By DENNIS M. BALZER, 9-11-99
Morning Journal Correspondent
AVON -- The Bay Rockets packed up their explosive offensive attack and traveled to Avon last night to take on the Eagles in a final independent matchup before both teams start league action next week.
The Rockets, who were supposed to win this game and did by the final score of 32-15, found that the 0-3 Eagles were not as easy to beat as their record would indicate.
|Avon quarterback Tony Stross runs the ball.|
This game could best be described as a character builder for both teams, and both coaches expressed just that following a closely played contest for at least the first half of play.
'You ask if our kids were overconfident? You bet they were,' said Bay coach Tom Kaiser. 'I told them after the game they got a taste of what could have been in that first half if they would have continued that sort of effort into the second half.'
The 'what could have been in that first half' was the fact that the Eagles, who were shutout in their first two games of the year, were leading the Rockets, who came into the game averaging over 46 points per game and sporting a 2-0 record.
The Rockets coughed up the ball on just their fourth offensive play of the game when the Eagles' Jim Dosztal picked off a Jonathan Komperda aerial and returned it 44 yards for his team's first touchdown of the game and season. Jake Schobel kicked the extra point and the Eagles were up 7-0.
From there, they turned the game over to the defense, who have held their opponents to an average of 14 points per game.
But the Eagles have not gone up against anyone that runs the ball the way that the Rockets' David Long carries the mail.
Long has rushed for 447 yards on 34 carries for an amazing 13.1 yards per carry in his first two games, but the Eagles felt their defense was good enough to at least contain him.
The Eagles limited Long to short gains but everyone new it would be only a matter of time before the senior running back would break one, which he did late in the second quarter, when he scored from 31 yards out for his team's first touchdown.
Komperda hit Pat Wise for the 2-point conversion, and the Rockets were back on top, 8-7.
It didn't take long for the Eagles to answer, as the defense held the Rockets on downs and gave the ball to their offense late in the first half.
Avon was able to hit paydirt with 1:28 remaining in the first half when Justin Carrasquilla found paydirt from a yard out to give his team the lead. 13-8. Dosztal ran for the 2-point conversion that upped the Eagle lead to 15- 8.
The scoring drive was kept alive on a 45-yard run by Dosztal and a 23-yard hookup between quarterback Tony Stross and receiver Russ Logan to put the ball at the Bay 1.
'I was proud of the way that these kids played in that first half ... in fact, I'm proud of the way they played the entire game,' said Eagle coach Lee Powell. 'We played one of the better teams in the area and gave them all they could handle for two quarters of play.'
The second half was all Rockets, as they outscored the Eagles, 24-0. Pat Sedlak scored a pair of touchdowns from 16 and 10 yards, respectively, and Doug Merritt picked off a Stross pass and returned it 43 yards for a score.
Nate Eaton added a 28-yard field goal as the Rockets remain perfect at 3-0.
Long continued his assault on the area rushing title, as he racked up 190 yards on 30 attempts for the Rockets
(c) 1999, The Morning Journal