For the Daily Journal
For most of the first two and a half quarters, the Roncalli football team was running smoothly.
“We’re blessed with a lot of offensive talent,” Rebels coach Scott Marsh said. “We can take what is given to us. We got a good offensive line, good running backs, great skill kids. We can afford to be patient. When you have that ability to run or throw it on fourth down, it makes you a better offense.”
Conner Gore threw for 198 yards and three touchdown passes as the Rebels took a 37-7 lead midway through the third quarter before settling for a 37-21 victory against visiting Franklin Central on Friday night.
Gore was 16 of 18 passing for 198 yards.
Patrick McManama led a balanced rushing attack with 67 yards on 16 carries. Elijah Mahan added 57 yards on on 12 carries.
“We’re blessed with four running backs, who are tremendous for what we do,” Marsh said.
Roncalli’s 17-game winning streak is the longest in the state. The Rebels, who won the Class 4A state title in 2016, have won their first two games in Class 5A.
The third-ranked Rebels erupted for 23 points in the second quarter to take a 30-0 lead.
Gore connected with Jacob Luedeman for a 17-yard TD and followed that up with a 48-yard scoring pass to Michael Dill.
“It was the first play of that drive and the coach said we’re going to go for it,” Dill said. “We went deep and it worked. We were feeling it after that. We ran the ball a lot last week. We watched against (Franklin Central) and we noticed we could throw a lot. We took advantage of their defense.”
Dill had 114 yards on seven catches, one shy of the school record of eight catches by Chris Burke in 1978.
After tackling Franklin Central quarterback Dylan Bishop in the end zone for a safety, the Rebels proceeded to march downfield, scoring on Mahan’s 5-yard touchdown run.
The Flashes scored on the final play of the first half with a big assist from the Rebels. With no time left, the Rebels were called for a personal foul following Bishop’s 18-yard run. That gave the Flashes one play from the Roncalli 14, and Bishop connected with Austin Benner for the score.
Roncalli took a 37-7 lead in the third quarter on Murphy McManama’s 20-yard catch. The Flashes then scored on 13-yard touchdown catch by Benner.
With the Rebels subbing liberally, the Flashes pulled closer with Benner’s 36-yard TD catch with 3:21 to go in the game.
“We got a lot of people to play in the second half so that was good,” Marsh said. “We stuck in some base defense when we started subbing and they had some advantages. But that’s okay. It’s a matter of getting kids experience and that’s going to pay off down the road.”
Patrick McManama scored on an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for Roncalli.