By: Dan Stickradt
FOOTBALL: Adams downs Rochester for 20th straight time
BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — Rochester Adams’ spell on arch-rival Rochester continued Thursday night.
The Highlanders took advantage of three first-half turnovers and rolled to a 38-6 OAA crossover victory over the Falcons in the 2017 season opener at Adams.
The win marked Adams’ 20th straight victory over Rochester spanning a 21-year period. The two did not meet in 2011.
Adams led 31-6 at the half and never looked back, scoring on five of seven first-half drives — three following turnovers — in building its 25-point advantage.
Cole Patritto finished with nine carries for 134 yards and a touchdown. Stephen Roncelli added 10 carries for 86 yards and a score, while Chase Kareta followed with 11 rushes for 55 yards and one touchdown for the Highlanders, who out-gained Rochester 393-224.
All but 17 yards of the Adams offense was via the ground assault.
“I mean it’s a great rivalry, props to Rochester they played great game. But I trust the guys besides me and I trust my coaches,” said Roncelli. “A great way to start to the year. We played a great game.”
Adams set the tone with a 12-play, 69-yard drive to open the game, capped by a 5-yard scamper from Kareta with 5:30 to play in the opening quarter for a 6-0 advantage.
The Highlanders took advantage of a Rochester fumble two plays after the kickoff and Roncelli’s 4-yard run and two-point conversion run pushed the lead up to 14-0.
Adams converted on its fourth drive when Patritto raced into the end zone from 7 yards out, while Roncelli blazed a 35-yard trail for another score and 28-0 lead late in the second quarter.
“We wanted to come out and established balance with run and pass, however they were kind of loading the box a little bit with eight guys, so we were able spread it out a little bit. We kind of took what they gave us,” said Adams coach Tony Patritto. “I think Chase Kareta is one of the most underrated (running) backs in the county. I haven't seen his name really anywhere — he’s really good. We saw with the few carries he had how effective he is.
“We have four guys — Vincent (Gray), Cole (Patritto), Kareta and Stephen Roncelli are some of the best two-way players in the county. They are all players we can really look to and we saw that tonight,” added Patritto.
Rochester spoiled the party when Brent Burtraw hooked up with Berkley-transplant David Karwaski for a 39-yard touchdown pass, which cut the lead down to 28-6.
Adams countered with a 30-yard field goal by Ben Patton just before the half.
The Highlanders tacked on one last scoring drive in the fourth quarter that was capped when Kareta scored on a 2-yard run.
Still, Adams was far from perfect, according to Coach Patritto.
“We didn’t play (four quarters) because we didn't play well in the third quarter,” said Patritto. “We gave them a little momentum late in the second quarter with that touchdown drive. Those are things that we’ll fix.”
Beyond the three turnovers, Rochester continuously shot itself in the foot with several dropped passes, penalties, missed tackles and blocking assignments.
Burtraw finished only 14-for-29 passing for 136 yards but threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball away once in the contest. Karwaski had five catches for 104 yards for the Falcons, who only had 88 rushing yards.
“(Adams) is way too good of a team with some really good players for us to be able to turn the ball over the way we did,” offered Rochester coach Erik Vernon. “I thought we did some good things in this game — but way too many mistakes. Week 1 you’re going to make some mistakes, but we committed way too many and (Adams) was able to capitalize on them. And a few times the ball was on the ground and they still scooped up (their own fumbles). That was the story of the game. They made plays and we didn’t.”