RAPID RIVER - With the powerhouse Engadine Eagles heading to town, this game had all the makings of a shootout, and it certainly lived up to the hype. 100 total points were scored, and the Rockets came out on the winning end, 60-40.
"This was a heck of a football game," said Rapid River coach Steve Ostrenga. "This is the stuff that brings a team together."
It definitely didn't take either team to get off to a quick start. Rapid River broke into the end zone on just the third play of the game on a 58-yard touchdown run by Jake Pearson.
Paul Gerard photo
Rapid River quarterback Jake pearson finds a hole in thie first half and runs for a touchdown against Engadine. Rapid River won 60-40.
Paul Gerard photo
Rapid River's Jake Pearson dives for the end zone during the third quarter Friday against Engadine.
The Rockets looked like they had the game in hand when Pearson ran in for his second touchdown in the first quarter, making it 14-0. However, the Eagles were dead set on making this a scoring contest.
Engadine put themselves on the scoreboard with a 45 yard touchdown pass from Robert Miller to Jeffery Bomber, and added the two-point conversion. All of a sudden, it looked like a ball game again.
From there, the two teams traded shots back and forth, with neither team able to really get an edge in scoring until the Rockets final drive of the half. They finished off a scoring drive with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Pearson to Robert Metter, making the halftime score 36-26.
Rapid River 22 14 8 16 - 60
Engadine 8 18 8 6 - 40
Engadine, 330 yards (Miller 15-131); Collins (18-118); McArthur (1-44).
Rapid River, 303 yards (Pearson 22-228); Orth (11-40); Bero (9-35).
Engadine, (Miller 1-4-1-45).
Rapid River, (Pearson 5-8-0-136).
The Eagles weren't done making it interesting though. On their first drive of the third quarter, Victor Collins ran it in for a 17-yard touchdown, and then added the two-point conversion to make it 36-34.
Rapid River's defense really kicked in at this point, and their offense did their job putting distance between them and the Eagles. The Rockets went on to score 24 unanswered points, and by the time they were done scoring, there was only 3:38 remaining in the game.
Engadine did put together one last scoring drive, capped off by a 44-yard touchdown run by Forrest McArthur that ended with five seconds in the fourth quarter.
"This is what I thought it would be," said Engadine coach Lester Livermore Jr. "I knew (Rapid River) would be bigger and stronger than our guys. I knew we had to play a perfect game to win."
He added that he felt Pearson was the difference in the game, having rushed for three touchdowns and throwing for three more. "Without him, we may have had a better chance."
The Rockets' coach was excited for his team, but still believes they can do more.
"We've got some things to work on," Ostrenga said. "They can still get better."
Rapid River resumes Sept. 28 when they host Cedarville.