The Shadle Park Highlanders made short work of Rogers on Friday night. The postgame celebration was even shorter following an easy 62-14 win in the opening game of the season at Albi Stadium.
With a game against Ferris looming on Thursday, head coach Alan Stanfield told his players that the work begins today with team meetings.
“It’s nice to enjoy this, but we have our work cut out for us next week,” said Stanfield, whose team led 48-6 at halftime behind five touchdown passes from junior quarterback Brett Rypien.
The Highlanders amassed 484 yards of total offense, mostly through the air as Rogers packed its defense to stop the run. “We wanted to run more, but Rogers put more men in the box than we could block,” Stanfield said.
The result was a big day for Rypien, who completed 15 of 21 pass attempts for 323 yards and one interception before exiting at halftime with backup Matt Keenan taking over. The highlights included a pair of 49-yard scores to Alvin Welch and Tanner Pauly.
The Highlanders struck first. On fourth-and-4 from the Rogers 30, Rypien found Nick Kiourkas over the middle, and Kiourkas did the rest, evading a Rogers defender and scooting into the end zone less than three minutes into the game.
Running the wing-T offense, Rogers responded with a 15-play, 65-yard drive that was abetted by two big penalties on Shadle Park. On third-and-9 at the Shadle 22, Dom Sanders’ pass was returned 95 yards by Kyle Kinney for an apparent touchdown, but the play was wiped out by a roughing-the-passer penalty.
Three plays later, running back Nick Challinor scored from 4 yards out. But Shadle came right back on Rypien’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Welch.
“The wing-T is tough to simulate in practice,” Stanfield said, “but once they got used to it they played like we expected them to,” Stanfield said.
A great defensive play by Connor Tangeman forced a Rogers punt, and the Highlanders needed just three plays to go ahead 21-6 on a 3-yard run by Stanley Renz in the first minute of the second quarter.
After another Rogers punt, Rypien needed just one pass – a 49-yarder to Pauly – to make it 28-6. An interception set up another TD run by Renz that all but put this one way with 8:44 still left in the second quarter.
Shadle scored twice more in the second quarter, including Thilo Graham’s 22-yard catch from Rypien on the final play before intermission.
Rogers finished with 198 yards of total offense.