EDGINGTON – With his team not opening until last Saturday, Newman football coach Brandon Kreczmer got a chance to see Rockridge in action at Princeton the night before.
Even though the Rockets suffered a 48-7 setback to a still-powerful Tiger team, Kreczmer knew that score was far from the truth regarding the Rockets.
In Friday night’s Three Rivers Conference crossover matchup at Rockridge High School, the Rockets were a much different team as they rallied with two second-half touchdowns to top Class 2A’s fifth-ranked Comets 27-14.
“I told our kids after that [Week 1] game was over, that score was not anything close to what that game really was,” Kreczmer said. “Hats off to Rockridge. But it’s still early in the year, we’re 1-1, and we’ve just got to answer the call back, come back to work and move forward from this.”
Down by 13 points late in the second quarter, Newman gave itself a shot in the arm when Marcus Williams scored on a 52-yard run with 1:33 left before halftime, followed by Jacob Donald’s PAT kick that got the Comets within 13-7 at intermission.
That momentum carried over into the second half, as Newman put together a 64-yard drive to open the third quarter, capped when Brennen Cook scored from 6 yards out and Donald booted the extra point to give the Comets their first lead at 14-13.
“For the second half, we came out and challenged them, and on that first drive, we played Blue Machine football,” Kreczmer said. “But at the end, we were not doing what we did [at the start of the second half], and unfortunately, Rockridge outplayed us.”
The Rockets (1-1) regained the lead for good when senior quarterback Brayden Deem scored on an 18-yard run with 2:19 left in the third period, then hit Sawyer Weinert with the two-point conversion pass for a 21-14 lead.
Newman, which had several drives throughout the game stall out just past midfield, got what appeared to be a break early in the fourth quarter when it took possession at the Rockridge 26-yard line after a short punt. But on fourth down, the Rockets’ Jacob Bayne sacked J.J. Castle for an 8-yard loss.
Peyton Locke then gave the Rockets the insurance score they needed, scoring on a 9-yard run with 2:14 remaining.