The 27-14 victory over Montevideo Friday earned Rockford sole possession of the Midstate District Red football title, a first league crown since 1963.
“The guys are excited about the district championship,” said Houghton. “Now we need to focus on getting through the rest of the regular season and see where we stack up in a very difficult section with five of the top 12 teams in Class 3A.”
The Rockets head to Royalton in a non-district match up, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. It will be the first meeting between the two schools that are both 5-1 this season.
“Hats off to Montevideo, making us work for everything we got,” said coach Dan Houghton. “There were so many fourth down plays that decided this game. Our guys stepped up and made plays when they had too.”
Rockford’s defense stopped Montevido’s first drive on four downs, taking over at mid-field. On its own fourth down attempt, quarterback Sam Zilmer found tight end Wes Overton to set up a one-yard touchdown run by Connor McCracken.
Caleb Richards sacked the quarterback on a fourth down play. Montevideo did capitalize on a Rockford fumble and scored to take an 8-6 lead.
Rockford answered when Zilmer found Alex Altmann over the middle for 41 yards, passed 23 yards to Overton and finished the drive with a 7-yard pass to Overton. Rockford took a 12-8 halftime lead.
In the second half Montevideo had third down and goal when Jaxon Maki tipped the pass that was intercepted by Patrick Andry.
Montevideo tried a fake punt on fourth down and Overton stopped the attempt. It was fourth down for Rockford when Zilmer avoided defenders before he found Henry Skinner in the endzone from 30 yards out. Skinner then ran for the 2-point conversion.
Skinner was not done yet, gaining 42 yards on two rushes. Maki added a 3-yard touchdown run with three minutes left.
Zilmer was 8 of 11 for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Skinner had five carries for 45 yards and four receptions for 48 yards and one touchdown.
Caleb Richards had five carries for 24 yards. Overton had three catches for 52 yards and one touchdown. Altmann, Perry, McCracken and Richards each had a catch.
Defensively, Richards led with 13 tackles. Andry had nine, Hayden Johnson and Overton both had eight, Maki and Perry each had six tackles and Winston Smith and Mitch Dorbor both had five.
Andry also had one interception, four tackles for loss and one sack. Maki and Smith each had three tackles for loss.
The final regular season game is at home against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Volleyball goes to 15-2
Rockford’s volleyball team had one match last week resulting in a 3-0 victory over Dassel-Cokato, upping the season record to 15-2.
Lauren Loegering had 14 kills and four blocks. Sophie Bremel added 12 kills and four blocks. Lauren Schuman provided 28 set assists. Kylee Sauers had 11 digs and Deilys Anderson Rodriguez had six ace serves.
The Rockets end the regular season at home against Glencoe-Silver Lake, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14. Section tournament seeding takes place Oct. 20.