by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Rogers Royals opened their pursuit of a fourth-straight conference football crown by rolling past Big Lake 38-15 at home Thursday evening.
With starters back at only five of 22 slots, the Royals’ mostly new lineup impressed their coach.
“What I really liked was how the team came out and played hard with good energy,” said Marc Franz. “We made a lot of mistakes that we can clean up. Our defense, for being young and inexperienced, came up with some pretty good discipline.”
Nate Weber and Nate Roehl ran for two touchdowns each as the Royals rolled up 300 yards on the ground.
The Royals also passed for 88 yards including 39-yard score from Connor Henderson to Gunnar Bloom. Sam Spilles got the first TD of the year on a quarterback sneak.
“We are always a running team first,” said Franz, “but I thought we had some nice play-action pass completions, too.”
The Royals showed their excellent depth, rotating four running backs, two fullbacks, four linebackers and eight defensive linemen. At quarterback, Spilles, Henderson and third-stringer Luke Seiken saw action.
One of the veterans, Parker Veith at cornerback, had a key assignment covering a standout Hornet receiver, Austin Poe, and did a solid job, said the coach. He had one pickoff.
Poe did catch two touchdown passes from Brandon Holthaus.
Next for Rogers is St. Cloud Apollo there next Friday.
Rogers 38, Big Lake 15
Big Lake ..……. 0 8 0 7 — 15
Rogers …….…. 13 13 12 0 — 38
Rog — Sam Spilles 1 run (run failed)
Rog — Nate Roehl 23 run (Mitch Grupa kick)
Rog — Nate Weber 5 run (Grupa kick)
Rog — Roehl 1 run (kick blocked)
BL — Austin Poe 27 pass from Brandon Holthaus (Poe pass from Holthaus)
Rog — Weber 22 run (kick failed)
Rog — Gunnar Bloom 39 pass from Connor Henderson (kick blocked)
BL — Poe 1 pass from Holthaus (Daniel Thiessen kick)
First downs — Rogers 19, Big Lake 14
Rushes-yards — Rogers 45-300, Big Lake 29-113
Passes (att-cmp-yrds-int) — Rogers 6-9-88-0, Big Lake 11-19-154-1
Total plays-yards — Rogers 54-388, Big Lake 48-267
Penalties-yards — Rogers 6-45, Big Lak 4-40
Fumbles-lost — Rogers 0-0, Big Lake 1-1
Rogers individual statistics
Rushing — Weber 7-78, Roehl 8-69, Travis Deitl 11-59, Kent Hoover 4-36, Steve Hines 3-26
Passing — Henderson 4-6-71-0, Spilles 2-3-17-0
Receiving — Parker Veith 2-18, Bloom 1-39, Josh Malin 1-22, Roehl 1-7, Hoover 1-2
Interception — Veith 1
Big Lake individual statistics
Rushing — Tyler Jensen 2-39, Cody Knaeble 9-39, A.J. Sanford 7-35
Receiving— Poe 5-81, Sanford 2-41, Knaeble 2-20
Passing — Holthaus 11-19-154-1