Red Jacket running back and game MVP Kory Fogarty, 39, right, uses the block by teammate Glenn Austin, 56, on Bishop Kearney’s Mike O’Hare, 22, left, to rush the ball down to the goal line in the second half during their Class D football championship game Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester.
With every chain-moving run in the second half by the Red Jacket offense, it became more and more difficult to remember the first quarter, when the Indians were facing a two-touchdown deficit.
Top-seeded Red Jacket scored 50 unanswered points after falling into the early hole to defeat Bishop Kearney, 50-14, and claim the Section V Class D title Sunday at Sahlen’s Stadium.
Senior Kory Fogarty rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries, and junior Sean Sheets added 167 yards rushing and another two TDs to give the Indians (9-0) their second consecutive Class D crown.
“We knew we just had to pound the ball down their throats and that’s what we did,” said Fogarty, who was named the game’s MVP. “Our linemen are great and they did all the work. It was nothing special by us.”
In a contrast of styles, it was Red Jacket’s relentless rushing attack that won out over the Kings’ spread-it-out passing offense.
The Indians totaled 416 yards rushing and held Kearney to 103 yards through the air while intercepting quarterback Todd LaRocca twice.
“This is against a great team. A team that can throw the ball, run the ball, and they’re very stout on defense,” Red Jacket coach Marc Vitticore said. “I guess I just saw this game as a big test for us.”
The early grades were not good ones.
The Kearney wide receivers had a noticeable height advantage over the Red Jacket defensive backs, and were able to take advantage early on with some leaping catches.
Jalen Long caught a 23-yard touchdown and LaRocca went in for a 1-yard TD sneak as the Kings (7-2) jumped out to a 14-0 lead less than eight minutes into the game.
But as the Indians defense ratcheted up the pressure later in the game, that edge was nullified.
On the ensuing Red Jacket possession, Sheets took off down the left sideline and then cut across the field for a 65-yard scoring run.
The Indians lost a fumble inside the red zone the next time they had the ball, but a sack and partially tipped punt — both by Glenn Austin — set up Red Jacket at the Kearney 29-yard line.
Two plays later Fogarty scored the first of his touchdowns as the Indians moved in front, 16-14.
“(When trailing 14-0) we knew we just had to keep our composure and stick together no matter what,” Sheets said. “We’re all one, we’re all brothers.”
Daniel Colasurdo then recorded the first of his two interceptions, Sheets scored from four yards out and in a span of 7:21 the Indians had taken control of the game.
Kearney would drive down to the Red Jacket 20 on its next possession, but turned the ball over on downs.
Red Jacket then drove 80 yards in 1:58, capped by Tyler Gardner’s 13-yard TD catch from Lee Perry with one second remaining in the first half to take a 28-14 halftime lead.
“We definitely needed that score,” Fogarty said. “We’re in the huddle saying ‘We have to put this one in.’ Seal it off heading into halftime.”
The Indians crushed Kearney’s last hopes for a comeback with a 13-play, 61-yard drive touchdown drive to open the second half, capped by a 3-yard run by Fogarty.
Fogarty also ran in the two-point conversion to make it 36-14.
Dahmir Pross ran for 124 yards on 25 carries and LaRocca finished 8 of 22 for 124 yards and a TD for the Kings.
Tabari Boehler had 11 tackles to lead the Kearney defense.
Davis had 14 total tackles, three for loss, for Red Jacket, which will face Avon in the Class D state qualifier at noon Saturday at Sahlen’s Stadium.