The Rolla football team (2-2, 2-2 OC) made their final trip down to Joplin on Friday, Sept. 8. The Eagles will leave the Ozark Conference after the season and had the advantage over Rolla in 26-21 win.
Joplin took the lead on their first drive of the game when Jacob Bartlett punched in a one yard score. Rolla drove down the field to respond, but were held to a field goal attempt. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Luke Keuhnel came flying in for a block to keep the Bulldogs scoreless. The Eagles then went down and Bartlett snuck in for another one yard score to open up the second quarter, extending their lead to 13-0
The Bulldogs were finally able to get on the board three minutes into the second quarter when Blaize Klossner scored on a three-yard run. Rolla then took the lead five minutes later when Josh Pritchett hit Jake Grooms for a 57-yard strike with 4:13 left in the half. The extra point by Jarret Gabriele put Rolla out in front 14-13. Unfortunately Rolla wasn't able to carry that lead into the half, as the Eagles worked their way into the red zone with just over a minute left in the second quarter before Bartlett punched in his third touchdown of the half. The touchdown gave Joplin a 20-14 lead. It was a lead they wouldn't give up.
The third quarter came and went without a score by either team. Joplin padded their lead with a 13-yard run by J'Shawn Ellis five minutes into the final quarter to all but seal the win. Pritchett added an 11-yard touchdown with just over a minute left in the game, but the Bulldog comeback attempt ran out of time to give Joplin a 26-21 win.
While the Bulldogs couldn't pull out the win, Pritchett had a record setting night. The senior quarterback broke his own school records from this year for team passing yards and completions, as well as Jamie Myer's individual passing yards record from 1979. Pritchett had all of Rolla's passing yardage with 355, which beat Myer's record by 34 yards. He also completed 27 passes, which beat his own previous record by three. Pritchett also passed for one touchdown, but threw two interceptions. Rolla also fumbled three times as a team and lost two of those fumbles. Pritchett added 145 yards and a touchdown on the ground to lead the team. Grooms led the team in receiving with 125 yards and a touchdown on six catches. Davis Buhr was second on the team in receiving with 90 yards, while adding 19 yards on the ground. Klossner added 61 yards through the air and five on the ground along with a rushing touchdown. Tristan O'Neal also caught seven passes for 59 yards.
The Bulldogs will return home to face off against Waynesville for their next game on Friday, Sept. 15.