Rockford football earns share of league title with 43-12 victory

Carter Edwards (75) and Alex Altmann (85) sack the Minnewaska quarterback in a 43-12 Rockford victory Friday. (Photo by Heidi Sanderson)

A week after Rockford upended No. 1 Pierz, Rockford’s football team kept rolling in a 43-12 victory over Minnewaska Friday, Oct. 1.

“We got everyone into the game on both sides of the ball and it’s a special moment for this team to be able to celebrate a victory on homecoming and get a share of the first league title since 1963,” said coach Dan Houghton. “So proud of these guys for all the time they put in and they believed that we could finally get another banner on the wall.”

Houghton said he was glad so many former players came back for homecoming to witness history. He adds, “This isn’t just about these guys on the field, it’s about our entire program and community.”

Minnewaska got the ball first and went on the 10-play, 77-yard drive, ending with a 34-yard touchdown run. It was the fifth game in a row where Rockford gave up the early 6-0 lead.

“Our defense struggled on the first drive and after that they completely took over,” said Houghton. “Offensively, we were able to move the ball and get a lot of players involved on offense. Special teams played well too.”

Five plays after Minnewaska scored Rockford’s Patrick Andry walked into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown run, set up when quarterback Sam Zilmer connected with Wes Overton for a 36-yard gain.

On its next possession Zilmer found Overton again, this time for a gain of 25 yards. Caleb Richards finished the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Henry Skinner passed to Harrison Brun for the 2-point conversion.

Rockford’s offense kept going with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Zilmer to Overton. Conner McCracken scored on a 4-yard run. Skinner found Afton Kaul for his first catch of the season, resulting in a 7-yard touchdown as Rockford built a 36-6 halftime lead.

Meanwhile, the defense forced Minnewaska into five three downs and out in a row following the touchdown.

In the second half, Rockford added one more score before getting everyone in the game on both sides of the ball. The last score came on a 35-yard screen pass from Zilmer to McCracken.

The Lakers were able to score in the fourth quarter to make the final 43-12.

Zilmer was 5 for 7 passing for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Skinner was 2 for 2 for 10 yards and a score. Overton had four catches for 118 yards and one touchdown. Both McCracken and Kaul had one catch resulting in touchdowns.

McCracken had nine carries for 58 yards and a touchdown. Logan Stedman rushed five times for 48 yards. Richards gained 22 yards on five carries.

Defensively, Richards led with eight tackles and Andry had six. Collecting five tackles each included Hayden Johnson, Avery MacDonald, Jaxon Maki and Wilson Sanderson.

Andry and Alex Altmann each had a quarterback sack and Overton had an interception. Andry and Edwards each had a fumble recovery and Nolan Perry had a forced fumble.

The Rockets head to Montevideo Friday, Oct. 8 in the attempt to win the Midstate District Red championship outright. Rockford is 4-1 overall and 4-0 in district play. Montevideo is 1-4 overall.

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