by Eric Oslund
When the Rogers Royals took to the field on Friday, Oct. 6, they had a plan on how to approach the No. 1-ranked Elk River Elks – throw the ball – and it makes sense.
The Elks are known for confusing opponents with a rushing attack that can go for a touchdown at any point in time, but they themselves do not throw the ball all that often. That means that in practice there may not be as many opportunities for the defensive backs to work on pass coverage.
“We looked at film and we saw how they defended the pass and how we could really expose them,” Rogers quarterback Cole Larson said. “We just got to get their weakness because they don’t have many weaknesses, they’re a really good team.”
From their second drive of the game when Larson was able to find Eli Solberg for a huge play up the sideline on third-and-14 – eventually capping the drive off with a 37-yard touchdown pass to John Torresani – and on, the Royals continued to put the ball in Larson’s hand and he continued to reward them.
He finished the night with 227 passes and two touchdowns, with each completion seeming to come whenthe Royals needed it the most.Whether it was on third-and-long, or when the team’s momentum seemed to be draining, Larson always seemed to deliver.
“Me and Cole have been doing this since like fourth grade,” Solberg said, who recorded eight receptions for 166 yards and a 59-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter. “We’ve always had this connection, he’s a phenomenal quarterback and I couldn’t do it without him.”
It wasn’t all on the arm of Larson, though. The Royals were also able to establish themselves in the running game, which then opened up things for the play-action pass, and the offensive line had a great night keeping their quarterback upright.
Larson was only sacked once during the game, and he has proven that he can make plays when he gets time to find the open man.
“We really wanted to get our air game going and I’ve got to give props to out O-line,” the Royals quarterback said “They came out and gave me so much time, so proud of them.”