Eagles make big plays to beat Rams
Published 1:00 pm Saturday, November 19, 2022
WESTLAKE — At less than 100 percent, Rosepine running back Grant Ducote is still dangerous.
The senior made three key plays on third and fourth downs to help the No. 9 Eagles slip by No. 25 Westlake 20-13 Friday night at Max Caldarera Memorial Stadium in the regional round of the Division III non-select playoffs.
The biggest play came with the game on the line. Tied 13-13 with less than 6 minutes remaining, Ducote threw a halfback pass to quarterback Jake Smith on third-and-9 to move the Eagles to the Rams 8-yard line. That set up Bryson Meeks’ 4-yard run for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:45 left.
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“We knew he wasn’t 100 percent healthy going in, so we game-planned for him this week and put in some special stuff,” Rosepine head coach Brad Ducote said. “The first two touchdowns were off of those plays, and he was able to perform.
“He was hurting bad late in the game, but I had a few more plays that were designed with him throwing the football. He went in and sucked it up and made some big plays along with the Meeks kid and Jake ran a good route on that play and set that final score up.”
Ducote finished with 121 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries and completed 2 of 3 passes for 43 yards. Meeks had 86 yards on 13 carries, plus an interception and two fumble recoveries on defense.
Rosepine (10-2) moved on to the quarterfinals for a second consecutive season and the second time in program history. The Eagles will host No. 1 Many (10-0), a 21-0 winner over No. 17 Richwood.
“I am just so proud of my kids,” Ducote said. “They showed tremendous grit tonight. It was kind of back and forth. There were some mistakes made by both teams, and both teams fought down to the bitter end.
“We were lucky enough to come out on top. I commend my kids for just fighting for four quarters and finding a way to win a tough second-round playoff game in a hostile environment.”
Ducote’s other big plays came in the second quarter. The first was on fourth-and-1. He turned it into a 35-yard score after breaking through a stacked line. Minutes later, Ducote threw a 29-yard halfback pass to Payton Jeans on fourth-and-7.
The defense did the rest, forcing six turnovers. Rosepine twice stopped Westlake in the red zone. The first was with 1:24 left in the second quarter on Meeks’ interception, then he recovered a fumble at the Eagles 2-yard line with 5:14 left in the third quarter.
Both of the Eagles’ second-quarter touchdown drives were started by fumbles recovered by Landyn Lawrence and Aiden Cline.
“The kids played really hard,” Westlake head coach John Richardson said. “I am proud of them. We just made too many mistakes. We turned the ball over I think six times. It is hard to win games when that happens.
“It wasn’t a lack of effort on the kids’ part. Roespine did a good job. Their kids played hard and never gave up. They made enough plays to win the game.”
The first quarter was the Rams’ as they took a 7-0 lead and stopped the Eagles twice, including an interception by Kristian Ozane.
The Rams (6-6) took a 7-0 lead on a 57-yard pass from Dawson to Tristan Goodly with less than 3 minutes into the game, but the turnovers (three) proved costly.
Goodly finished with three catches for 97 yards.