HARRISBURG – Before the Roosevelt football team could start rolling over Harrisburg, the Rough Riders had to get out of their own way.
Tigers quarterback Kain Kittleson’s throw to Matt Pohlmann brought Harrisburg up to its own 28 in its first drive of the first quarter, and a facemask on Roosevelt bumped the Tigers all the way up to the 43.
After a couple marginally successful read options and runs, the Rough Riders gifted Harrisburg 15 yards on another facemask penalty, bringing the Tigers down to the 29 yard line.
“I think we were just trying to play hard and (give) a little extra effort sometimes, and sometimes you get a little carried away,” Roosevelt head coach Kim Nelson said. “We’ve got to fix that. That’s not something we’re proud of and that’s not something that we coach.”
Those were the two of what would be four personal fouls for No. 1 Roosevelt on Friday night, but the Rough Riders’ lack of discipline couldn’t overshadow their wealth of talent in what would end up as a 41-8 thumping of the No. 2 team in class 11AA.
Roosevelt’s agility in the secondary cancelled out its personal fouls almost right after they were committed. Two plays after the second facemask penalty, linebacker Tanner Machacek jumped the route and intercepted Kittleson’s pass to the right side, bringing the ball back to the Tigers’ 35 yard line. Tyson Jahn broke a 22 yard run and Rough Riders quarterback Jett Thune found Jamal Albousafi for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
That was the first of many easy scores for Roosevelt (4-0) on the night.
“We weren’t ready to play this game, for some reason,” Harrisburg coach Brandon White said. “I take full responsibility for that.”
Thune ran the ball four times on the Rough Riders’ next drive and found DeMareio Hester to get the ball down to the one for Piercen Evans to punch it in to make it 14-0.
That drive only saw Roosevelt go to running back Tyson Jahn once, but Jahn was a menace to the Tigers (2-2) all game, racking up 115 rushing yards, two touchdowns on the ground and another one on a screen that he ran in from five yards out.
Roosevelt’s spread offense, which sometimes put four receivers wide with Thune in the shotgun, seemed to signal a game full of passes, but the Rough Riders saw that their runs were working and kept going on the ground. They rushed 35 times for 211 yards in the game and threw just 16 times, for 148 yards.
“I was expecting a little bit more of a throwing game,” Jahn said. “But whatever works for the game, we just flow with it.”
The night was not without concerns for the Rough Riders. First was the personal fouls, a problem that they hadn’t encountered until Friday, and more grave were injuries to senior linebacker Andrew Batt and junior offensive lineman Austin Boen.
Batt had to be helped off, but he could put some weight on his left leg, and Nelson said Batt might have sprained his knee, though he hopes to get the linebacker back soon. Boen couldn’t put any weight on his left leg at all, though and he headed to the hospital for x-rays. Though Nelson was still unsure of Boen’s status after the game, he said Boen might have broken his leg.
SFR – Jamal Albousafi 13 pass from Jett Thune (Isaiah Bowar kick)
SFR – Piercen Evans 1 run (Bowar kick)
SFR – Tyson Jahn 7 run (kick failed)
HAR – Kain Kittelson 1 run (Jonah Rasmussen pass from Kittelson)
SFR – Jahn 5 pass from Thune (Bowar kick)
SFR – Tyler VanVoorst pass from Thune (Bowar kick)
SFR – Jahn 2 run (Bowar kick)