By Justin Marietti
PERKINS - The Mid Peninsula Wolverines (2-6) went play-for-play against their rival, the Rapid River Rockets (7-1), for the opening quarter of Friday night's game, but the Rockets blew it wide open in the second quarter, with a monster performance from quarterback Jake Pearson to lead them to a 60-36 victory.
Justin Marietti | Daily Press
Rapid River quarterback Jake Pearson looks for space during a first quarter run Friday at Mid Peninsula. Pearson rushed for 388 yards in the Rockets 60-36 victory.
"They've been talking about this game all year," said Mid Pen coach Jeremy Herman. "The guys know each other by name, they go to school together. They're all ready to play coming into this game."
Rapid River got onto the scoreboard first with an 11-yard touchdown run by Pearson. However, Mid Pen's quarterback, Brett Branstrom, had some tricks of his own, and responded on the following drive with a 30-yard touchdown run to tie the game 8-8.
In the second quarter, the Rockets scored 36 points to Mid Pen's 12, including four rushing touchdowns by Pearson, one of which was 90 yards. Lucas Bero also had a touchdown to contribute to their 44-20 halftime lead.
With their defense allowing so many yards, Mid Pen could have easily hung their heads as they took to the field in the third quarter. But Branstrom, the team captain, wasn't going to allow that.
"We are not out of this game," he said to his teammates on the sidelines.
In the third quarter, Rapid River put up two more touchdowns and their defense held the Wolverines scoreless to just about put the game out of reach.
The fourth quarter was a reversal, with Mid Pen putting up 16 points and Rapid River going scoreless, but there just wasn't enough time left to chip away at the deficit, and the Rockets claimed the win.
For Branstrom, it's more than just a rivalry game. He used to be a receiver for the Rockets.
"It's tough. I know all those guys, but (having) played for them, I want to show them what I've got," said Mid Pen quarterback Brett Branstrom. "We want to play them tough. It's a tough situation with them being our rivals."
According to Rapid River coach Steve Ostrenga, this is always a big game for everyone involved.
"It was huge," he said. "I thought we played well offensively. Defensively, we struggled a little bit early. But, Branstrom, Evan Winkelbauer, Zach LaFave, and their line, give them credit.
"They played a good ball game, and they had a good offensive scheme against us. They set the tempo."
Mid Pen heads to Cedarville Friday, while Rapid River hosts Bellaire.