RCTC posts shutout in season finale
Late in the game, with the outcome already decided, the cheering on the Rochester Community and Technical College sideline was still going strong. And players were yelling for the second-team defense.
That's because after a strong defensive effort the entire game against Minnesota West, RCTC was still trying to record a shutout. The Yellowjackets made a defensive stop, just outside the red zone, to keep Minnesota West scoreless, much to the delight of the Rochester players.
The final result was an easy 40-0 RCTC victory on Thursday at Rochester Regional Sports Stadium as the Yellowjackets concluded their regular season with an 8-1 record.
"We want the goose egg," RCTC defensive lineman Parker Berg said of the shutout. It was RCTC's second shutout of the season, and the team has also held two foes to just one touchdown.
"We just played our defense," RCTC defensive lineman Josh Fenderson said. "All this week we practiced being more intense. We always play good, (today) we just finished."
The Yellowjackets held Minnesota West to a meager 95 total yards of offense, and just 21 yards on 20 plays in the first half. Minnesota West had just one first down in the first half and that came with a minute left in the second quarter.
The Yellowjackets completely shut down the Minnesota West passing attack. Quarterback Teddy Joseph entered the game completing just 39 percent of his passes. On Thursday he was 0-for-10 in the first half. He finished 3-for-21 for a paltry 13 yards.
"We had a lot of blitzing going and a lot of stunts on the D-line," Berg said. "And we were pretty quick off the ball."
"We've been strong on our pass rush all year," Fenderson said.
The Yellowjackets had four sacks as Fenderson, Nate Jensen, Reggie Ibhaze and Kevin Klocek had one each. Safety Alex Benson, a Mayo grad, also picked off a pair of passes in the first half.
"Our man coverage was pretty good, too," RCTC coach Brad LaPlante said.
The Yellowjackets also had a strong offensive effort. They wasted little time getting started in the game as Derick Heitkamp tossed a 37-yard scoring pass to Isaac Fruechte on the first play from scrimmage.
Before the first quarter had ended, the special teams chipped in with a safety, Daruis Johnson had a 3-yard TD run and Heitkamp hit Brantley Pate with a 20-yard scoring pass for a 24-0 lead.
"It keeps our momentum going," Berg said. "We wanted to score a bunch. They walked on the field and we knew they didn't want to be here."
Heitkamp completed 11 of 15 passes for 197 yards while Kramer Berg came off the bench to pass for 84 more yards. Chris Hicks had four receptions for 99 yards while Fruechte and Brian Kawalsinski had three catches each.
"I thought our offensive line played better and our rushing was better," LaPlante said.
Johnson led RCTC with 79 yards rushing of 16 carries. Travis Laurent and Chatfield's Bryan Neis added rushing touchdowns in the second and third quarters.
With the win, the Yellowjackets wrap up their 2010 home season with a 4-0 mark. LaPlante also noted that the sophomore class has now posted an 18-3 record over the past two years.
"They've done an outstanding job and deserve a lot of credit," LaPlante said.
RCTC will now play at Mesabi Range in the state quarterfinals on Oct. 30.