Rebels run way to 19th straight victory


Roncalli senior running back Patrick McManama had just 11 carries. Four of them, however, went for touchdowns.

McManama’s scoring prowess, along with Conner Gore throwing for 211 yards, led the Class 5A No. Rebels to a 45-20 rout of visiting Plainfield Friday night.

The Rebels (4-0), ranked No. 1 in Class 5A after winning the Class 4A state title last year, have tied the school record with 19 consecutive victories.

McManama had touchdown runs of 10, 1, 11 and 7 yards. He finished with 53 yards on 11 carries.

Roncalli coach Scott Marsh said the team had struggled in short-yardage situations the previous game.

“We did some things to make sure we had Patrick going downhill in those situations because he’s a handful,” Marsh said. “The offensive line has really become one of our strengths. The running game has been something we can rely on after we get up a couple of possessions.”

Gore completed 17 of 20 passes with two touchdowns.

“He’s still learning how to play quarterback; this is only the fourth start of his varsity career,” Marsh said. “We’re still trying to learn how to coach him because he has a unique skill set. He can run it. He can throw it. He’s such a marvelous athlete. I thought he looked most comfortable as he’s been.”

After Plainfield (2-2) took a 14-7 lead with 4 seconds left in the first quarter, Roncalli turned it on offensively and defensively.

The Rebels scored 38 unanswered points, including 24 in the second quarter to take 31-14 halftime lead.

“I can’t say enough about staying the course,” Marsh said. “We haven’t faced much adversity this year. We made a few adjustments and our quarterback and Jacob Luedeman took over.

Luedeman tied it with a 12-yard pass from Gore. Then the Rebels blocked a punt in the end zone for a safety to go ahead for good at 16-14.

Roncalli increased the lead to 23-14 on a 42-yard TD pass from Gore to Michael Dill. A one-handed 35-yard catch by Luedeman on the next drive put the ball on the 1, setting up a McManama score.

“It was my best catch in a game; in practice it’s pretty usual,” Luedeman said. “I extended it out open-handed and as soon as it hit my hand it stuck on there. I got gypped out of the touchdown. I thought I was in.”

McManama had a TD in each quarter of the second half. Plainfield’s Tavian Gadia’s 70-yard TD run was the final score of the night.

Roncalli had scored first on a 10-yard run by McManama before the Quakers tied it on a 7-yard pass from Ben Slaton to Dawson Anderson. Anderson’s 1-yard TD run gave Plainfield its brief lead.

Author photo
Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.