Rocori Captures State AAAA Football Title
The Rocori Spartans captured the Class AAAA state championship in dramatic fashion, defeating SMB 22-21 in overtime. The Spartans finish the season 10-2.
The Wolfpack struck first when quarterback Jalen Suggs scampered into the end zone from two yards out, capping an eight-play, 60 yard drive to open the game and make the score 7-0 four minutes into the opening quarter.
Following a Rocori punt and a Wolfpack turnover on downs, the Spartans completed a six-play, 60 yard scoring drive with a Jack Steil two-yard touchdown run with :40 left in the first, tying the score 7-7.
The Spartans avoided allowing another touchdown during a long SMB drive when Tucker Haakonson intercepted a Suggs pass in the end zone with 11:12 left in the second quarter. Rocori had a chance to take a 10-7 lead on a 26 yard field goal late in the quarter, but the Christian Rodriguez kick sailed wide.
SMB lost quarterback Suggs to an apparent leg injury as time wound down in the second quarter, with the senior needing a pair of teammates to help him off the field. However, Suggs would return to play on both sides of the football in the second half, albeit with a noticeable limp.
The Spartans took a 14-7 lead by scoring on their first possession after halftime, capped by Jack Steil’s four-yard touchdown run, his second of the game and seventh in his past two games.
The Wolfpack answered with a seven-play, 80-yard drive that took over five minutes off of the clock and tied the game at 14, where it would remain at the end of the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime.
SMB started overtime on offense, and despite taking a false start penalty that forced them into a third and goal from the six yard line, Terry Lockett pulled in a six yard reception for a touchdown to give the Wolfpack a 21-14 lead.
However, the Spartans would not be denied, cashing in on a fourth-and-goal play from the 15 yard line to get within a point, then winning on a Jack Steil two point conversion pass to Andrew Anderson for the 22-21 win.
Steil finished the game 8-13 through the air for 111 yards and touchdown, while also rushing for 119 yards and a pair of scores.