By Alec Dietz / [email protected]
ROCHESTER — After taking the ball away from Rochester four times in the first half, the Black Hills football team rode away with a 34-14 road win on Friday night.
The Warriors turned the ball over on their first three possessions and couldn’t get out of a hole early in the loss.
For Wolves (3-0, 1-0 2A EvCo), it was all part of the game plan.
“It’s always good when the game plan works, that was the plan,” said Wolves manager Garrett Baldwin. “Take care of the ball in attack, be aggressive in defence, and we did that. I’m excited and proud of the guys.
Black Hills couldn’t capitalize on Rochester’s first turnover, but after grabbing an interception on the next defensive possession, hit a Johnnie Stallings touchdown to take a lead he would never relinquish.
A third straight turnover on the Warriors’ third possession gave Wolves another short field, and Stallings rushed in for another score from 25 yards out, with just over half a quarter played until this point.
The Warriors (2-1, 0-1 2A EvCo), however, did not fall quietly. In their fourth practice, James Morris did a bit of everything on the ground and capped a practice with a 3-yard dive to make it a one-scoring match, despite losing the turnover battle.
But another interception and a rushing attack from Wolves proved too much for the Warriors, as Wolves managed two more scores in the second quarter to take a three-point lead, 27-7 into the half.
“We couldn’t get out of our own way,” Warriors coach AJ Easley said. “We haven’t done a great job in attack doing what we’re good at: staying in front of the chains and holding onto the ball. We can’t survive doing what we did tonight, we have to be better.
The Warriors managed to move the ball up and down the field most of the night on the ground, with Braden Hartley and Morris both approaching 100 yards on the night, and Brady Baird adding a second-half touchdown, but couldn’t complete workouts or get anything. flying through the air when they needed it.
On the other side, Wolves attacked the Warriors defensively, putting constant pressure on Tate Quarnstrom, and did enough offensively to stay perfect this year.
Stallings had 75 yards and two scores, and Travis Carson and Tanner Parkinson each added their own rushing touchdowns to lead Wolves.
“It’s huge,” Baldwin said of the win. “First league game, starting off on the right foot with an away win is important. We learned a lot of lessons tonight that will be important to keep and help us go even further.
Wolves will put their unbeaten record to the test against WF West at Tumwater next Friday.
For the Warriors, overcoming the disparity in turnover would have been difficult, but they will need to gut it and move quickly to the ever-competitive 2A Evergreen Conference if they are to achieve their goals this season. The Warriors will face Shelton next week on the road.
“It doesn’t get any easier from here,” Easley said. “We can sit here and cry about spilled milk, but Shelton won’t. We have to put on our big boy pants and bring them to them.