Rebels have no trouble in sectional opener


Host Roncalli scored touchdowns on its first four possessions in Friday’s IHSAA Class 4A sectional opener against Frankfort.

The result was a 28-0 win for the Rebels.

Quarterback Robbie Strader broke three school passing records, despite the first team offense being pulled by coach Bruce Scifres late in the second quarter with the Rebels’ leading 28-0.

Roncalli (6-4) will play at Lebanon in Friday’s second round. The Tigers beat Western on Friday night.

Strader’s passing accuracy has been a key to the Rebels’ four-game winning streak, with the senior having completed a school-record 107 of 166 attempts. He also broke the record for most completions in a season, set in 1976 by Chad Huck, and now has the best single-game accuracy rate at 10 for 10 on the night.

“It starts with good pass blocking, because if he’s hurried, he’ll have a hard time getting completions,” Rebels coach Bruce Scifres said. “Then you have the quarterback being poised and making good decisions to find the open receiver.

“Number three, you have to have guys who catch the ball. It certainly is a team effort.”

After the Rebels’ defense forced Frankfort to a three and out on the game’s first possession, Roncalli’s Justin Saylor returned the punt 40 yards to give his team a first and goal at the Frankfort 8. Three plays later,  Strader ran it in from the one-yard line, and Patrick Sandler’s kick made it 7-0 in the opening minutes.

The pattern continued on the next sequence. Frankfort (5-5) punted after three plays and Roncalli drove 49 yards in nine plays, despite two penalties. Nate Fries carried five times on the drive, including its final play, a 1-yard scoring run.

Another three and out and another scoring drive closed out the first quarter, with Strader hitting Trevor Jacob for a 12-yard scoring pass on the final play of the first quarter.

On the Rebels’ next drive, Strader broke the school’s single-season record for passes completed, connecting with Luke Smock for his eighth consecutive completion on the night and his 107th for the season. The play and a 42-yard pass to Fries keyed an 82-yard scoring drive, which Fries finished with another 2-yard touchdown run to make it 28-0.

Scifres put in his backups on offense on the Rebels’ next possession, perhaps the best indication of the game’s status at that point of the second quarter. 

The Rebels’ defense also came up big. For the first half, they held the Hot Dogs to minus 1 yards in total offense and just one first down (on a penalty).

“Our defensive front and our linebacker play were both really solid,” Scifres said. “We send the linebackers a lot, so that works hand in hand for us.”

“They both did really well for us and it was also good to get a lot of people in during the second half and keep starters healthy.”