There were few surprises on Friday night at Howard Wood Field, where Roosevelt beat Lincoln, 49-7, to improve the Rough Riders’ record to 3-0 and drop the Patriots’ to 1-2.
Roosevelt’s defense was dominant again, allowing just 2.8 yards per play and holding its opponent to under 200 yards for the third time this year. The Rough Riders had eight tackles for loss and three sacks. They had two interceptions and recovered a fumble at their own one-yard line.
“We knew they were going to run it and pound it at us,” senior defensive end Demareio Hester said. “So all week we just focused on getting (Lincoln running back Corey) Fichter and getting to his legs, and pretty much breaking and shutting down, because he’s a great running back.”
The Rough Riders season on offense began with an interception on the very first play of the year, and at halftime of that game against Aberdeen Central, Roosevelt head coach Kim Nelson ripped into the offense.
Roosevelt has scored three touchdowns in the first quarter in both its game since then. The Rough Riders had 410 yards of total offense against Lincoln, and running back Tyson Jahn –135 yards on 12 carries – and quarterback Torren Devericks – 228 yards passing, three touchdowns – both had arguably their best games of the season.
All this left Lincoln head coach Aaron Beavers disappointed and discouraged. If Friday’s result wasn’t surprising in the scope of the season – Roosevelt is talented and experienced, Lincoln is thin and without many of last year’s starters – it’s a significant change for a program that just two years ago won its second straight state title and last year had a winning streak that sat at 24.
Roosevelt was the team to snap that run, though, and Friday saw the Rough Riders deliver another sobering blow to the Patriots.
“We’re better than that,” Beavers said. “But tonight, we were not.”
Lincoln had some bright spots on Friday night, like Fichter’s 114 yards of total offense while getting multiple touches almost every series. He made one of the more spectacular plays of the year, hurdling a defender on a 12-yard run in the third quarter. The Patriots would score their only touchdown of the night on that drive.
The one before that, though, ended in a fumble at Roosevelt’s one-yard line. Lincoln forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but that was one of the few times on the night the Patriots’ defense looked strong – at many other points, the Rough Riders’ spread passing attack consistently busted holes in Lincoln’s coverages.
“We didn’t talk about winning and losing at the half,” Beavers said. “It was manning up, bowing your neck and compete.”
Roosevelt made it so that the rushing attack was Lincoln’s only reliable means of moving the ball. Cole DeBerg, who for his second straight year was moved to quarterback after the Patriots’ anticipated starter got injured, had little respite from the Rough Riders’ push up front, even with max protection, and completed seven of his 18 pass attempts. Fichter was the Patriots’ only player with more than one catch.
Lincoln’s participation numbers are down this year, and the Patriots’ city opponents appear to have more depth and playmakers on both sides of the ball. While Friday may have been a more erratic night than usual, Lincoln is also unlikely to rebound to dominance this season.
They’ll try, though.
“We’ll get better,” Beavers said. “I know we’ll get better. We’ll just see how much better we get.”
Roosevelt 21 7 7 14 — 49
Lincoln 0 0 7 0 — 7
Roosevelt—Carter Carstens 11 pass from Torren Devericks (Chris Kirschman kick), 8:29.
Roosevelt—Nathan Varns 27 pass from Devericks (Kirschman kick), 7:22.
Roosevelt—Devericks 8 run, (Kirschman kick), 1:48.
Roosevelt—Devericks 1 run, (Kirschman kick), 1:05.
Lincoln—Trent Naasz 6 pass from Cole DeBerg, (Sullivan kick), 4:30.
Roosevelt—Varns 17 pass from Devericks, (Kirschman kick), 2:03.
Roosevelt—Tyson Jahn 45 run, (Kirschman kick), 7:56.
Roosevelt—Travis Pearson 44 interception. (Kirschman kick), 6:52.
First downs: 21; 12
Rushes-yards: 23-182; 42-98
Passing: 228; 72
Comp-Att-Int: 18-29-0; 7-18-2
Punts-Avg.: 4-30.8; 3-48.3
Fumbles-Lost: 0-0; 1-1
Penalties-Yards: 7-44; 3-20
Time of Possession: 16:33; 24:22
RUSHING—Roosevelt: Jahn 12-129, Varns 2-29, Devericks 6-18, Demareio Hester 3-6. Lincoln: Corey Fichter 18-66, Jesse Nelson 10-45, Tiegen Salava 2-1, Cole DeBerg 12- -14.
PASSING—Roosevelt: Devericks 18-29-0-228. Lincoln: DeBerg 7-18-2-72.
RECEIVING—Roosevelt: Varns 6-80, Austin Johnson 5-59, Hester 4-29, Carstens 2-23, Jahn 1-37. Lincoln: Fichter 3-48, Brennan Large 1-11, Zach Hanson 1-10, Naasz 1-6, Jayden Julius.
Follow Ian Frazer on Twitter at @IanMcFrazer .