Longhorns no match in title rematch
By KLINT SPILLER
NEWTON -- Baileyville-B&B High School football coach Justin Coup said his players heard all week about how physical and tough Kensington-Thunder Ridge was.
Coup said it served as a rallying cry for his players, because as they showed, they are pretty physical as well. The B&B Falcons (13-0) defeated Thunder Ridge 28-6 in the Eight-Man Division II state championship game Saturday at Fischer Field.
It was a re-match of last season's state championship game, but this time, B&B left the field as champions. Thunder Ridge won 46-14 last year.
"That was one thing we wanted to prove that we were probably more physical, and I thought we were today," Coup said. "We packed a punch at the line of scrimmage and dominated both sides of the line."
Thunder Ridge (11-2) struggled to get its running game going, as the Longhorns rushed for just 104 yards on 40 carries -- a 2.6-yard-per-carry average.
"We thought we'd have a chance to move the ball on them," Thunder Ridge head coach Jerry Voorhees said. "We are not a passing team, obviously."
Thunder Ridge's main weapon, senior fullback Trevor Lowe, ran for 61 yards on 21 carries.
Stuck in long third- and fourth-down conversions, Thunder Ridge junior quarterback Garrett Krueger completed 4 of 15 passes for 84 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Lowe said he was expecting a 3-3 defense but said B&B often deployed four linebackers.
"We couldn't find anywhere to run," Lowe said. "There wasn't any holes anywhere."
Meanwhile, B&B junior quarterback Dustin Rottinghaus orchestrated the Falcons' spread offense up and down the field.
Rottinghaus led his team with 81 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and he completed 16 of 22 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Coup said Rottinghaus, who started last season's state championship game against Thunder Ridge due to an injury to B&B's starting quarterback, has progressed greatly since then.
"I'm proud of him and the things he did," Coup said.
The Falcons dominated from the start, scoring on their first two possessions while holding the Longhorns to two three-and-outs.
In the second quarter, B&B added another score, as Rottinghaus completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to senior end Tyler Deters on an out route to go up 22-0.
The Falcons outgained Thunder Ridge by 199 yards to 88 at halftime.
The Longhorns didn't get their offense going until the fourth quarter.
After B&B scored to go up 28-0, Thunder Ridge drove 65 yards on 13 plays.
Krueger capped the drive by connecting with Lowe on a 20-yard touchdown pass. The pass bounced off Tyler Deters' hands, and Lowe made a bobbling catch in the end zone.
It was the Falcons' second state championship in three years, but for Coup, who took over last season as head coach for Steve Tiernan, it was his first state title with B&B.
"It's something you always dream of," Coup said. "You get so close last year, and you're thinking are we going to get back here? These guys worked really hard to get back here, and it's something I'll treasure forever."
The loss marked the end to a magical 11-win run for Thunder Ridge, which graduated six starters on each side of the ball from last season's 13-0 state championship team.
"Everything we lost last year, I don't think anybody expected us to be back there," Voorhees said. "It's a credit to our kids. We have great kids. They play so hard."
"I would go to battle with that group of kids in the locker room any day of the week," Voorhees added.
Lowe said he was happy to be there but wished the Longhorns would have left as champions.
"It was a lot better than I thought at the beginning (of the season)," Lowe said. "I didn't think we'd make it to state again because we lost so much."