What looked like an easy win for the Rochester Community and Technical College football team on Saturday was maybe a bit of a team-building experience instead.
The host Yellowjackets looked like they were in control against Northland with a 25-6 lead in the fourth quarter. But the Pioneers, the two-time defending state champions, rattled off three straight touchdowns to take a 26-25 lead with just 3:06 to play.
Instead of getting down, the RCTC offense marched down the field. Freshman backup quarterback Justin Lynn capped a 68-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Severyn Foster with just 1:14 left. The two then connected on the 2-point conversion and RCTC prevailed for a 33-26 win in its home opener.
"The mindset was just to get the 'W' and to just get the win," Lynn said. "I told them to just go out there and be calm and relax."
The game-winning TD came on a third-and-4 play as the Yellowjackets won their second straight game to improve to 2-1.
"On that I just saw the receiver pop open so I gave him the ball," Lynn said.
Lind hit Cam Green with passes of 12 and 11 yards earlier in the drive.
"I just saw what they were weak at so I was taking advantage," Lynn said.
Following the touchdown, the RCTC defense stopped Northland on four plays to seal the win.
"Our guys are so much tighter this year," RCTC coach Derrick Hintz said. "They all stayed together the whole game and backed each other up."
Both teams had to rely on reserves as the two starting quarterbacks were knocked out with injuries in the first quarter. RCTC freshman Jacob Guidry left with a neck injury and he is unlikely to play next week.
"If he stays in there, we score 70," Hintz said.
Lynn was the third RCTC QB used. He had his best game of the season as he completed 13 of 23 passes for 168 yards and a TD. Foster and Green each had five catches.
"I thank my O-line because without them, we wouldn't be doing any of those things," Lynn said.
Mayo grad Israel Lozoya also had a strong game. He rushed for 116 yards on just 10 carries, including a 65-yard TD run. He also had an 88-yard kickoff return and a 30-plus yard TD run negated by penalty.
"Speedy (Lozoya) had a good game, he's special," Hintz said. "We'd like to get him 20 touches a game, but he has to learn the offense."
Yellowjackets kicker Braulio Arango-Aguilar also had a stellar game as he was 3-for-3 on field goals. The RCTC special teams chipped in as Joshua Miser blocked a punt out of end zone for safety in the first quarter.
Northland starting QB Zacharie Georges also left in the first quarter, which greatly limited the Pioneers' passing attack. Northland basically used a Wild Cat formation the rest of the game. RCTC held the Pioneers to 106 yards the first three quarters before the Pioneers broke loose for 182 yards rushing in the fourth quarter.
Trenod Desrosier finished with 148 yards on 22 carries, including a pair of 31-yard TD runs for the Pioneers while Raphael Bell ran for 116 yards and two TDs, both the fourth quarter.
"Kudos to them," Hintz said. "(But) we stayed together as a team and we won the game."
RCTC plays at Vermilion at 1:30 p.m. this coming Saturday.
"It gives us confidence, but we have to keep working though," Lynn said of beating Northland.
RCTC 33, Northland 26
RCTC — Braulio Arango-Aguilar 30 FG, 8:38.
RCTC — Joshua Miser blocked punt out of end zone for safety, 5:20
RCTC — Braulio Arango-Aguilar 39 FG, 0:15.
NOR — Trenod Desrosier 31 run (kick blocked), 10:26.
RCTC — Jason Stewart Jr. 5 run (Arango-Aguilar kick), 4:33.
RCTC — Arango-Aguilar 40 FG, 9:12.
RCTC — Israel Lozoya 65 run (Arango-Aguilar kick), 3:49.
NOR — Raphael Bell 58 run (kick failed), 11:50.
NOR — Desrosier 31 run (Rashidi Kikopa kick), 8:18.
NOR — Raphael Bell 1 run (Kikopa kick), 3:06.
RCTC — Severyn Foster 25 pass from Justin Lynn (Foster pass from Lynn), 1:14.
First downs 11 18
Total yards 288 342
Rush att.-yards 49-253 27-127
Passing yards 35 215
Passing comp.-att.-int 4-8-1 18-38-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-2
Punts 5-31.2 3-32.0
Penalties-yards 10-91 12-123
Northland: Trenod Desrosier 22-148, Raphael Bell 21-116, Derrance Moore 4-3, Zacharie Georges 2-(-14). RCTC: Israel Lozoya 10-116, Jason Stewart Jr. 6-23, Dylan VanBoxel 1-12, Cody Hogan 1-8, Justin Lynn 6-(-14), Team 1-(-15).
Northland: Zacharie Georges 1 comp., 2 att., 0 TD, 0 int., 5 yards; Raphael Bell 3-6-0-1, 30 yards. RCTC: Jacob Guidry 0-2-0-0, 0 yards; Justin Lynn 13-23-1-0, 168 yards; Dylan VanBoxel 4-12-0-0, 51 yards; Cody Hagen 1-1-0-0, minus-4 yards.
Northland: Angel Disla 3-30, Walter Williams 1-5. RCTC: Severyn Foster 5-77, Cam Green 5-75, Israel Lozoya 3-18, Gerald Sama 2-13, Levi Bulfer 1-20, KJ Franklin 1-16, Justin Lynn 1-0, Peter Osman 1-(-4).