By Adam Knorr
They fell behind Holland by two touchdowns, then rallied to grab a 21-13 victory in a non-league opener for both teams.
“I could not be more proud of our kids to bounce back after going down two TDs and having the first quarter that we did,” said Reeths-Puffer Coach Kyle Jewett. “I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for coming back.”
Things did not look promising for the Rockets early in the contest.
They lost a fumble on their second offensive snap of the game. Holland quarterback Wade Buckman rushed for a 15-yard touchdown on the next play as the Dutch took an early 7-0 lead.
Soon after, Buckman found Brent Aalberts for a 19-yard touchdown pass to put Holland up 13-0.
But that was the last time the Dutch would score.
“We hate the word young,” Jewett said. “It’s been two years of really young teams and we’re young again this year. Call it jitters, first varsity game, whatever it was, we had enough turnovers and bad things happen in the first quarter for a regular full game.”
Junior Nate Veihl punched in a 5-yard rush to get Reeths-Puffer on the board a minute before halftime, but missed extra points by both teams left the score 13-6 at halftime.
Rocket quarterback Blake Ross showed his legs off in the second half, sneaking in a 1-yard TD rush after setting himself up on a 22-yard keeper.
Late in the third quarter, a fight broke out due to late blocking after the play. Holland’s Demetrius Lake and the Rockets’ Jordan Cooley came to blows and were both ejected from the game.
“We have to keep cooler heads,” Jewett said. “We preach staying level. We’ll use it as a learning tool going forward.”
Reeths-Puffer led 14-13 at the end of the third, and a 15-yard Veihl touchdown rush put the Rockets up 21-13 with 8:02 remaining.
A 46-yard pass on 4th and 10 put the Dutch on the Rocket 2-yard line, but Holland fumbled and Reeths-Puffers’ Jake Kovalcik recovered to seal the victory.
Ross rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, and completed 4-of-7 passes for 42 yards. Veihl finished with 7 carries for 44 yards and two touchdowns.
The Rockets turned the ball over three times, but forced three turnovers of their own.