It looked like the kind of turn that could swing things in Morris’ favor.
It was not.
R-B did not blink. The Rockets, as they did all night, had an answer, driving 77 yards in 10 plays to grab momentum right back.
“We just knew we had to stay disciplined, keep going, keep working hard and we knew we would pull it out,” running back-linebacker Toby Quentrall-Quezada said.
“We just kept pounding the rock and doing some play-action type of throws.”
In a battle of two high-ranked, unbeaten teams, R-B finished with a resounding 31-7 victory Friday night in the Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 Conference crossover game.
The Rockets, 6-0 and No. 2 in The Associated Press Class 4A poll, never let Morris, 5-1 and No. 1 in 5A, get much going. R-B outgained Morris, 412-201, in total yards.
“On offense, we’re not big, but we’re just really good at our offense,” Rockets coach Mike Noll said. “All these kids have been the program four years and they execute. And they play hard. That’ll take you a long ways.”
R-B stopped Morris on its first possession and scored in its first drive. The Rockets nearly had another touchdown, but running back Steven Siegel, while battling with several defenders near the goal line, fumbled and Morris recovered in the end zone.
R-B’s Jeff Lehn added a 32-yard field goal just before the half. The Rockets opened the second half with another scoring drive.
Siegel finished with 23 carries for 178 yards, Quentrall-Quezada gained 74 on 12 attempts and wingbacks Nick Falasca and Jack Martens each had 35 yards, mainly on Jet sweeps.
“We just pound the ball down the middle,” said R-B’s Nate Komar, who starts on both lines. “They couldn’t really stop us and our running backs put in a lot of effort tonight.
“(This game) shows when we all come together, put out noses down and play Richmond-Burton football we can accomplish a lot.”
R-B’s defense allowed Morris 55 rushing yards. Quarterback Carter Button threw for 156 yards, most of which came in the fourth quarter when it was a three-score margin.
“The bottom line was they out played us tonight,” Morris coach Alan Thorson said. “That’s disappointing. They’re a very good team and I don’t want to take anything away from them. Their kids played extremely hard and they’re well-coached.
“I’m disappointed with the effort from our guys. The penalties really slowed us down, we got put in some positions where we were really behind the sticks and tough to recover from. You can’t do that against a good team. That’s really tough to do. They really did eat the clock up with those long drives.”
R-B did not have a punt in the game.
Noll wanted the Rockets to have a lot of movement on defense to counteract Morris’ huge offensive line.
“They’re so big. We wanted to keep moving,” Noll said. “We can’t just be in our base. We did a great job of moving and playing fast. They’re good. I was very pleased with the defense.”
Thorson said he felt like his team prepared well during the week.
“Everything they ran we practiced 100 times during the week,” Thorson said. “They outexecuted us tonight. That’s a credit to them. That’s what makes this so frustrating on our part. I think we’re a good team. We just have to learn from this. We will 100% get better.”
Richmond-Burton 31, Morris 7
Morris 0 0 7 0 - 7
Richmond-Burton 7 3 14 7 – 31
RB–Quentrall-Quezada 3 run (Lehn kick), 3:19.
RB–FG Lehn, 0:03.
RB–Siegel 54 run (Lehn kick), 9:29.
M–A.J. Zweeres 20 pass from Button (CiFuentes kick), 5:46.
RB–Siegel 11 run (Lehn kick), 0:51.
RB–Falasca 6 run (Lehn kick), 3:50.
RUSHING–Morris: Yard 12-35, Redding 1-13, Button 5-7. Totals: 18-55. Richmond-Burton: Siegel 23-178, Quentrall-Quezada 12-74, Martens 3-35, Falasca 5-35, Nellessen 5-25, Miller 1-7, Team 1-minus 1. Totals: 50-343.
PASSING–Morris: Button 13-19-0-156. Richmond-Burton: Miller 5-10-0-69.
RECEIVING–Morris: A.J. Zweeres 4-47, Phillips 3-45, Knapp 3-14, Wheeler 2-25, Yard 1-27. Richmond-Burton: Bresnahan 1-22, Falasca 1-19, Quentrall-Quezada 1-11, Smith 1-10, Siegel 1-7.
TOTAL TEAM YARDS–Morris 201, Richmond-Burton 412.