Giveaways plagued Burlington Central in a 29-21 Big Northern Conference crossover defeat at Rock Falls on Friday night.
"Turnovers were definitely an issue; I think we had five," Central coach Rich Crabel said. "Our preparation was good and we knew what they were going to do. We just didn't make plays defensively when we had the opportunity to, and we had a few too many turnovers."
Three times Rock Falls (2-6) took leads, and three times the offense of Burlington Central (5-3) responded. Sophomore Trevor Davison scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards, his second touchdown tying the game 15-15 in the third quarter.
However, a subsequent Burlington Central interception was returned inside its own 20-yard line, and Rock Falls scored the go-ahead touchdown shortly thereafter.
Central responded with a long march, capped by a fade pass for a touchdown from junior Casey Matthews to senior receiver Joe Breeden with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter. However, a bad snap on the extra point left Rock Falls holding a 22-21 lead.
Rock Falls recovered a squib kick drove to the Central 15-yard line. Facing 4th-and-7, Rock Falls quarterback Jacob Mammosser scrambled to his right and connected with senior Austin Babcock in the corner of the end zone for the final margin of victory with 1:30 left in the game.
The already extensive Burlington Central injury list expanded when senior center Kyle Holtz left with a leg injury and did not return.
"I'm not very good about making any excuses," Crabel said. "It's definitely a disappointment. We felt we had opportunities to win the game. They have some nice athletes on that team and they do some nice things, but we just didn't take advantage of our opportunities."
The Rockets, who are playoff eligible, can still make some noise in the Big Northern East next week when they host North Boone. Richmond handed North Boone its first loss of the season, 35-14, Friday night.