The conditions were far from perfect when the Rolla football team (2-1 OC) traveled down to Springfield for the second time in three weeks to face off against Hillcrest. The schools agreed to move the game up a half an hour to try to get ahead of the worst of the weather, but it didn't work. The rain poured all game and lightning caused a long delay late in the second quarter. The weather didn't get the Bulldogs down though, as they came to Springfield with a storm of their own, cruising past Hillcrest for a 48-0 win.
Both sides had to get used to the weather conditions early, as a slippery ball made things messy for both teams. Rolla was finally able to break through for the game's first touchdown with 4:39 left in the opening quarter when Jack Hounsom dropped back to pass and found RJ Alfred for a 40 yard score. The Bulldogs couldn't get the point after, but led 6-0 through the opening quarter.
Rolla was able to strike one more time before the lightning did as Trey Quick took a handoff from Hounsom and went 36 yards for a score. Unfortunately, they couldn't quite make it to the half before the worst of the weather came in with just under three minutes left in the second quarter. And that weather was there to stay, as the delay lasted until around 9:00. The Bulldogs didn't take long to get back into the scoring rhythm though, as Hounsom found the end zone on the ground for a six-yard score to give Rolla a 21-0 lead at the half.
After a very brief halftime, the Bulldogs just kept rolling. Rolla scored twice in the third quarter, which put the turbo clock into much needed effect in the still grueling weather. Hounsom first found the end zone on the ground with a five yard run, before dropping a bomb to Elijah Young, who took it to the house for a 47 yard score. The third came to an end with Rolla out in front 35-0 and the clock running. Bulldog head coach Jon Franks said his team was determined to succeed no matter the conditions on Friday night and they showed that by how they came out of the break.
"You hate to bring up the past, but they were disappointed by the product they put on the field the week before and they were pretty determined that they were going to represent themselves and the program a lot better this week," said coach Franks. "I'm really proud of how they responded this week."
Rolla added two more scores in the fourth the put the game to bed. First, Blaize Klossner scored on a three yard run, before the special teams got in on the scoring festivities. Quick was punting for the Bulldogs in the final minutes of the game, when Hillcrest's Blake Hanna muffed the punt. Ahmed Boubacar was able to jump on the ball in the end zone to stretch the Rolla lead to the final score of 49-0.
Offensively, Rolla was great on the ground with a few big passes. Hounsom only attempted seven passes in the pouring rain, but completed three of those passes. Two of those completions found the end zone, as he passed for 90 yards in the contest. He added another 83 yards and two scores on the ground. Quick led the rushing attack with 150 yards and a score, while Klossner added 28 yards and a touchdown of his own. All of that offensive success started with great play on the offensive line.
"I think definitely everything starts up front," said coach Franks. "Our offensive line just continues to get better. They keep working at it and keep getting better at what they're doing...that really helps those guys get rolling."
The Bulldogs were unstoppable on the defensive side of the ball. Young intercepted two passes in the win and Rolla jumped on two fumbles. Hillcrest had just 75 yards of total offense in the contest to Rolla's 354. Young led the team in tackles with nine, while Colton Franks added eight. The Bulldogs also had three sacks on the evening.
"They worked really hard in practice to do a nice job and they focused," said coach Franks of his defense. "They worked on keys and reads and the effort level. They always play with pretty good effort, but they played with excellent effort this week."
Coach Franks gave his seniors a lot of credit for helping keep the team in a great mindset during the long delay, which led to some stellar play despite the weather.
"It goes to show our senior leadership to keep our guys light," said coach Franks. "They weren't uptight, they were having a good time kind of relaxing and then they were just ready to go and do their job."
The Bulldogs will be back at home next week when they host Parkview on Friday night.