Burlington Central notches first win
Due to some injuries, Burlington Central head coach Rich Crabel was forced to move some players around, including moving quarterback Casey Matthews to running back and giving Parth Patel his first start of the season under center.
Both moves worked out pretty well for the Rockets as Matthews scored the game's first touchdown with a 20-yard run and Patel ran the offense flawlessly in leading Burlington Central to a 34-0 victory in its Big Northern East opener against Rockford Christian Friday night on Rocket Hill.
"Casey can play a number of positions," said Crabel. "And Parth did a nice job for us running the offense."
Rockford Christian (0-3, 0-1) moved the ball early behind the short passing game of quarterback Nolan Gazouski but two drives stalled and resulted in missed field goals. After that, the Rockets' (1-2, 1-0) defense stiffened and the Lions never really threatened again.
Following the missed field goal, the Rockets went right back to work as Patel hit Matthews with a 43-yard completion deep into Lions' territory. Reilly Marino finished off the drive with a 4 yard TD run that gave Burlington Central a 14-0 lead. Marino was the leading rusher in the game, gaining 102 yards on 18 carries.
"Reilly is a powerhouse, give him the ball and he'll run over anyone," said Matthews.
"Reilly works hard day in and day out in the weight room, he's just a truck no one can stop him," added Patel.
The Rockets extended their lead early in the third quarter when Jonathan Frederickson picked off a pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 21-0.
The Rockets fumbled deep in their own territory on the next drive, giving the Lions the ball at the Rockets' 33, but Anton Christiansen registered his second sack of the game and again the Lions came away without any points.
"Defensively we haven't been as good as we wanted to be in our first two games," said Crabel. "We went through some growing pains against two really good football teams and our kids played pretty well tonight."
Patel got his first touchdown pass of the year on the next drive for the Rockets when he hit Ian Napiorkowski with a 31-yard strike down the sidelines that made it 27-0. Napiorkowski had a game-high 5 receptions for 84 yards.
"Coach told me just make my reads and make the throw and he was open so I got it to him," said Patel. "I was nervous at first but my coaches and my teammates motivated me to do better and to stay focused and everyone supported me the whole way."
Burlington Central's final score came late in the fourth quarter when Tim Goehrke broke through the middle of the line for a 22-yard TD run.