The Rolla football team (0-1) made the trip down to Lebanon for their season opener on Friday, Aug. 18.
Head coach Jon Franks made the first trip to his old stomping grounds and managed to lead the Bulldogs to a halftime lead, but Rolla fizzled out a bit in the second half as lightning struck to delay the game. Three straight touchdowns by Lebanon in the second half sent the Bulldogs home with a 34-28 loss.
Rolla and Lebanon traded shots in the first half and both teams got out to a quick start. Josh Pritchett led a scoring drive for the Bulldogs right out of the gate, capping it off with an eight yard touchdown run just over three and a half minutes into the contest. Lebanon fired back in a blink when when Berry tore through the Rolla defense for an 80-yard run on their first play from scrimmage. The Yellow Jackets then converted a two-point attempt to take an 8-7 lead.
The score remained the same for the remainder of the first quarter, but Lebanon was able to extend their lead early in the second when Hunter Bray scampered 20 yards for a touchdown before a failed two-point conversion attempt. After that, the half was Rolla's. Pritchett was able to find junior Blaize Klossner for two touchdown passes, the first being for 37 yards and the second for nine, in the final three minutes of the half, putting the Bulldogs out in front 21-14.
After coming out of halftime, both teams got an unexpected break. Lebanon opened the half with a 56-yard play, but Mother Nature had other plans. Lightning struck three plays later and the game was delayed for about an hour. The delay seemed to favor the home team, as they quickly cut the deficit to one with a three-yard touchdown by Cole Breeden. The quarter ended with Rolla clinging to a 21-20 lead, but it would be short-lived.
Lebanon needed just 25 seconds to strike in the fourth when Berry caught a pass from Ty Glendenning and went 73 yards for a touchdown. They failed another conversion attempt, but took a 26-21 lead over the Bulldogs. Rolla tried to kick a field goal on their next drive, but a botched snap led to an interception and put the ball right back in Lebanon's hands. The Yellow Jackets were able to extend their lead on a one-yard run by Bray. Rolla punched back with a nine-yard run by Pritchett, cutting the deficit to 34-28. Rolla got the ball back with 56 seconds left on the clock, but they were pinned back on their own one yard line and couldn't finish off the late comeback.
Josh Pritchett ended the night with a total of four touchdowns, two passing and two receiving. He completed 15 of his 33 pass attempts, throwing for 181 yards and turning the ball over twice on interceptions. Pritchett also ran for 153 yards. Klossner caught both of Pritchett's touchdowns and had 110 receiving yards. He also had six carries for 27 yards. Defensively, Colton Morris led the Bulldogs with 22 tackles. Colton Franks had 20 tackles, one of which was for a loss. He also had Rolla's only sack, as well as forcing and recovering a fumble. Josh Morris was in on 19 tackles, who of which were for a loss.
Rolla will host Kickapoo for their home opener on Friday, Aug. 25.