Boys Varsity Football · Maconaquah survives shootout at Rochester, 41-27

41 Maconaquah High School
27 Rochester High School
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Maconaquah High School vs Rochester High School
41 27
1 13   7
2 14   6
3 7   7
4 7   7

The Maconaquah Braves closed out regular season play with a 41-27 victory at Rochester Friday night. The Braves, now 7-2 overall, finished 7-1 in the Three Rivers Conference with the win. Southwood defeated Tipp Valley, 21-7, to remain unbeaten (9-0) and take the TRC crown with an 8-0 league record. Rochester is now 3-6 overall (3-5 TRC).
Carter Little, celebrating his birthday, made it one to remember as he took the opening kickoff and raced 90 yards to paydirt before Brave fans had settled in for the evening.
After forcing a punt, Maconaquah scored again midway through the quarter when fullback Bryce Smyth bulled his way in from five yards out. RIchie Leary’s PAT made it 13-0.
After Rochester trimmed it to 13-7 with a 84-yard scoring drive, Maconaquah fought back with one of its patented time-consuming long drives. Taking over at their own 14, the Braves ran 17 plays, eating up 7:21 of clock before Jared “Pooch” Blake bulled his way in from a yard out. Leary’s PAT boot gave MHS a 20-7 lead with 5:27 left.
The Zebras put together a quick four-play drive that covered 56 yards to trim it to 20-13, before Little struck again and continued his assault on the Maconaquah record books. The speedy junior took the ensuing kickoff at his own nine. After getting some key blocks from his teammates at midfield, he raced in untouched for the score. Leary’s kick shoved the lead to 27-13 at intermission. It was the first time in Maconaquah history that a player had returned two kickoffs for TD’s in the same game.
Rochester became the first team this year to score against Maconaquah in the third quarter after putting together a 12-play scoring drive that covered 66 yards.
Leading 27-20, Brave quarterback Nolan Kelly hit Little with a short pass and two plays later handed off to Little and watched him take it to the house from 56 yards out.
Leary’s extra-point kick gave Mac a 34-20 lead with 2:29 left in the third stanza. The touchdown was Little’s 22nd of the year and broke Cody Hicks’ single-season scoring mark (126) set in 2013.
Rochester charged back, taking advantage of a Brave turnover and a short field, to trim it to 34-27 with 11:02 remaining in the game. The Zebras still had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth after stopping a Brave drive deep in Rochester territory.
Taking over at their own nine, the hosts moved to the 15 and were staring at a big fourth-and-four. Big Garrett Spohn broke through the line and got the big qb sack, giving Mac the ball only 10 yards from paydirt.
Facing a third-and-19, Blake took a handoff and carried the pigskin and a bevy of Zebra defenders with him to the goal line for the score. Leary’s perfect PAT provided the final count, 41-27. Blake finished the game with 94 yards on 16 carries, while Little surpassed the 100-yard mark for the eighth straight game with 110 yards on 21 attempts.
Matt Ingram led all Brave tacklers with 11stops and a fumble caused. Spohn was credited with eight tackles, including a pair of quarterback sacks. Cole Wininger and Little each had six tackles. Aaron McKinley led the special team effort by blocking a punt and PAT attempt.
The Braves will take the second-longest winning streak in school history into next weeks Sectional 27 home contest with Fort Wayne Lutheran Concordia.