By Dave Hart
The Rockets overcame a slim second quarter deficit, then scored three of the game’s final four touchdowns, leading to an impressive 35-21 win over Grand Rapids South Christian on Friday and giving R-P Coach Matt Bird his first victory at the school.
“I was proud of our kids on the way they handled this week,” Bird said. “The way they came together and paid attention to some major details, the kids took a lot of ownership. We got ourselves into a good flow tonight. I can’t thank the seniors enough for buying into what we are trying to create here as a culture.”
Reeths-Puffer is now 1-1 on the season and will travel to face Mona Shores next Friday in its O-K Black Conference opener.
The Rockets were led by quarterback Evan Moskwa, who threw for 154 yards on 9-for-14 passing and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown and had 66 yards on 18 carries.
“I think I played to the best of my ability and I give a lot of credit to my offensive line,” said Moskwa. “Last week was rough, and it’s great that we beat such a great team like South Christian.”
The Rockets, after forcing South Christian to punt on its first possession, opened the scoring on their fourth play from scrimmage.
Daven Fox caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Moskwa to give Reeths-Puffer a 7-0 lead with 6:49 left in the first quarter.
The Sailors responded on their next possession, moving the ball 68 yards on an 11-play drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown burst by Eli Smith with 3:36 left in the first quarter.
The contest was tied 7-7 after one.
The Sailors had a chance to take the lead with 9:07 remaining in the second quarter, but missed a 35-yard field goal.
Grand Rapids South Christian finally got a lead at 14-7 on a nine-yard touchdown run by Daniel Possett with 6:52 left in the second quarter.
The Rockets quickly responded five plays later with a 13-yard touchdown run by Brett Buchan to tie the game 14-14. The touchdown was set up by a 49-yard run by Fox on the fourth play of the drive.
The Sailors nearly took the lead before halftime, but missed another field goal attempt with 1:32 left in the second quarter.
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime.
The Rockets scored on their first possession of the second half on a 13-play drive that was capped with a 12-yard touchdown run by Moskwa.
Grand Rapids South Christian drove into Rocket territory on its next possession, but R-P’s Colby Stephenson picked off the pass at the 35-yard line.
Reeths-Puffer scored on the next play on a 65-yard touchdown run by Fox. That left the Rockets with a 28-14 advantage with 5:23 left in the third quarter.
The Sailors cut their deficit in half on a five-yard touchdown run from Possett with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Rockets closed out the scoring with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter on 34-yard touchdown pass from Moskwa to Josh Jordan.
The Sailors had two chances to get back into the game, but turned the ball over on downs with 5:21 left and tossed an interception to Reeths-Puffer’s Gary Humphrey III with 3:13 remaining.
Fox had six rushing attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown for the Rockets.