The nightcap Friday at Joe Albi Stadium may have been a showdown between winless teams – and on paper stacked up as perhaps a snoozer – it was nothing short of entertaining from the outset.
North Central moved up and down the field as the Indians held off the Rogers Pirates 47-32 in a Greater Spokane League football game that didn’t feature much defense.
The Indians started to distance themselves from the Pirates early in the third when Rogers fumbled the opening kickoff and it was recovered by Jordan Wertman.
Quarterback Jake Hoffman hit receiver Jimmy Weigel on a 10-yard TD pass as NC increased its lead to 41-18.
NC’s defense stiffened in the second half. The Indians’ defensive front was much more active, greatly limiting Rogers running back Luke Rogers’ production.
Rogers made it a game deep into the fourth quarter. The Pirates pulled within 41-32 when quarterback Dominic Sanders hit Jamal Gray on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 3:55 to play.
The Pirates lined up for an onside kick, but the ball bounced into the hands of NC’s do-everything back Jake Hoffman, who dashed 50 yards for a game-clinching TD.
The play-with-no-fear approach served NC (1-2) well in the first half, especially on its last scoring play. Quarterback Quinn Zerba threw a 3-yard hitch to Marcus Saugen, who pitched the ball back to Hoffman on the old hook-and-latter play. Hoffman sprinted the final 25 yards to give the Indians a 34-18 lead with 32 seconds to go before halftime.
In the first half alone, Zerba, who sped 75 and 50 yards on TD scampers, and Hoffman combined to rush 12 times for 238 yards. Zerba finished with 130 and Hoffman had 123.
Rogers was his typical workhorse self for the Pirates (0-3) in the opening two quarters. He scored on a 30-yard run and blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for another score. Rogers rushed 17 times for 158 yards in the first half. He ended with 214 on 32 carries.