The Rolla High School football team may have lost the game. But the Bulldogs may have found a passing attack.
The Springfield Kickapoo Chiefs took advantage of RHS mistakes to take control early and went on to drub Rolla 49-14 Friday in Ozark Conference action at Lions Memorial Field.
The new synthetic turf at Lions Memorial Field was officially dedicated, with businesses and individuals who have donated to the project being honored.
Rolla falls to 0-2 both overall and in the league. Kickapoo is 2-0 overall and in the OC.
RHS turnovers turned into a pair of Kickapoo touchdowns in the first period. On the game's first offensive possession Rolla sophomore quarterback Kyle Morris was picked off by the Chiefs' Mitch White, one of two interceptions he had in the game. That gave Kickapoo the ball at the 50 yardline. After 14- and one-yard running plays, Kickapoo senior quarterback Anthony Cooper found senior wideout Corbin Harris alone in the RHS secondary for a 35-yard TD run. White added the PAT.
Later in the period Rolla used 10 consecutive rushing attempts to get to the Chief 11 yardline. However, the Bulldogs fumbled the snap on play 11 and Chiefs defensive tackle Paul Spitz fell on it to end the home team's drive and spark a 83-yard Kickapoo scoring drive. A 23-yard run by junior running back Tony Grant and a Bulldog 15-yard facemask penalty helped get the ball to the RHS 21.
From there Cooper hit senior running back John Fuchs with a 21-yard TD pass and RHS went into the second quarter down 14-0.
Rolla got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter on a 12-play, 58-yard drive, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Morris to senior wideout Jared McBride.
However, on the ensuing kickoff Kickapoo's Jamariqune Green fielded the ball, went down the right sidelines, cut left and was gone for a 79-yard TD return and the Chiefs led 21-7 at intermission.
The Chiefs pulled away with a three-touchdown third period. Fuchs broke off a 40-yard run down the Kickapoo sidelines and three plays later Cooper scored on a five-yard run. The PAT attempt failed.
The Chiefs then converted a third touchdown off a Rolla turnover, as Rolla senior QB Joe Drallmeier was intercepted by White to give Kickapoo the ball at the RHS 34. On a 4th-and-10 situation Cooper found sophomore wideout Zach Cook alone over the middle for a 34-yard TD reception. Cooper scored on a keeper for the two-point conversion, making it 35-7.
After a RHS 3-and-out Kickapoo went 58 yards in four plays. Senior running back Kelton Reeves picked up 26 yards on the ground and, three plays later, Cooper threw his fourth TD pass of the game, a 30-yard strike in the endzone to a diving Harris.
Page 2 of 3 - The rest of the game the Bulldogs began to feature their passing attack. Morris completed five straight passes – four to junior running back Andy Satulla – covering 47 yards and a touchdown. Morris hit Satulla in the left corner of the endzone from 23 yards out for the TD.
With both team's junior varsity squads on the field, Kickapoo added a fourth-quarter TD.
In all the Bulldogs committed four turnovers which were turned into 22 Kickapoo points.
"That did not help our cause," said RHS head coach Willie Howard. "They're too good an offense to give extra chances to. Take away the third quarter and we're alright. There are lots of things we can do to get better."
However, the game could be a turning point for Morris. After completing just one pass for a minus-2 yards in the season-opener, Morris hit on 14-of-22 passes for 147 yards on Friday, Satulla made seven of those catches for 77 yards.
Satulla also rushed for 99 yards on 22 carries.
"He threw the ball well," Howard said of Morris. "We knew that first week was growing pains for him. He has the ability to stretch the field vertically so people can't key on our running game."
Rolla generated 315 yards of total offense. But that was still short of the 360 yards totaled by the Chiefs.
Cooper had another big game, completing 8-of-14 passes for 157 yards and the four TDs while rushing for another TD and a conversion.
"There is a reason he is a Division-I caliber athlete," Howard said of Cooper. "He can bail them out."
The Bulldogs travel to Springfield on Friday for another league game, playing Springfield Parkview. Kickoff at JFK Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
Kickapoo 49, Rolla 14
First downs: RHS 21, KHS 17
Yards rushing: RHS 168, KHS 203
Yards passing: RHS 147, KHS 157
Total yards: RHS 315, KHS 360
Passing: RHS 14-24, KHS 8-14
Int. thrown: RHS 2, KHS 0
Fumbles lost: RHS 2, KHS 0
Penalties: RHS 4-37, KHS 3-25
Punting: RHS 3-33.7, KHS 2-39.0
The score by periods:
Rolla 0 7 7 0-14
Kickapoo 14 7 21 7-49
The scoring plays:
Kickapoo: Harris 35-yard pass from Cooper, White kick (9:02).
Kickapoo: Fuchs 21-yard pass form Cooper, White kick (1:55).
Rolla: McBride 17-yard pass form Morris, Maynard kick (1:36).
Kickapoo: Green 79-yard kickoff return, White kick (1:22).
Kickapoo: Cooper 5-yard run, kick fails (10:50).
Kickapoo: Fuchs 34-yard pass from Cooper, Cooper runs in conversion (8:03).
Page 3 of 3 - Kickapoo: Harris 30-yard pass from Cooper, White kick (5:36).
Rolla: Satulla 23-yard pass from Morris, Maynard kick (2:43).
Kickapoo: Stout 1-yard run, Hellmer kick (2:27).
Rushing: Rolla - Satulla 22 for 99, Morris 10 for 16, Drallmeier 7 for 35, Maples 6 for 13, Ellison 2 for minus 1, Leon 1 for 6. Kickapoo - Reeves 3 for 27, Fuchs 2 for 54, Grant 6 for 38, Cooper 4 for 10, Green 1 for 2, Stout 7 for 41, Woodring 1 for 2, Johnson 2 for 5, Jarman 1 for 24.
Passing: Rolla - Morris 14-22-147-1, Drallmeier 0-1-0-1, Brown 0-1-0-0. Kickapoo - Cooper 8-14-157-0.
Pass Receiving: Rolla - Satulla 7 for 77, McBride 3 for 29, Lohr 3 for 35, Drallmeier 1 for 6. Kickapoo - Harris 3 for 67, Green 1 for 15, Raynor 1 for 8, Fuchs 2 for 55, Broyles 1 for 12.
Interceptions: Rolla - none. Kickapoo - White 2 for 23.