Hutchinson’s defense went its first two games without a single turnover. On Friday the Tigers erupted for six takeaways, and they needed each one to defeat the previously unbeaten Rocori Spartans 36-20.
“We started off a little slow, but every chance we had to get a turnover, we took it from them,” senior Tyler Schiller said. He had two interceptions in the game. “A majority of the time we capitalized on those opportunities, and that was huge.”
“We had a pursuit drill (last week) where if we didn’t get three turnovers, we were running,” said Ethan Beffert, who recovered one fumble. “We stressed the safeties to come up and force fumbles, get picks. I think the D-line had great pressure tonight, and we jumped routes. That’s what we needed to do from the beginning.”
Before the Tigers started taking the ball away, however, Rocori opened the game fast and furious to build a 12-0 lead.
Spartans quarterback Jack Steil threw for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, while the Tigers threw one interception and punted twice.
Although Hutchinson fans may have been concerned, the Tigers didn’t give up on their game plan and eventually turned the tide against Rocori.
“After the first quarter, I’m sure everybody that was here was going, ‘Uh oh, what’s going on here?’” Rostberg said. “And you know what, the kids didn’t panic. They just kept doing what we do.”
Hutchinson held the Spartans quarterback to just 104 yards passing the rest of the night and scored twice before halftime to take a 16-12 lead.
Rocori briefly took the lead back with a touchdown in the opening drive of the second half, but the Tigers responded with a grueling 11-play touchdown drive. During that series, Corrigan rushed the ball eight times including the final seven plays.
“That can kind of wear on a defense, when they know what we’re going to do and they still can’t stop it,” Rostberg said. “That is sometimes demoralizing for a defense.”
Corrigan was a wrecking ball on S.R. Knutson Field, rushing for 177 yards and all five Hutch touchdowns.
“We were just playing Hutch football,” Corrigan said. “That’s what it came down to.”
After the dominant drive in the third quarter, the Tigers controlled the rest of the game. They held Rocori scoreless the rest of the night and punched two more touchdowns into the end zone in the fourth quarter. The slow start was a distant memory.
“I think, just in every one of our minds we have no doubt that we are going to come out with a win, and we are going to fight until the fourth quarter,” Schiller said about the Tigers’ come-from-behind win. “It’s just that bulldog mentality through the entire game.”
The Tigers are now 3-0 and 2-0 in the North Central White standings, while the three teams they’ve beaten are all 2-1 overall — a sign of the competition Hutch has faced so far this year.
Hutchinson is back home at 7 p.m. Friday for its next game against the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles. The Eagles are 1-2 including a 53-0 loss to Becker last week.
Hutchinson 36, Rocori 20 (Sept. 13)
Rocori ... 12 0 8 0 — 20
Hutch ….. 0 16 6 14 — 36
R—Jack Steil 21-yard pass to Jayden Philippi (pass failed) 9:03
R—Steil 47-yard run to Andrew Anderson (pass failed) 2:31
H—Russell Corrigan 1-yard run (Corrigan run) 8:29
H—Corrigan 3-yard run (Corrigan run) 4:39
R—Steil 34-yard pass to Colton Baumgarten (Steil pass to Anderson) 9:07
H—Corrigan 12-yard run (pass failed) 2:10
H—Corrigan 13 run (Corrigan run) 6:23
H—Corrigan 27 run (run failed) 2:16
Rushing — Hutch: 50-325; Rocori: 29-103
Passing yards — Hutch: 3/8-77; Rocori: 12-217
Total offense — Hutch: 402; Rocori: 320
Passing: Corrigan 3-8-77-0-1
Rushing: Corrigan 24-177, Logan Holtz 2-4, Hayden Jensen 10-61, Tyler Schiller 10-52, Ty Glaser 4-31
Receiving: Sam Rensch 1-47, Beffert 2-30
Tackles: Holtz 6, Zeke Cosby 2, Billy Marquardt 3, Sam Rensch 3, Beffert 6, Mitchell Piehl 3, Alex Nelson 3, Glaser 2, Jake Schumann 5, Tristan Hoppe 14, Cody Kurth 6, Matthew Olberg 1
Interceptions: Holtz 1, Schiller 2, Schumann 1
Fumbles recovered: Beffert 1, Nelson 1