Wartburg downs Rockwood, 27-14

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By Goose Lindsay

Some nights you just don't have it.

Friday night was one of those nights for the Rockwood Tigers as John Webb's squad were knocked off by Wartburg at Civitan Field, 27-14.

“We didn't play well at all,” Tiger head coach John Webb said after watching his team's three-game winning streak come to an end. “They outplayed and out coached us. We made a lot of stupid mistakes tonight.”

Things didn't seem that bad for the Tigers early on, however, as the score was tied 7-7 after the first of play.

Wartburg got the ball first and drove 84 yards in 14 plays before QB Rusty Phillips scored on a one yard sneak with 6:40 left in the period. Phillips' arm also played a big part in the drive as he completed 4 of 5 passes for 53 yards.

Rockwood answered Wartburg's scoring drive with a nine-play, 68-yard scoring drive that ended in Dillon Deardorff scoring from two yards out. 

Deardorff also had a 17-yard run in the drive while QB Lucas Jolley completed a pair of passes for 40 yards, including a 29-yard toss to TE Josh Boles.

Things, however, started going south for the Tigers early in the second quarter. 

Rockwood appeared to have stopped the Bulldogs two into the second quarter, but the Tigers roughed Wartburg's punter on fourth-and-eight and that penalty proved huge as Wartburg scored on their next play from scrimmage.

The Bulldogs touchdown was a thing of beauty as Wartburg head coach Dan Shoemaker reached deep into his bag of tricks and pulled out a double pass that resulted in a 29-yard pass from Austin Langley to Adam Spence.

Langley then came up big on the extra point attempt as he took a bad snap and out ran Rockwood defenders to the pylon to make the score 15-7 with 10:50 left in the second quarter.

Rockwood punted the ball away on their next possession and Wartburg scored four plays later as Phillips and Spence hooked up from 49 yards out to put the finishing touches on an 80-yard drive that made the score 21-7 with 6:49 left in the first half.

Rockwood wasn't able to put together a drive on their next possession, but it did appear the Tigers would go into the locker room trailing by 14 as Wartburg had the ball on their side of the field late in the half.

The field position, however, didn't hurt the Bulldogs as Phillips scored from 62 yards away with 27.6 seconds left in the half to cap a five-play, 74-yard drive.

Wartburg's two-point try failed, leaving the score 27-6 at halftime.

Rockwood's defense played better in the second half, but the Tigers offense never found a rhythm against a tough Bulldog defense.

The Tigers fumbled the ball away on their first possession of the third period and they punted the ball away on their second possession.

The score was still 27-6 heading into the fourth quarter and the Tigers did put together a nine-play drive that reached the Bulldogs 29 to start the final period, but a key third down sack by Bulldog LB Aaron Hutchison helped kill the drill. 

After a Wartburg punt, Rockwood made things interesting as they drove 71 yards for a score in only three plays. Rockwood's scoring play came on a 49-yard pass from Jolley to Deardorff that made the score 27-14 with 4:35 left to play.

Rockwood then recovered an onside kick as those in attendance at Civitan Field were starting to have thoughts of a miracle ending for the Tigers, but any thoughts of a miraculous comeback ended six plays later when Spence picked off a Jolley pass at the 17 yard line.

Wartburg ended the night with 442 yards of total offense with 236 yards coming on the ground while 206 coming through the air.

Phillips had a great night for the Bulldogs as he completed 14 of 21 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown while he carried the ball 13 times for 104 yards and two more scores.

Spence caught both touchdowns and ended the evening with 122 yards and nine receptions.

Rockwood countered with 248 yards of total offense on 53 plays.

Most of Rockwood's yards came through the air as Jolley completed 12 of 28 passes for 190 yards. Boles (4-71) and Deardorff (3-71-1 TD) were the Tigers leading receivers.

Rockwood (4-3) will look to bounce back next week when they visit Midway (0-7) in a key District 3-A contest.

Rockwood Statistics

Rushing- Deardorff 8-47 with 1 TD, Smith 7-14, Campbell 4-8, Jolley 4-(-9), Team 1-(-2).

Passing- Jolley 12 of 28 for 190 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT., Deardorff 0-1.

 Receiving- Kirkland 1-11, Boles 4-71, Freels 1-21, Deardorff 3-71 with 1 TD, Webster 2-13, Smith 1-13.