By Dave Pedersen
Crow River News Sports
Rockford football put the first-week loss behind it and focused on doing better the second week against Melrose. The result was a 36-13 home victory.
It did not look promising early after Melrose stopped a long Rockford drive that went 54 yards on nine plays with an interception in the end zone.
Conner McCracken had powered the drive by gaining 38 yards on five carries. Melrose then flipped the field and scored on a 33-yard quarterback run.
Rockford answered with tight end Wes Overton scoring on a 17-yard run to tie the game.
A big defensive stop by Winston Smith and Caleb Richards put the ball back into Rockford’s hands. This time quarterback Sam Zilmer scored on a 5-yard run. Backup quarterback Henry Skinner found Harrison Brun for the 2-point conversion.
Melrose scored with 54 seconds left in the half to close the gap to 15-13. It took Rockford one play to answer when Zilmer passed to Alex Altmann for a 59-yard touchdown, making it 21-13 at the half.
Early in the second half Overton returned an interception 55 yards for the score. Brun’s interception stopped another Melrose drive.
Zilmer found Overton across the middle for a 44-yard touchdown play to make the final 36-13 Overton had three touchdowns, one running, one catching and one on an interception.
Zilmer was 3 of 6 passing for 129 yards and two touchdowns. McCracken had seven carries for 42 yards. Richards rushed four times for 24 yards, Skinner gained 18 yards on three carries and Overton had 22 yards on his two carries.
Leading tacklers were Overton and Perry with eight. Smith had seven tackles, while Hayden Johnson, Richards and Nathan Woodward each had five.
Jaxon Maki and Smith each had a sack while Overton and Brun each had one interception.
“We lost our heads a little bit and that isn’t how we do things,” said coach Dan Houghton. “But in the end we will learn from it and stay composed. It was a complete team victory with offense, defense and special teams. When all the groups are playing well we will be tough to beat.”
The Rockets stay at home for a game against Morris, 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, in what will be the first meeting in school histories. Rockford is 1-1 while Morris is 2-0.