RAPID RIVER -The Cedarville Trojans likely won't have any challengers in the Bridge Alliance Conference this year. Not if they keep playing with the intensity they did tonight against Rapid River.
In a game that was essentially over after the first quarter, the Trojans decimated the Rockets 70-12 in an outcome no one outside of Cedarville likely saw coming.
Both teams were 5-0 coming in, and each had recorded impressive victory after impressive victory over the past two seasons. On Rapid River's homecoming, the matchup did not live up to its billing.
Keith Shelton |?Daily Press
Rapid River quarterback Jake Pearson looks for space to run in the first quarter against Cedarville at Rapid River High School Friday night.
It wasn't for lack of effort by the Rockets, but by the end of the game, Rapid River was shuffling positions.
Eli Orth was hurt early in the first quarter and did not return and in a scary moment in the third quarter, Robert Metter took a hard hit to the head on a kick return, that left him immobilized for over 20 minutes before being carried off.
"We'll know more tomorrow, but Robert can feel all his extremities," said Rapid River coach Steve Ostrenga. "He got hit and his head went back. It's one of those things we'll have to find out and see.
Score by quarters:
Cedarville 29 7 26 8 - 70
Rapid River 0 6 6 0 - 12
C - Kaden Barbeaux, 15-yard run, Ellis kick, 7:06
C - Todd Hecht, 11-yard reception from Bobby Krackowski, 2pt pass, 5:43
C - Hecht, 12-yard run, kick failed, 1:34
C - Hecht, 40-yard fumble return, 2pt run, 0:36
C - Hecht, 31-yard reception from Krackowski, Ellis kick, 9:41
RR - Riley Pajnich, 47-yard run, 2pt pass failed, 4:39
RR - Robert Metter, 100-yard kick return, 2pt pass failed, 11:40
C - Barbeaux, 1-yard run, 2pt run, 8:29
C - Barbeaux, 6-yard run, 2pt pass, 7:41
C - Hecht. 63-yard run, 2pt pass, 3:09
C - Safety, high snap into end zone, 1:09
C - Barbeaux, 58-yard run, 2pt run, 11:36
"When Eli went down early, we lost our defensive end and Jake Pearson hurt his hamstring. Wen Robert went out, we were plugging guys in positions they're not used to playing. We fought hard though."
On the Trojan's second play from scrimmage, Metter intercepted quarterback Bobby Krackowski, about the only thing that went wrong for Cedarville (6-0) all night.
Kaden Barbeaux and Todd Hecht made short work of the Rockets defense. Barbeaux rushed for 146 yards and four touchdowns while Hecht had 114 yards and two touchdowns with two more receiving touchdowns.
Krackowski was 5-9 passing for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
The Trojans also returned a first quarter fumble, 40 yards for a touchdown.
Cedarville coach Scott Barr wasn't interested in basking in the big victory, knowing that his team, as good as they are, is also only an injury away from it all unraveling.
"I like to play one game at a time. People like to ask me where I'm going to be at the end and I don't know," he said. "Good teams lose all the time and I think we have a solid group here, but you're one injury away from changing your season. You have to keep your mental focus, you don't want to get fat and happy."
Each team came in with a plan to stop the opposition's top player. Cedarville accomplished that goal in spades, shutting down Pearson. The Rockets quarterback was 1-6 passing for four yards and had 10 yards rushing.
"Rapid River has a pretty good football team and we thought Pearson was going to be all over the field," said Barr. "We put a lot of pressure on him from three different angles. We know he's elusive and we know they spread the ball to run him. We wanted to bring pressure on the inside and the outside and I thought the boys delivered real well."
The Rockets had just 90 yards of total offense, 47 of those coming on Riley Pajnich's 47-yard blast in the second quarter. It was the Rockets only touchdown on offense and came one play after an outstanding run by Pearson - in which he leapt over and juked defenders - was negated by a holding penalty.
"We knew they had a very experienced team, very well coached and they run their system very well," said Ostrenga. "We were hoping to take away (Barbeaux), We were hoping to shadow their screens and take away their outside sweeps."
Rapid's other score came when Metter impressively ran the second-half opening kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown, weaving through defenders before blasting off in the open field.
Other than those two bursts there wasn't much to get excited about, with the exception of Micah Hill and Kristy Kerstner being named Homecoming King and Queen at half-time.
Ostrenga said the key thing was to move on from this game.
"We're going to pick up the pieces this week. Coach Tyler Keuhl had a good comment. He said 'let it hurt tonight, but tomorrow is a new day.' This is adversity. You teach life lessons and sometimes you don't like the outcome. We just had nobody else on the sideline to put in," he said.
Rapid River (5-1) travels to Superior Central (4-1), which had a bye this week, on Saturday.