DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
In an impressive all-around performance, unranked Roncalli rolled to a 30-14 victory Friday night at Class 5A No. 7 Decatur Central.
With the win, the Class 4A Rebels evened their record to 4-4.
The Rebels led after the first quarter thanks to two rushing touchdowns by senior running back Nate Fries.
The Rebels’ defense forced two Decatur Central three-and-outs in the first quarter.
Senior linebackers Jake Franklin and Tyler Lucas each contributed a sack in the first. The Rebels led 13-0 at the end of the period
A broken play sparked the Hawks in the second quarter. Sophomore quarterback Bryce Jefferson evaded pressure to eventually find a wide-open Tyrone Tracy for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
Jefferson contributed 22 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and 70 yards and a touchdown through the air for the Hawks in the second quarter.
Decatur Central led 14-13 at halftime.
The Rebels opening drive of the second half ended quickly, but in a good way. Senior quarterback Robbie Strader connected with senior receiver Will Harris for an 84-yard touchdown, a new team record.
“It was an exciting play,” Rebels coach Bruce Scifres said. “We needed something to happen, and that helped get us back ahead.”
The story of the second half was the Roncalli defense.
The Rebels prevented the Hawks from crossing midfield and forced four turnovers, including a forced fumble by senior linebacker Kyle Petroff in the end zone that was recovered by senior defensive lineman Cole Copsey for a touchdown.
Senior defensive back Justin Saylor also had an interception for the Rebels.
“Our defense did an awesome job of containing their offense,” Scifres said.
“We knew with their speed we were going to have to keep them in front of us and contain them, and we did.”
The Roncalli offense accounted for 305 total yards, including 105 yards on the ground by Fries. The Roncalli defense held the Decatur Central offense to 219 yards, only 19 yards in the second half.
The Roncalli Rebels host East Central in Friday’s regular-season finale and will face Frankfort in an Oct. 23 sectional game.