Sunday, October 3, 2004
Rockets rally past Custer, 48-36
ROBERTS - It was about an hour before game time when a Roberts fan told coach Randy Durr he'd cut short a bird hunting trip to be on hand for the Rockets' six-man game with Custer-Melstone.
That fan probably didn't regret the decision as he got to witness a piece of history. The Rockets ended Custer-Melstone's winning streak against Southern Division schools at 42 games with a 48-36 victory Saturday afternoon.
"It's the greatest win in our program's history,” Durr said. "There were doubters when we started it. There were people who thought we'd have it couple of years and it would fizzle out.”
Thanks to guys like Lat Wipplinger, Kyle Preuit, Tyge DeVries and a bunch of others, the Rockets aren't fizzling. They're sizzling. The overall record for the four-year-old program is now 25-9. They've won 22 of their last 26, including all five games this season.
Beating Custer, of course, has been the goal for a long time.
"It feels great,” Preuit said. "It's about time. We really played hard.”
"It was fun,” Wipplinger said. "We've been looking forward to this for a year.”
Wipplinger scored four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter as Roberts rallied from a 28-24 deficit. The 172-pound sophomore also accounted for 229 yards during the sun-splashed afternoon. He ran for 105 yards, caught seven passes for 110 and had a 12-yard pass completion.
It wasn't quite a perfect day for Wipplinger, who threw an interception late in the fourth quarter.
"I told him to only throw it if (the receiver) was wide open,” Durr said with a big smile.
No matter, Wipplinger certainly did enough. So did Preuit.
The 163-pound junior made the biggest defensive play of the game when he slammed into quarterback Wade Keller, who was trying to hand the ball to Chase Cameron. The ball popped loose and Preuit recovered at the Custer 19. That set up a two-yard TD run by Wipplinger and Preuit's kick made it 40-28 with 4:49 remaining in the game.
"I saw that maybe I could get the quarterback so I went for it all,” Preuit said.
On the next series, the defense stopped the Cougars on downs and the Rockets took over at the Custer 17. Travis Stovall's one-yard run put it out of reach.
"After we fell behind, we showed a lot of heart,” Wipplinger said.
Roberts watched a 24-6 lead evaporate as Custer rallied behind Keller. Keller threw for 233 yards and four touchdowns. His 41-yard scoring pass to Adam Weisz put the Cougars ahead 28-24 with 9:31 remaining.
Keller also threw TD passes of 16 and 22 yards to Cameron.
"I knew that we had to come out and play in the second half,” Durr said. "I knew Custer would give us some trouble. The best thing about this win was the way we came back.”
After the Cougars took the lead, Roberts drove 57 yards to regain the lead. DeVries had a 17-yard pass to Stovall and Wipplinger contributed a 12-yard pass from Cy Baldwin. Wipplinger put the Rockets ahead with a 13-yard run with 6:56 remaining.
Roberts capitalized on two turnovers to build its 18-point lead in the first half.
Both teams scored on their first possessions; Cameron going in on a six-yard run for the Cougars and Wipplinger countering with a nine-yard run.
On the third play of Custer's second series, Cameron took a short pass from Keller and was smacked by two Roberts' defenders. He lost the ball and Matt Krook recovered at the Custer 20. Five plays later, Wipplinger crashed over from the one and it was 16-6.
DeVries ended the next Custer drive by intercepting Keller in the end zone. He ran the ball out, but stopped out of bounds at the Roberts 2. That didn't stop the Rockets, who drove 78 yards in 10 plays. DeVries capped it with a two-yard run.
The Cougars cobbled together a 54-yard march to finish the half on a Keller-to-Kale Eike one-yard pass that made it 24-14.
Custer coach Brad Hoffman believes the game will be a learning experience.
"That bootleg when they hit the quarterback cost us,” Hoffman said. "They got the ball at the 15, 17 and 19. That's just heckuva short fields. We'll take this film and look at our weaknesses. We'll be a better team for it. The games in November are the ones that count.”
Custer is still very much in the playoff picture, but Roberts now has a chance to get the top seed.
"The top four teams go to the playoffs,” Durr said. "We're in the driver's seat. We've still got to play Rapelje-Ryegate and they'll probably be 5-0 after this weekend. Highwood is a damn good team in the North.”
When asked about a rematch with the Cougars, Durr said, "I'd love it.”
A lot of other people might, too.
Custer-Melstone 6 8 8 14 - 36 Roberts 16 8 0 24 - 48
First Quarter C-M - Chase Cameron 6 run (kick failed) 6:56 Rob - Lat Wipplinger 9 run (Kyle Preuit kick) 5:08 Rob - Wipplinger 1 run (Preuit kick) 1:37
Second Quarter Rob - Tyge DeVries 2 run (Preuit kick) 5:28 C-M - Kale Eike 1 pass from Wade Keller (Troy Ruff kick) 0:56
Third Quarter C-M - Cameron 16 pass from Keller (Ruff kick) 3:44
Fourth Quarter C-M - Adam Weisz 41 pass from Keller (kick failed) 9:31 Rob - Wipplinger 13 run (Preuit kick) 6:56 Rob - Wipplinger 2 run (Preuit kick) 4:49 Rob - Travis Stovall 1 run (Preuit kick) 3:36 C-M - Cameron 22 pass from Keller (Ruff kick) 1:25.
Rushing - C-M: Cameron 9-46, Keller 6-22, Joel Strecker 7-20, Art Kincheloe 5-19, Eike 1-8. Roberts: Wipplinger 18-105, DeVries 8-18, Stovall 3-14, Team 2-minus 49.
Passing - C-M: Keller 18-33-1-233, Eike 0-1-0-0. Roberts: DeVries 14-21-1-183, Wipplinger 1-2-1-12.
Receiving - C-M: Cameron 8-80, Eike 3-18, Weisz 2-96, Kincheloe 2-12, Strecker 2-16, Shaw 1-11. Roberts: Wipplinger 7-110, Preuit 2-21, Stovall 2-20, Isaac Marble 1-12, Cy Baldwin 1-12, Matt Krook 1-11, Kyle Weierman 1-9.