BY DAVID PEDERSEN
A 21-0 loss to Holdingford last Wednesday will not discourage Rockford football players entering the Class 3A, Section 2 playoffs.
The main reason is the memory of last year’s amazing playoff run is fresh in the minds. Rockford was in a similar situation with a low section seed but upset No. 1 DeLaSalle before losing the title game by a point to Providence Academy in overtime.
Another reason for optimism is how the Rockets have played well at times this season despite the 2-6 record.
“Our defense played well enough to win, but we didn’t do anything offensively,” said head coach Dan Houghton. “If we make a big play on either side of the ball, this is a lot closer game. We just need to get back to playing fundamental football going into the playoffs so we can make a run.”
Rockford was given the No. 5 section seed and opened at No. 4 Breck Tuesday, after this issue went to press. The winner will take on No. 1 seed Providence Academy, 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. Watertown-Mayer is the No. 2 seed and Minneapolis Patrick Henry is No. 3.
Houghton said his team has a losing record, but it helped to get ready for the playoffs by facing so many strong teams in the Central Minnesota Conference.
The Rockets lost the lead in the second half of three games. Had the team held on to the wins the playoff picture could have been drastically different.
Holdingford finished the regular season at 6-2. After falling behind 8-0 a Rocket drive was stopped by an interception. With 14 seconds left in the half Holdingford connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass to grab a 15-0 lead at the break.
In the second half Rockford’s defense continued to play well and the offense continued to struggle to find a rhythm. Holdingford scored in the fourth quarter to make the final 21-0.
Linebacker Ben Arens paced the defense with 15 tackles. Tackle Dylan Fitzsimmons had 10 tackles and linebacker Jake Clouse added nine. Linemen Joe Heffernan and Jordan Hubbs each had a quarterback sack.
Deering completed 5 of 10 passes for 54 yards. Nick Suardi gained 25 yards on 10 rushes. Brody Harstad caught 2 passes for 36 yards. Jordan Redepenning had two catches for 18 yards and Brendon Schumacher had two catches for 26 yards.
For the playoffs, Deering will lead the offense at quarterback. His running backs are Redepenning and Suardi and receivers Schumacher and Harstad. John-Luke Singh is the tight end.
The offensive line has Joe Heffernan, Karsten Poulsen, George Faue, Jordan Hubbs and Duqueiro Cano. Top subs on offense are running back Tommy Reinking, receiver Jesse Gabler, tight end Adam Jakes and linemen Joseph Agre and Fitzsimmons.
Defensive ends are Zach Nelson and Alex Shaikoski. Interior linemen are Fitzsimmons, plus brothers Andrew and Matthew Meuwissen.
Linebackers are Logan Suko, Ben Arens and Jake Clouse. Defensive backs are Sasha Galka, Jeremy Bingham and Schumacher. Top defensive subs are end Jordan Hubbs, linemen Joe Heffernan and Karsten Poulsen, linebacker Kane Vogel and defensive backs Conner Soligny and Jordan Redepenning.