College football: RCTC takes to road for first time
The Rochester Community and Technical College football team takes to the road for the first time as the Yellowjackets face Itasca in Grand Rapids on Saturday.
First-year RCTC coach Bill Quistorff said his squad is ready to play on the road. The start of the game has been moved back a half hour until 2 p.m.
"We had a couple of good practices and we're ready to go," he said.
RCTC (1-0) is coming off a five-point win over Northland in its season opener while Itasca stumbled 47-8 against Ridgewater. Those two wins by RCTC and Ridgewater were part of a perfect 5-0 mark by the Southern Division against Northern Division foes during the first week of the season.
Itasca struggled both offensively and defensively a week ago.
"Their numbers are down right now, but they always play us tough at home," Quistorff said of Itasca. "We're expecting them to play us tough."
RCTC rolled up 480 yards of offense last week, while Itasca allowed 451 total yards.
"We're going to try and get up on them early and use both the running and passing game," Quistorff said. "And then maybe we'll open up the playbook more."
Freshman quarterback Tanner Menke had a solid first game for RCTC as he completed 13 of 31 passes for 281 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Running backs Virgil Hammond (18 carries, 84 yards) and Alex Schliesmann (8 carries, 81 yards) both had strong first games. Schliesmann, recovering from an ankle injury, broke a 60-yard TD run on his first carry of the game in the third quarter and could be in line for more action this week.
Despite last week's win, the Yellowjackets know they have plenty to work on.
"We definitely have to improve our execution," Schliesmann said.
Quistorff agrees, especially after RCTC had 12 penalties for more than 100 yards last week.
"We have to clean things up and get lined up in the right spot," the coach said. "Regaining our focus this week is important and we have to stay disciplined. We want to fix the mental mistakes and keep the momentum in our favor."
The Yellowjackets will also try to shore up their defense after allowing 371 yards and 34 points in the opener. Northland passed for 239 yards against the Yellowjackets.
"They (Northland) had a good game plan, but I think we've tightened up the secondary," Quistorff said. "I think we've tightened some things up and we're back looking to hold them to zero points."
RCTC did intercept four passes in the opener. Larry Moore returned one of those picks 14 yards for a TD. The freshman from Calumet City, Ill., also had four tackles and was named the Southern Division Defensive Player of the Week.