This time, it was North Central playing the role of second-half spoiler.
A week after blowing a large lead and ultimately losing, the Indians (2-8) woke up after a lackluster first half to defeat the Rogers Pirates (0-10) 20-7 at Albi Stadium. NC scored all of its points in the second half.
“We really tried to stress that this game was just as important as every game that we play,” said NC coach Brian Gardner. “The kids played a little slow, then kind of picked it up in the second half. I’m proud of them. They battled and it was a good victory.”
After heading into halftime down 7-0, NC quarterback Quinn Zerba went 65 yards on the first play of the second half to start the scoring for the Indians. Zerba later connected with Marcus Saugen on a 21-yard touchdown pass to give NC the lead. A roughing the passer penalty on Rogers set up the play.
But Saugen wasn’t finished.
The Pirates fumbled on their next possession and Saugen picked it up and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.
Zerba picked off a pass from Rogers quarterback Dominic Sanders to seal the victory late in the fourth quarter. On offense, he finished with 120 yards rushing on 17 carries. He also threw for 93 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
“He’s been our go-to guy for four years,” Gardner said. “He plays hard, he’s smart, he flies around. When we need somebody, that’s who we go to.”
Rogers running back James Welty carried the load for the Pirates, bruising the NC defense and finishing with 70 yards on 17 carries.
NC avoided a repeat of last year when it lost to Rogers in a nonleague game at the end of the season.
Mead 30, Hanford 7: In the early game, both the Panthers (5-5) and the Falcons (2-8) had trouble keeping possession, as the teams combined for five turnovers.
But the Panthers took advantage of its gifted opportunities en route to a 30-7 victory in a nonleague game at Albi Stadium.
The Falcons picked off Mead’s first pass attempt and returned it for a touchdown but from then on, it was all Panthers.
Mead used an interception return for a touchdown by Garrett Norris in the second half and a 61-yard touchdown run from Aleks Vasilyev to put the Falcons away.
Mead rushed 46 times for 348 yards, with AJ Layton and Braden Barranco leading the way with 97 and 92 yards, respectively.
Neither team had any success in the passing game. Hanford’s Aaron Enderlin completed just one of 13 pass attempts for minus-8 yards. Mead’s Daniel Munoz didn’t complete any of his six pass attempts, three of which were interceptions.