Rich Crabel not only urged his Burlington Central football team all week to get that all important sixth 'W', the Rockets' coach suggested that they get a 'C' as well.
"Our kids were looking to make a statement tonight. Our theme all week was 'we get this one, we get that 'C' next to our name, and it says clinch," Crabel said after the Rockets' Big Northern East affair Friday night at Rocket Hill.
Not only did they get that "C", they did so in grand fashion.
For the first time since 2007, the Rockets are playoff bound after stomping on North Boone, 49-7. The win doubled BC's total from last year and it allows the Rockets to aim at an all-important seventh win next week, which could do a number of good things for them.
"At 7-2 you got a good shot at being at home," Crabel said. "And that's what we've been talking about. We get to that 7-2 mark, we catch enough playoff points, we want a home playoff game. They want a home playoff game, so they'll be up for next week (at Marengo)."
The Rockets (6-2, 3-1) had a playoff goal in mind from the beginning, but it all depended on a change of attitude hosted by Crabel. The kids bought in.
"It was the goal at the beginning of the year and it feels good locking it in," tailback Joel Bouagnon said. "You can talk it, but now definitely, we're in the playoffs, so we're locked in."
Locked in, how about locked and loaded? After a scoreless first quarter for either team, the Rockets lit a fuse.
When a high snap on a Viking punt at the North Boone 40 went astray, Nate Reed scooped up the fumble at the Viking 14 and 3 plays later quarterback Ryan Ritchie found Zach Ranney for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Rockets a 7-0 lead with 9:11 left in the second quarter.
Ritchie added another passing touchdown on Burlington's next drive, a 17-yard pass to Andrew Yarwood who dove to his left, landing with the ball on the goal line for the Central's second score.
North Boone (4-4. 1-3) climbed back in it with 9-yard touchdown run by running back A.J. Briggs, but Burlington wasn't done. And it had a trick up its sleeve.
The Rockets went with a play they call "48-reverse-pass" on the first play of the next series. It worked to perfection. Ritchie handed it off to Bouagnon, Bouagnon then went to Ranney on the reverse, and Ranney launched it to Yarwood for a 63-yard hook up down the right sideline. Bouagnon punched it in from 7 yards out a play later and all of a sudden Central was up 22-7.
"We ran it a couple times and it never really worked," Ritchie said. "I always get really excited when that play gets called, that means I get to run for a pass, and may be get a catch. We always make sure Ranney's out there so he can throw the ball pretty well."
The Rockets kept adding on as the game went on. Ritchie finished with 4 touchdown throws for 147 yards passing, completing 11 of 19 attempts. Bouagnon racked up 115 yards rushing on 13 carries, including 2 touchdown runs.
"We started finding little gaps here and there, and you get him a couple of blocks, he's going to be pretty successful," Crabel said of Bouagnon.
The Vikings rushed for a negative 6 yards and finished with 166 yards of total offense, being outgained 360-166 by the Rockets.
"We're constantly telling them how proud we are of them. Even when we don't do things great, we still play hard," Crabel said.