By Todd Rohde
Anyone in attendance at the Richmond-Burton and Genoa-Kingston football game Sept. 13th was treated to a real gem of a performance. That’s because the Rockets and Cogs squared off in a competitive and exciting showdown that kept the fans on the edge of their seats in a game that came right down to the wire and overtime to determine the outcome.
Unfortunately for the Rockets though, they came out on the short end of a one-point heartbreaking loss in a hard-fought battle that just as easily could have gone either way. Just when it looked as if the Rockets may squeak by with the victory, they were dispatched a 29-28 Big Northern Conference defeat in overtime at Genoa.
It was the BNC Eastern Division opener for the Rockets, who suffered their second straight defeat and dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in league play for the season. What made the loss even tougher to digest was the fact that it was the Cogs first win of the season, as they improved to 1-2 and 1-0 on the year.
Despite the loss though, the Rockets have plenty of positives to build on as they played a pretty solid all-around game on both sides of the ball. Richmond continues to improve and take steps forward with each performance this year as they are really coming together nicely as a program.
This was all quite evident right from the get go, as the Rockets got off to a quick start to jump out to the 7-0 advantage. Less than two minutes into the contest, Rocket running back Luke Brinkmann used some key blocks upfront and broke free for a 57-yard touchdown scamper on Richmond’s opening possession to gain some momentum.
This is where the score remained until right before the half when things got pretty interesting in a short period of time. That’s because it became a defensive battle by both teams making some big stops at key moments, as almost 20 minutes passed between the first and second quarters without any scoring occurring.
Then things got crazy, as the Cogs first knotted the score at 7-7 with just 1:33 remaining before the half. Not to be outdone though just 14 seconds later, the Rockets answered right back with a score of their own. Richmond took a 14-7 lead into the locker room with them, thanks to Kyle Kirby taking the ensuing kickoff 78 yards the other way into the end zone for the touchdown.
Just when it looked as if the Rockets had them momentum in their favor, the see-saw battle continued into the second half as the Cogs refused to give in without a fight. G-K scored on a two-yard touchdown run at the 6:30 mark of the third quarter, but the point-after attempt was no good as the Rockets clung to a slim 14-13 lead.
The Cogs would go on to overtake their first lead midway through the fourth quarter with another two-yard scoring run. This time G-K would convert on the two-point conversion try to make the score 21-14 in their favor and put the pressure on the Rockets to respond.
With the game on the line, Richmond was up for the challenge as they capped off an impressive 10-play drive with a score of their own. With just 1:47 left in regulation, Rocket quarterback Danny Rygiel hooked up with Brad Boelkow out of the backfield for a 29-yard touchdown reception to tie the score at 21-21 and send the game into overtime.
With both teams getting an equal opportunity in the extra period, the Rockets struck first on a four-yard touchdown run from Boelkow to temporarily go up 28-21. G-K’s Sal Lopez answered right back with a two-yard TD run of his own and then took in the two-point conversion run for the victory.
Leading the way for the Rockets offensively was Brinkmann finishing with 81 yards rushing on just eights carries for a hefty 10-yard average per running attempt. Rygiel also passed for 60+ yards on the night, well more than he had in his first two games combined.