Football: Packers can’t keep pace with RocketsPublished 12:12am Saturday, September 14, 2013
ROCHESTER — The Packer football team couldn’t stop Rochester John Marshall’s big passing plays as Austin lost 42-22 to the Rockets on the road Friday.
The Rockets (3-0 overall, 3-0 Big Nine) connected on seven passes of 20 yards or more and four of those throws were for TDs.
“We’ve got to stop the pass,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said. “I think they need to get in position to be able to make a play on the ball and if we can’t do that, we’ve got to tackle them.”
As the Rockets succeeded through the air, the Packers offense had trouble holding off JM’s pass rush. The Rockets racked up five sacks and they held Austin quarterback Ryan Synoground to 84 yards passing as they pressured him early and often.
“We are not blocking,” Vesel said. “They’re a great group of guys and they work hard in practice, but we just couldn’t block them. We had some good passes ready to go and guys came in untouched. We need to get better.”
JM led 21-7 at the break and it broke the game open early in the second half as it scored on its first two possessions of the second frame to break open a 35-7 lead with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
The Rockets gambled early in the game and it paid off for them. Right after Austin’s Bret Lukes returned a kick-off 85 yards for a TD to put the Packers (0-3 overall, 0-3 Big Nine) ahead 7-6 in the first quarter, JM converted a fourth and two from its own 32-yard line by completing a 21 yard pass on a rollout. The Rockets later scored on a 23-yard TD pass to Brady Diggins on fourth and four to go up 14-7. JM also scored its third TD on a fourth down play as Sam Aakre hauled in a 30-yard TD grab on fourth and eight.
Austin’s defense held the Rockets to 107 yards rushing and they kept JM’s Jason Rieke in check as they held him to thee yards or less on 15 of his 20 carries.
“Early on we did good against the run and as the game went on, our run stop went better,” said Austin defensive end Gabe Gerstner, who had a sack in the loss. “Our weak point was pass defense and we knew they were going to pass on us, but we couldn’t stop it. They were finding open receivers too soon.”
The Packers are hungry for their first win and they’re next chance will come at Winona (1-2 overall, 1-2 Big Nine) next Friday at 7 p.m.
“I’m always optimistic going into games,” Gerstner said. “These are all games we can win if we just buckle down and grind it.”
Rushing: Nate Conner, 7-for-105, TD; Brandon Edgar, 7-for-38; Ryan Synoground, 10-for-12; Cory Hepler, 2-for-4; passing: Synoground, 9-for-19, 84, INT; Conner, 2-for-4, 26, TD, INT; Wessels, 0-for-1 receiving: Lukes, 5-for-45, TD; Wessels, 3-for-42; Edgar, 1-for-7; Conner, 2-for-6; sacks: Gabe Gerstner (1); Elijah Dahmen (1); Ethan Horstmann (1); penalties: 6-for-50
Rushing: 107; passing: 278; penalties: 6-for-60
Austin 7 0 7 8 — 22
JM 14 7 14 7 — 42
(JM) Brady Diggins 13 pass from Kaleb Strangler (kick failed) (4 plays, 78 yards) 7:24
(A) Bret Lukes 85 return (Wessels kick) (1 play, 85 yards) 7:11
(JM) Sam Aakre 30 pass from Strangler (Diggins from Strangler) (7 plays, 77 yards) 2:52
(JM) Jason Rieke 1 run (Benavidez kick) (6 plays, 21 yards) 11:50
(JM) Diggins 30 pass from Strangler (Benavidez kick) (8 plays, 68 yards) 6:43
(JM) Rieke 10 run (Benavidez kick) (5 plays, 52 yards) 3:39
(A) Nate Conner 65 run (Wessels kick) (2 plays, 76 yards) 3:16
(JM) Sam Moen 30 pass from Adam Herzog (Benavidez kick) (10 plays, 70 yards) 9:37
(A) Lukes 7 pass from Conner (Wessels kick) (5 plays, 73 yards) 4:15