23-12 on Friday.

Rochester is 15-0 against Wabash since Wabash joined the TRC in 2006.

Deming’s touchdown run came after a 29-yard kickoff return from Zakk Parks out to the Rochester 49 to start the game. Deming then started left and cut back to right, straddled the right sideline and scored with Brant Beck adding the two-point conversion run.

After a nine-play Wabash drive that included two first downs but also three illegal procedure penalties ended with a turnover on downs, the Zebras embarked on a seven-play, 59-yard drive that concluded with a 19-yard Ferverda touchdown run on a sweep to the right.

After an exchange of possessions, Rochester drove 60 yards on four plays for a touchdown. Beck’s 19-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter and a Ferverda two-point run made it 24-0.

Young stepped into the flat and intercepted an Izaak Wright pass intended for Trevor Daughtry and returned it 22 yards to the Wabash 12.

“I was just reading the flats and then just watching the ball,” Young explained.

Drake Sparling sacked Paulik on the first play of the next drive for a 2-yard loss, but Beck’s 14-yard run around the left side in which he cut back towards the middle of the field made it 30-0, and Paulik passed to Ferverda for the ensuing two-point conversion.

Rochester took over at the Wabash 38 after an Apache three-and-out, and the Zebras drove six plays for another touchdown with Beck scoring from the 7 on a double handoff from Ferverda and Ferverda adding another two-point conversion.

Another three-and-out led to Rochester taking over at the Apache 45, and a Deming 27-yard run got them a first-and-goal at the 8. Three plays later, Ferverda scored from the 1 on a counter, and Beck’s two-point conversion made it 48-0.

After another turnover on downs from Wabash, Young caught a tipped pass from Paulik for 21 yards, and Beck followed with a 29-yard run on a sweep to the left to move the ball to the Wabash 26.

Paulik’s 26-yard touchdown pass to an open Meadows behind the defense and a Deming two-point conversion run made it 56-0.

Rochester held Fields, Wabash’s leading returning rusher in their pass-heavy spread attack, to 15 yards on nine carries in the first half.

“I think it was pretty good,” Shaffer said. “You know, our guys are really tuned in on just the pass at times because they just throw it. … And sometimes you lose that concentration up front, but our kids seemed to keep it fairly well and stop the run.”

When the 300-pound Vance played defense last year, he typically played defensive end. This time, he started at defensive tackle with Brady Beck. He said playing with Brady Beck has helped a lot, and he praised Brady Beck for his leadership. He said he was often the recipient of a double team Friday.

“Most of it’s the same,” Vance said of moving from end to tackle. “We haven’t done as many stunts as we did last year. It’s mainly been the same besides getting double-teamed all the time.”

Vance said it “wasn’t too bad” when asked if this game was a distraction with the Bell game next week.

“I think we’re pretty up to the challenge,” Vance said. “I think we’re just going to focus on tonight and see how it goes and focus really hard on Valley.”

Rochester 56, Wabash 7

Rochester 16 40 0 0 – 56

Wabash 0 0 0 7 – 7

First quarter

RHS – Alex Deming 51 run (Brant Beck run)

RHS – Colton Ferverda 19 run (Ferverda run)

Second quarter

RHS – Brant Beck 19 run (Ferverda run)

RHS – Beck 14 run (Ferverda pass from Carson Paulik)

RHS – Beck 7 run (Ferverda run)

RHS – Ferverda 1 run (Beck run)

RHS – Wesley Meadows 26 pass from Paulik (Deming run)

Third quarter

(no scoring)

Fourth quarter

WAB – Keaton Fields 2 run (William Galley kick)


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