BY DAVID PEDERSEN
It was another year and another close Rockford-Kimball football game. It took two overtimes before Kimball pulled out a 33-26 victory last Friday.
In the past four meetings, in only one game has the victor won by more than one touchdown. Last year Kimball pulled out a 19-18 victory.
The Rockets started the game with a great defensive stand and could have used one more at the end. Kimball’s first drive was stopped on Rockford’s 1-yard line.
Rockford headed the other way, scoring on an 85-yard run by Nick Suardi. Kimball responded with a 4-yard touchdown pass to go up 7-6.
Both teams played the field position game until Kimball took advantage of a Rocket turnover, taking a 14-6 halftime lead.
Rockford fumbled again on the first drive on the second half, leading to a 10-yard scoring pass for Kimball. The Rockets started its comeback on a 46-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brock Deering to Brendon Schumacher. Deering ran in the 2-point conversion, making the score 20-14 for the Cubs.
Coach Dan Houghton said the defense played a great second half. Plus, when the offense was not shooting itself in the foot with a turnover or penalty, it was marching up and down the field.
With 4:30 left in regulation time, Deering hit Schumacher in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked and the score was tied at 20. On the play kicker Nick Tully was hit hard and knocked out of the game, leaving Rockford without its top punter and field goal kicker.
In the 1st overtime, Deering scored on a 3-yard run and then was tackled on the 2-point conversion attempt.
Kimball turned a fourth down a goal on the 13-yard line into a touchdown pass. The missed extra point try sent the game into a second overtime.
After Kimball scored on a 2-yard run and added the point after, Rockford’s drive was halted on the Kimball 2-yard line.
“This is a tough way to lose,” said Houghton. “It was a battle all night and our guys never quit. If we make one more play at any point in the game, we are on the winning side of this one. It will be a tough game to swallow, but we need to learn from this loss and get better from it.”
The Rockets outgained the Cubs 331-307. Suardi rushed for 163 yards on 28 carries. Deering completed 10 of 23 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Schumacher had four catches for 81 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Jake Clouse led the way with 13 tackles and a forced fumble. Sasha Galka had 10 tackles and Ben Arens added nine. Arens and Jordan Redepenning each had an interception.
This week the Rockets play at undefeated Maple Lake (3-0). Last year Maple Lake won 33-7 on their way to the state tournament.