DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
In a game of huge momentum shifts, it went Roncalli’s way when it counted.
Trailing 21-19, Greenwood stopped Roncalli for a loss on fourth down with less than a yard. However, the Woodmen surrendered the momentum by following with a fumble, and Roncalli got the ball back on the Woodmen 6.
“The defense stepped up like it has all season, made a play and we got it back,” Rebels quarterback Robbie Strader said. “We got it to about one inch and then finally got in it. It feels great.”
Strader’s 1-yard quarterback sneak on fourth down put the Rebels up 28-19 en route to a 35-19 victory against Greenwood in the Class 4A Sectional sectional final. Roncalli (8-4) will play host to Delta (9-3) next week. It was the Rebels’ 18th sectional title.
Following a muffed squib kickoff that bounced off a Greenwood lineman, the Rebels scored again on a 17-yard TD pass from Strader to Justin Saylor.
“We picked out a lineman and boomed it right at him,” Rebels coach Bruce Scifres said. “Those two guys (from Greenwood) were faster than anyone we had.”
Roncalli senior Nate Fries rushed for 114 yards on 34 carries as the Rebels won their sixth game in a row.
“We had six or seven starters out whether you are pro or college, it changes the dynamics of your team,” Scifres said. “Getting most of those guys back has made all the difference in the world.”
Trailing 21-7 at halftime, the Woodmen’s (7-5) Dylan Rosado took the second half kickoff 99 yards for the score. The PAT was blocked.
“We got a quick three-and-out and we went down and scored,” Greenwood coach Mike Campbell said.
John Gallman then caught a 3-yard TD pass from his brother Seth to narrow the Woodmen’s deficit to 21-19. The two-point conversion failed.
Campbell said he was especially proud of stuffing the Rebels on that first fourth-down stop.
“That’s the heart we played with all season,” Campbell said. “They’re never going to give up. We’re going to continue to play hard. We just didn’t make enough plays and they made them. They made a couple of big plays and it’s a credit to them.”
Roncalli took a 7-0 lead on Strader’s 1-yard quarterback sneak. The Rebels boosted their lead to 14-0 when Alex Kuntz blocked a Greenwood punt and ran it two yards into the end zone with late in the opening quarter.
Greenwood started the game with three three-and-outs. With 6:40 left in the second quarter, the Woodmen got on the board when Seth Gallman hit Dylan Rosado with a 46-yard TD catch.
The Rebels pushed the halftime lead to 21-7 with 3:11 left in second quarter on 2-yard TD run by Nate Fries. Trevor Jacob’s 21-yard run put the ball on the 2.
“It was a tremendous group of young men that we as coaches were privileged to be around,” Campbell said. “They were hard workers. They are good guys. We’re proud of their effort. We’re proud of the fine young men they’ve become.
“They showed a lot of maturity. Their ability to rise up was unbelievable. A lot of people didn’t have many expectations for them, We knew the type of team we could become. I think we were close to getting there. Not by any means do we not think we were successful, we were very successful.”
Strader complete nine of 16 passes for 164 yards. John Gallman led the Woodmen with 66 yards on 13 carries. Seth Gallman completed 10 of 23 passes for 143 yards.