Class 4A No. 4 Roncalli scored 24 unanswered points Friday night and defeated visiting Plainfield 24-7 in the opening round of sectional competition.
For the Rebels, who are now 46-7 all-time at Roncalli Stadium, the victory was the school’s fifth consecutive against the Quakers (5-5). In fact, Roncalli has now topped Plainfield three straight seasons in the opening round of sectional play.
Overall, the Rebels and Quakers have been sectional opponents in four consecutive seasons.
The Rebels (8-2) have now secured an eight-win
season for the first time since 2005.
On Friday against Plainfield, senior Dylan Evans rushed 31 times for a career high 170 yards and two touchdowns in relief of starting tailback David Holtkamp, who was forced into action as a defensive back because of an injury in Roncalli’s secondary.
Holtkamp did carry the ball twice for 11 yards but was especially effective on the defensive side of the ball. His interception late in the third quarter halted a drive by the Quakers.
Senior defensive back Daniel Ferry also recorded a drive-stopping interception. His came early in the fourth quarter.
Senior running back Luke Otley rushed five times for 17 yards and added a touchdown for Roncalli as the Rebels improved to 24-4 all-time in sectional openers and 17-1 at home.
While playing the 114th postseason game in Roncalli history, the Rebels won their 16th postseason contest at home in 17 attempts.
For the Quakers, senior running back Auggie Blevins rushed 15 times for 56 yards, and quarterback Jacob Jay completed nine of 17 pass attempts for 102 yards and a touchdown. However, beyond the game’s first possession, Plainfield struggled to move the ball against the Roncalli defense.
Throughout the night, Jay’s primary target was senior receiver Chad Middleton, who hauled in six catches for 86 yards.
The Quakers stunned Roncalli during their first possession of the night, scoring a touchdown after a six-play, 73-yard drive.
But the Rebels answered on their opening possession as well, with Evans scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run with 4:24 left in the first period. Plainfield blocked the Rebels’ extra-point attempt after the Evans touchdown. But Roncalli scored again, early in the second quarter, when Otley punched the ball into the end zone from a yard out.
Following a two-point conversion run by quarterback Cam Smock, the Rebels had a 14-7 lead.
Senior Kyle Kedra’s 21-yard field goal with 7:19 remaining in the second quarter gave the Rebels a 17-7 advantage at halftime.
Roncalli will continue to battle for its first sectional crown since 2005 when the Rebels travel to Greenwood for a 7 p.m. game on Friday. It will be Roncalli’s first-ever visit to the home field of the Woodmen.