Bulldogs suffer 1st loss of year vs. Rossville
A well-orchestrated fake punt put McLouth within striking distance in the third quarter of Friday’s much-anticipated district home game against Rossville.
McLouth scored on the play, cutting Rossville’s lead to 10.
MHS forced Rossville to punt on its next possession and McLouth was building momentum.
Then came a botched option play recovered by Rossville in McLouth territory. It was one of five miscues on the night, but this one seemed to put the game out of reach. Rossville capitalized on the fumble and a short field and went up 17 points with a touchdown six plays later.
McLouth couldn’t recover and eventually fell, 43-6, to RHS.
Rossville (7-1 overall, 1-1 in district play) handed McLouth (7-1 and 1-1) its first loss of the season.
“I thought our boys played darn good against the run game,” MHS coach Chris Stewart said. “Mentally, we just weren’t quite up to playing a big game like that.”
Rossville held a 6-0 lead after one quarter and, thanks to a field goal and another touchdown in the second quarter, led 16-0 heading into halftime.
RHS continued to put points on the board throughout the second half and padded its lead in the fourth quarter with back-to-back interceptions returned for touchdowns, including the last score as time expired.
“Rossville is good team and in a league they are constantly playing at that high level,” Stewart said of the Mid-East League. “And that’s probably one of the things. We haven’t had games like that this year.
“Hopefully they’ll learn from this game and hopefully be able to do something at Silver Lake.”
McLouth will hit the road Thursday to take on a Silver Lake team that also is 7-1 and is the defending Class 3A state champions. The Eagles are seeking their eighth state title in school history.
While Rossville liked to attack via the ground game, Silver Lake prefers going to the air offensively, Stewart said. The Bulldogs will have to contain that potent passing game and handle a quick defense, the Bulldog coach said.
And just as important, Stewart pointed out, is that the Bulldogs not get caught up in the notion that MHS is facing a team that regularly plays for a state title.
“They’ve been the best team in this area for a long time. So the thing is don’t play the name, play the team. We need to focus on just trying to play a team and not necessarily the name Silver Lake.”
Silver Lake (7-1 and 2-0) defeated Pleasant Ridge (5-3 and 0-2), 58-7, on Friday, knocking the Rams out of playoff contention. Pleasant Ridge and Rossville face off in the other district game Thursday. Both contests start at 7 p.m.
Despite Friday’s loss, MHS still has a shot at advancing to the 3A playoffs. A McLouth victory against Silver Lake and a Rossville loss would make MHS the district champions. If McLouth and Rossville both win Thursday, McLouth would need to win by eight or more points to be district runner-up, thus advancing the team to the playoffs.
On Friday, McLouth’s Shawn Dailey led the Bulldogs’ run game with 63 yards on 19 carries.
Rossville 43, McLouth 6
Score by quarters
Rossville 6 10 7 20 — 43
McLouth 0 0 6 0 — 6
R — Sam Reesor 35 pass to Mark Smith (PAT failed).
R — Mat Taylor 34 field goal.
R — Reesor 9 pass to Taylor (Taylor kick).
M — Alex Courtney 57 run on fake punt (2 pt. conversion failed).
R — Gage Steckel 3 run (Taylor kick).
R — Tagen Lambotte 24 interception return (Taylor kick).
R — Lambotte 15 interception return (no PAT).