by Angie Asam–Staff Writer
The Rogers City Hurons varsity football team opened the season in grand fashion last Thursday defeating AuGres 30-20 in front of the home crowd. The Hurons are off to Onaway this Friday to take on the Cardinals.
“Our guys were ready to play. Maybe a little bit over ready. They were jacked up like I have never seen them before. They came out and played like they can play. They fought down to the last second, I can’t ask for anything more than that,” said coach Tim Nagy after his team fought from behind until the fourth quarter.
AuGres struck first as they picked off a pass and ran it back for a touchdown just 29 seconds into the game. They converted the extra point to take an 8-0 lead over the Hurons.
Rogers City would fumble on their next possession giving AuGres the ball on the 39-yard line. However, the Rogers City defense came up big and got the ball back for the offense.
The teams traded possessions until the end of the first quarter. Rogers City got the ball back with 10 seconds left in the opening quarter and junior Jacob Malocha ran for 3 yards before the quarter ended. Malocha and junior Cameron Urban gained yardage on the ground giving Rogers City two first downs. On third down and eight from their own 45 sophomore quarterback Quintin Kelly hit senior receiver Chris Lopez with a pass to set up first and 10 from the AuGres 37.
Three runs by Malocha and one by Urban set the Hurons up with a second and nine from the AuGres 15-yard line. Kelly and Lopez hooked up again for the touchdown. Kelly kept the ball and ran it in for the conversion to tie the score at 8 with 7:57 to go in the first half.
AuGres wasted little time as they put together a nice drive to answer the Rogers City score going 86 yards on five plays capped off by a 48-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-8 lead as the conversion attempt was no good.
The Hurons moved the ball well on their next possession but the drive ended at the AuGres 16. AuGres took over on downs but the clock ran out on the first half with the home team trailing by six.
After trading possessions to start the second half Rogers City took over after the defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Malocha and had the ball first and 10 from their own 15-yard line. With Lopez in at quarterback the Hurons ran the ball with Malocha, Lopez and senior Jack Ryan to set up a first and 10 at the AuGres 35. Lopez hit Malocha with a pass good for 12 yards before giving the ball to Urban who ran 23-yards for the score. The field goal attempt was blocked to knot the score at 14.
With 1:20 left in the third quarter AuGres took over first and 10 from the Rogers City 41. A long pass play set them up first and goal from the Rogers City 5-yard line. The clock expired with AuGres second and goal from the one and they scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, the extra point attempt was no good as the visitors took a 20-14 lead.
After fumbling on the next possession the Huron defense stepped up and got a big sack on fourth down to give the ball back to the offense at the AuGres 41-yard line. Malocha, Urban and Ryan took turns carrying the ball for the Hurons and Malocha ran it in from 10 yards out to tie the score. Malocha then punched in the two-point conversion to make the score 22-20 with 5:45 remaining in the game.
AuGres had the ball second down and one to go on their own 39-yard line when they forced a fumble. Ryan picked up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone but the touchdown was called back as a referee had inadvertently blew the play dead before he took off running.
Rogers City took over first and 10 from the AuGres 33. Urban and Malocha again traded carries and Malocha ran it in from 6 yards out for another score with 2:30 remaining in the game making the score 28-20. The Hurons then lined up to kick the extra point. The snap was offline and Ryan took it and passed it to Cole Henry who fought his way in for the conversion. But there was a flag down. The officials said Rogers City had too many men on the field. However, they did not and the flag was later waived off and the conversion stood making it 30-20 with 2:30 remaining.
AuGres looked to put together one final drive which was stopped at the Rogers City 30-yard line when Austin Bober and Casey Szatkowski combined for a quarterback sack popping the ball loose. Blake Fessler recovered the fumble and Rogers City took a knee allowing time to run out.
“I think it was attitude, we out hit them. There was no one certain kid or one certain play. This was a total team effort. That is what we are good at. Everybody did their job and that is what we ask for,” said coach Nagy.
The Hurons will travel to Onaway for a county-rivalry game on Friday at 7 p.m. The Hurons lost last year’s contest on their home field. The Hurons will look to avenge that loss in Onaway on Friday. “I just told them after the game we go right back to practice and fix those things that didn’t work tonight. I don’t want to get overconfident and I don’t want them to get overconfident,” said coach Nagy.
Statistics: Total offense, RC-264 yards rushing, 74 yards passing.
Individual: Passing, Kelly 4-of-11, 62 yards, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown; Lopez 1-of-1, 12 yards.
Rushing: Malocha, 22 carries, 162 yards, 2 TD; Urban 9/78/1; Ryan 5/23/0; Lopez 1/1/0.
Receiving: Lopez 3/44/1; Urban 2/18/0; Malocha 1/12/0.
Leading tacklers: Szatkowski 11; Clay Nadolsky, Malocha, Alex Hincka, Bober 8; Ryan and Colton Fessler 6; Urban and Matt Rhode 4; Lopez 3; Corey Grulke and Blake Fessler 2; Henry 1.