It started out so well for Bay with a 10-0 first quarter lead. It didn’t end so badly either, with a pair of touchdowns in the final minutes of the game.
It was what happened in between that had Rockets head coach Ryan Gorius concerned in a 34-24 loss at Westlake Friday night.
The Demons rattled off 34 unanswered points, beginning with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Perkins near the end of the first quarter. A touchdown run by Jonathan Brick near the end of the third made it 34-10, an uphill battle for Gorius’ young club.
“We had some big plays, but then they started to bring pressure,” Gorius told reporters after addressing his team in the south end zone at Lou Duchez Field. “That was the same thing Orange did to us last week.
“The pressure rattled some of our guys, as it would,” Gorius said. “When we were checking plays at the line, they were checking their defense. They’d give us one look and then switch, so all of a sudden a play that we thought we had, they had a better shot at defending it.
“Our kids have to learn a lot. Last week, we had to learn how to finish games. This week, we have to learn that when you’re up, you can’t give any team any bit of hope. You get a 10-0 lead, but that long pass play got them right back into the game,” he said.
The Rockets, who had struggled offensively the previous week against Orange, put together a five play, 51-yard drive on their second possession of the game. It opened with a 21-yard pass play from quarterback Ryan Kana to junior Andy Barbour that got the ball all the way down to the Demon 30-yard line.
A pass interference penalty on Westlake put the ball on the 15, then Kana ran a pair of keepers to get the Rockets closer at the six. On third down and one, Barbour took the handoff and ran off left tackle for the touchdown with 6:31 left in the first quarter. Jack Creech made the conversion kick, and it was 7-0 Bay.
The Rockets’ next drive stalled, resulting in a punt. But Barbour recovered the muffed reception by the Demons, giving Bay the ball at the Westlake 13. A one-yard loss, a pass incompletion and a delay of game penalty after a timeout, however, short-circuited that drive as well.
Creech came in and drilled a 37-yard field goal for a 10-0 Bay lead, but Gorius knew his team had missed a golden opportunity.
“There were some things coaching wise down in that red zone area that I’m not happy about,” he said. “You shouldn’t have a delay of game penalty after a timeout. That’s a coaching error. We needed a touchdown there...I think they were happy to get away with just allowing the field goal.
“We didn’t turn the ball over, so we’ve won the turnover battle two weeks in a row. That’s something we can build on. And what we did in the fourth quarter, looking back on it, we sure could have used a few extra minutes,” he added.
The Rockets, behind backup quarterback Chris Brajdic, rallied in the final minutes with a pair of touchdown passes to Zack Baumgard and Ryan Voiers.
“We made a switch at quarterback, and he did everything we wanted when we wanted it,” Gorius said. “We’re still going to need both of them as the season goes along. We want competition, Competition at quarterback, really at any position, breeds success.
“They’ll push each other. They’re good kids, and they each offer something a little bit different to the team,” he added.