10/6/2017 12:22:00 PM Furious Barrett-led comeback falls short against Rogers
You don’t win many games when you turn the ball over four times, like the Wildcat football team did in their game against the Rogers Royals last Friday night.
Trailing by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats were able to stage a late comeback try on the arm of backup quarterback Mitch Barrett. But the Royals were able to run-out the clock at the end and beat the Wildcats 34-28 at Chisago Lakes High School.
Just over a minute into the first quarter, Wildcat quarterback Henry Trost ran for 32 yards to give the Wildcats a first down at the Rogers 38. But the Wildcats fumbled on the next play and Ben McNaboe scooped up the ball and ran 62 yards for a touchdown to put the Royals up 7-0. Barrett came in to play quarterback on the next series for the Wildcats. The Wildcats moved the ball again, but fumbled on a pitch attempt and the Royals recovered the ball at their own 33 yard line. Their drive stalled at the Wildcat 46. But the ensuing punt rolled dead at the Wildcat one yard line. The Wildcats managed one first down, but were eventually forced to punt from their own 19. After a 20 yard punt return, the Royals took over at the Wildcat 31. They scored two plays later on a 31 yard touchdown pass to go up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. With Trost back in at quarterback, the Wildcats again moved the ball on the ensuing possession. On third and three from the Royal 12, Chase Hemme took a pitch left, put a shake and bake move on a Rogers defender and raced into the end zone untouched. Ryan Mower converted the extra point and the Wildcat had cut the lead to 14-7 with 9:22 left in the second quarter.
The Wildcat defense held the Royals to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, forcing them to punt from their own 26. But the Wildcats muffed the punt and Rogers recovered at the Wildcat 35. Three plays later, Rogers quarterback Cole Larson scored on a nine yard run and the Royals led 21-7 with 6:32 left in the second quarter. On the ensuing possession, the Wildcat offense again moved the ball well, but the drive stalled at the Royal 35. The Wildcat defense then forced another three and out and a punt. The Royals did the same. But the Wildcat punt only travelled eight yards and the Royals took over at the Wildcat 44. The Royals drove to the brink of the end zone, but ended up settling for a 20 yard field goal by Bjorn Charles to give them a 24-7 lead as time expired in the first half.
Rogers opened the second half with a 14 play drive that stalled at the Wildcat 39. They downed the punt on the Wildcat 13. Unfortunately, the Wildcats once again had trouble holding on to the ball. They fumbled on the first play and Rogers recovered. But two plays later, Terrell Ayers recovered a fumble for the Wildcats and they took over at their own two yard line. After a three and out and a punt, the Royals took over at the Wildcat 40. Six plays later, Charles hit a 40 yard line drive field goal and the Royals led 27-7 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
After the teams exchanged punts, the Wildcats had the ball first and 10 on the Rogers 47 and Barrett came back in at quarterback. Passes to Trost and Matt Mohr highlighted a nine play drive. On first down at the 15, Mohr took a pitch right, cut upfield at the numbers and had a beautiful spin move at the seven. He was grabbed at the two, but leaned forward and extended the ball over the goal line for a touchdown to cut the Royal lead to 27-14 with 7:21 to go in the game. Rogers moved the ball downfield quickly on the ensuing drive, including a 36 yard pass completion. They scored on a 15 yard run and led 34-14 with 4:53 to go. On third and seven from their own 42 on the ensuing drive, Barrett hit Mohr down the middle and only an ankle tackle at the 12 kept Mohr from scoring. After Barrett hit Dalton Wood with a pass that got the ball down to the one, fullback Manuel Rosario took it in from there and the Wildcats had cut the lead to 34-21 with 3:25 left to go. The Wildcats tried an onside kick, but the Royals recovered. The defense held and, after the punt, the Wildcats took over at their own 19. On the first play, Barrett dropped back and hit Peter Vitalis in stride about 40 yards down the right side of the field. Vitalis broke an ankle tackle and raced into the end zone to make the score 34-28 with 1:40 to go. The Wildcats were again unsuccessful on an onside kick. The Wildcats called their final timeout after the first Rogers play, but couldn’t stop the clock. Rogers ran two more plays to end the game, stopping an amazing comeback attempt by the Wildcats.
Head coach Weiss said, “Unfortunately, you cannot make mistakes like we made against a good team. They really only had one scoring drive that started on their own side of the 50 “Field position and turnovers were the name of the game.”
Barrett seemed to spark the offense when he came into the game. “I give Mitch a lot of credit,” said Weiss, “to come into a game in that position. You never know when you’ll be called upon and asked to perform. He went in and did what we asked him to do for the better part of the fourth quarter. Our quarterbacks have different sets of talents and Friday night they were able to show how they complement each other.”
The Wildcat defense played well in this one. Wiess said, “They didn’t seem to get too tired out. Their backs were against the wall several times and they responded and kept the game within reach. Three of our defenders were very consistent. Owen Dresel had a nice game at inside linebacker. And Dalton Wood and Ryan Marx both had nice games along the defensive line.”
Football Notes The Wildcats (0-5) will play the Fighting Saints (1-4) at St. Francis tomorrow night Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. Weiss said, “We have familiarity with St. Francis, having played them the last several years. We always have good game against them and we always bring out the best in each other. And the games are very entertaining.”