No one had to remind the Richmond-Burton football team what was on the line Oct. 12th or that they had to step up their intensity level and play at the top of their games for that matter. That’s because the Rockets were well aware of how important their showdown with North Boone was and they were able to the occasion and live up to their expectations.

Needless to say, it was a very big week for the Rockets’ program and they were able to prevail when it counted the most out on the gridiron. And the Rockets were rewarded handsomely for their efforts, as they came away with an impressive 35-14 Big Northern Conference victory over the Vikings in Poplar Grove.

The victory improved Richmond to 6-2 overall on the season and to 4-1 in league play for the year. The win also put them in a three-way tie for first place within the BNC with North Boone and Burlington-Central with one regular-season game left.

Not only were the Rockets able to hand the Vikings their first defeat of the season on their home field nonetheless, but it was also their fifth consecutive win of the season. It also guaranteed the Rockets a spot in the post-season playoffs, as well as kept their hopes alive for securing their fourth straight league title.

The Rockets left nothing for the imagination, as they came out ready to play right from the start and never let up as they controlled both the momentum and the tempo of the game. Although the Rockets were impressive throughout the game, it was their dominance in the first half that really made a statement and a lasting impression.

The Rockets were on fire on both sides of the ball, as the offense fed off the success of the defense and vice versa. Not only did the Rockets score on their first four possessions of the game to jump out to a 28-0 lead at the half, but their defense also allowed no first downs and less than 50 total yards over the first two quarters of play.

The Rockets got on the board first with just under five minutes left in the first, as they capped off a 62-yard drive by punching the ball across the charity stripe. Zach Rygiel came out of the backfield from a yard out to put the Rockets up 7-0.

Then with just eight ticks left on the clock in the quarter, the Rockets increased their lead to 14-0 as quarterback Matt Melecki kept the ball and scampered in from the four to close out a 59-yard drive. The Rockets would lead 28-0 at the break on a pair of scoring plays from Chris Vlasak, as he first broke free for 66-yard touchdown run and then followed it up just 14 seconds later by picking off a pass and returning it 38 yards into the end zone.

The Vikings would do their best to make some adjustments at the break to get back in the game in the second half. Richmond’s defense bent a little bit in the final two quarters, but never broke to allow North Boone to get within striking distance.

The Vikings would score early on in both the third and fourth quarters on an eight-yard run and a 31-yard pass play to slice the deficit in half at 28-14. But that’s as close as they would get, as Rygiel would score an insurance touchdown from six-yards out with just over five minutes to play to seal the win for the Rockets.

The Rockets finished the game by racking up 386 total yards of offense including all except eight yards of it coming on the ground. They also limited the Vikings to just 117 yards on offense, while creating four turnovers as well.

Richmond just missed having three runners go for over 100 yards in the game, as Malecki had 136 yards on 24 carries, Vlasak added 133 yards on 14 runs and Adam Kinsella dished in 91 yards on 16 attempts.



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