RBCHS Football: 2013-2014 Season~1st round playoff
December 4, 2013Richmond Burton High School
RB offensive lineman Bryce Wagner in Class 4A recieves all state honor. Wagner (6-7, 335) was a force on the offensive line for the Rockets' running game. (NWHerald 11/22/13)
Evergreen Park holds off Richmond-Burton
By JEFF ARNOLD - email@example.com
EVERGREEN PARK – Danny Rygiel slowly walked toward the sideline, the last remaining Richmond-Burton player to leave the field.
The Rockets' senior quarterback had already broken down twice, evidenced by the eye black smeared down his face by tears.
Like much of R-B's season, Saturday's Class 4A playoff opener had been a struggle. But as had been the case the previous nine weeks, adversity hadn't diminished the way Rygiel and his teammates fought. But this one – a 33-17 loss to top-seeded Evergreen Park – was the toughest to swallow.
"We never gave up," Rygiel said. "We just couldn't get the stops at the right time."
Stopping Evergreen Park (10-0) meant trying to shut down Mustangs running back Keyshawn Carpenter, who ran for 265 yards and a touchdown to go along with a touchdown catch that put the game away after R-B (5-5) cut the deficit to 25-17 late in the third quarter.
It seemed every time the Rockets got close, like they did after Nicholas Bianchini recovered a blocked punt in the end zone, Carpenter had an answer.
Carpenter's 7-yard touchdown catch capped a four-play scoring drive that extended the Mustangs' lead after Rygiel connected with Luke Brinkmann on a 61-yard touchdown pass earlier in the third quarter.
"We knew coming in that we had to score a lot of points to be able to win this game," Carpenter said. "So the momentum swings were huge. They're a hard-nosed team and nobody's going to give up in the playoffs. They're in the playoffs for a reason and that's what teams do."
R-B, which had been the last team to get into the playoffs after finishing the regular season at 5-4, never stopped fighting. The Rockets intercepted a pair of Sean Ryan passes, including one in the end zone, to go along with the blocked punt that resulted in the Rockets' final touchdown.
But R-B couldn't manage to ever completely shrink the deficit it faced most of the night, turning the ball over in the fourth quarter before being unable to produce any points after the blocked punt.
"We had opportunities and we just weren't able to take advantage of them," R-B coach Pat Elder said. "When you're playing a team of their caliber, when you have an opportunity, you have to capitalize on it. We had opportunities we let slip away and, obviously, that was the difference in the football game." (NWHerald 11/3/13)
First-round playoff preview capsules
By JOE STEVENSON – firstname.lastname@example.org
No. 16 Richmond-Burton (5-4) at No. 1 Evergreen Park (9-0)
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
About the Rockets: R-B is in the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season and is 13-6 in postseason games over that stretch. RB Vince Battaglia, a 213-pound senior, leads the team with 649 rushing yards. R-B beat Evergreen Park, 7-0, in the 2011 semifinals, then lost to the Mustangs, 31-24, last year in the second round.
About the Mustangs: Evergreen Park is ranked No. 2 in the Class 4A poll this week. RB Keyshawn Carpenter leads the team with 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns. WR Jacquet McClendon has 54 receptions for 789 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Who’s next: The winner advances to meet the winner between No. 9 Chicago Phillips (6-3) at No. 8 Chicago Urban Prep Charter/West (7-2). (NWHerald 11/1/13)
Familiar foes: Richmond-Burton and Evergreen Park have gotten to know each other pretty well over the past three seasons. R-B knocked Evergreen Park out, 7-0, in the 2011 Class 4A semifinals. The Mustangs beat R-B, 34-27, last season.
“The projections had us playing Evergreen Park and that’s what happened,” Rockets coach Pat Elder said. “We’ve seen them the last couple years, so it should be a pretty good football game. If familiarity helps with the preparations, I suppose that it does, they know what we’re all about and we know what they’re all about.”
R-B is in for the seventh consecutive season; the Rockets are 13-6 in the last six years. R-B was the final of 256 teams to qualify at 5-4 with 36 playoff points.
“It’s great for our kids,” Elder said. “They’ve done a good job and we’ve got a great senior class. We’re glad to have the opportunity to play another game.” (NWHerald 10/29/13)
Close call for Richmond-Burton
By JOE STEVENSON – email@example.com~
Richmond-Burton gets in: R-B was the last of the 256 teams to qualify with 36 playoff points (opponents' wins). Peru St. Bede and R-B were the two teams with 36 points.
That is the lowest cutoff since 2008, when it also was 36. The last four cutoffs were 38 (2009), 39 (2010), 40 (2011) and 38 (2012). The key victory Friday night for the Rockets to get in came from Winnebago, which went to 9-0 with a 26-20 victory over Stillman Valley.
This week's playoff games: Class 4A~**Times & dates are tentative pending IHSA approval** No. 16 RB (5-4) @ No. 1 Evergreen Park (9-0), 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 (NWHerald 10/28/13)
Ten local teams made the playoffs as Richmond-Burton (5-4) sneaked in with the final of 256 spots. The Rockets, with 36 playoff points (opponents’ wins), are a No. 16 seed and will play at No. 1 Evergreen Park (9-0) at 5 p.m. Saturday. Seehttp://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2013/10/27/03b0034be99946dead826f02b8d141f9/index.xml for complete article (NWHerald 10/27/13)
Fastest Four Minutes: Week 9 Video clip ~http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/video/index.xml?vidid=2770486794001 NWHerald (10/26/13)
Two other local teams’ playoff hopes are riding on Friday’s outcomes. Huntley (4-4, 2-3) visits Crystal Lake South (3-5, 1-4) in an FVC Valley game, and Richmond-Burton (5-3, 3-2) plays at Harvard (8-0, 5-0) in a Big Northern Conference East Division matchup.
Huntley has 36 points and could get in with a fifth victory. R-B has 32, and its best-case scenario is likely 37 points, so the Rockets may need a sixth win to qualify. The cutoff line for playoff points will not be known until Saturday but has been at least 38 the past four years. In 2011, the cutoff at 40 was the highest ever. See complete article @http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2013/10/23/d2646a58ab6747f99e0774e1e48c5e8b/index.xml (NWHerald 10/25/13)
Harvard beats Richmond-Burton to finish regular season undefeated
HARVARD – One of the most satisfying aspects for Harvard’s football team is that neither the seniors nor juniors won a game at the freshman level.
Through diligence and determination and sweat, the Hornets got better. A lot better.
Harvard rode a career-best rushing performance from running back Christian Kramer, along with a solid defensive effort, to cap its unbeaten regular season with a 21-0 victory over Richmond-Burton in a Big Northern Conference East Division game at Dan Horne Field Friday.
“It feels great,” linebacker Sergio Ramirez said. “It came down to practice every day and being ready each week.”
Harvard (9-0 overall, 6-0 BNC East) has an undefeated regular season for the first time since 1988 and an outright BNC East title for the first time since 2007.
R-B (5-4, 3-3) will find out Saturday night if its 36 playoff points are enough to qualify for the playoffs. The Rockets made it tough on Harvard in the first half behind 213-pound fullback Vince Battaglia, who had 18 carries and 109 yards.
R-B held the ball for 19:56, while the Hornets had it 4:04 of the first half, but thanks to Kramer’s 56-yard touchdown run on their first play, they led 7-0.
“The line blocked out the defensive end and I bounced it outside,” said Kramer, who raced around right end. “All I saw was open space. It felt amazing to get off to a good start, and we took it from there.”
Harvard’s defense stopped Rockets drives at the Hornets’ 39, 20 and 12 in the first half.
“We gave up some yards, [Battaglia] is a big, physical kid,” said Hornets coach Tim Haak, who will retire after this school year. “But we stopped them when we had to. We felt we were going to score again and they’d have to play from behind.”
Kramer ran 55 yards on Harvard’s first drive of the third quarter and added a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter. The defense held R-B to 71 total yards in the second half and shut the Rockets out for the first time since their 2011 season opener against Oregon.
“We worked together, that’s pretty much all you can do,” defensive end Zach Martin said. “The coaches helped us a lot and [middle linebacker] Tate [Miller] played a big part.”
Kramer finished with 23 carries for 244 yards, while Battaglia had 130 yards on 24 attempts.
“I should have kicked a field goal late in the half,” Rockets coach Pat Elder said. “Our plan was that Vince was the guy. We were moving the ball and had good field position, we just needed to finish more drives. Our kids played awful hard.”
Harvard, which is ranked No. 8 in The Associated Press Class 4A poll, likely will get the No. 2 seed in the northern half of the Class 4A bracket when the IHSA announces playoff pairings Saturday night.
“I’ve just been so focused on us getting better every week,” Haak said. “It’s been a good journey for the kids. They’re just a joy to be around.” (NWHerald 10/26/13)
Week 9 FB Preview Capsule: Big Northern Conference East Division
Richmond-Burton (5-3, 3-2) at Harvard (8-0, 5-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Rockets: R-B has a balanced running game with RBs Brad Boelkow (632 rushing yards) and Vince Battaglia (519). Luke Brinkmann, their fastest player, will miss his second game with a lower body injury. He’s rushed for 459 yards. The Rockets might need a sixth win to make the playoffs, as their best total may be 37 playoff points.
About the Hornets: Harvard is ranked No. 8 in Class 4A and could wrap up its first unbeaten regular season since 1988. The Hornets also can win the BNC East outright for the first time since 2007. RBs Christian Kramer (637) and Jose Mejia (617) lead the offense.
Lester's Pick: RB @ Harvard~Harvard by 14 (NWHerald 10/25/13)
A NWHerald Top Game~RB 5-3,3-2) v Harvard (8-0, 5-0)on Friday @ 7 p.m on the Dan Horne Field
RB needs a win because it might be short on playoff points to qualify with five victories. Harvard is trying to finish the season unbeaten for the first time since 1988 and already is guaranteed a share of the BNC East Division title. (NWHerald 10/21/13)
Rockets’ rally falls short in loss to North Boone
North Boone ends Richmond-Burton's winning streak
By STEVE REPSYS - firstname.lastname@example.org
RICHMOND – Coming into Friday night’s home contest against Big Northern Conference East opponent North Boone, Richmond-Burton was looking to win its fifth consecutive game.
However, the Rockets' offense sputtered as they were unable to convert on several crucial fourth downs and dropped a 21-13 decision to the Vikings, forcing Richmond-Burton (5-3, 3-2 BNC East) to have to wait one more week for a shot at guaranteeing a playoff spot.
The Rockets had a golden opportunity to tie the score late in the fourth quarter. With less than seven minutes left, Richmond-Burton drove 67 yards to the Vikings' 7-yard line. On fourth down, Rockets quarterback Daniel Rygiel connected with Kyle Kirby on a short pass and he was brought down three yards shy of the end zone.
Richmond-Burton also had a chance to knot the game on its final possession. With 1:48 remaining, the Rockets were 91 yards away. R-B reached midfield with 11 seconds left on the clock. However, a penalty pushed them five yards back and Rygiel’s Hail Mary pass was deflected as time expired.
“We haven’t been able to score from the red zone at crucial times during the season,” said Rockets head coach Pat Elder. “It’s been an issue we haven’t been able to fix and it caught up with us again tonight.”
Offensively, junior running back Bradley Boelkow led the Rockets ground attack, rushing for a game-high 121 yards. Trailing 14-7 midway through the third quarter, R-B took up shop at its own 30-yard line and needed just seven plays to march down thefield. Boelkow capped off the drive with his gutsy 24-yard run, which ended with him diving into the left corner of the end zone with 6:07 remaining in the third quarter. The extra point was no good, leaving the Rockets with a 14-13 deficit.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, Boelkow’s night came to an end after his touchdown run as he suffered a vicious hit upon arriving in the end zone. After scoring, he remained on the ground for several minutes but was able to walk off under his own power. Immediately after the drive, Boelkow iced his right shoulder and then sported a sling for the rest of the game.
“I sprained my joint where the collarbone meets the shoulder,” he elaborated after the game. “When I scored, I left my shoulder exposed and an opponent landed on it. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to play next week as the swelling is pretty bad.”
Junior fullback Tyler Talatian scored the first touchdown for the Rockets with 11:42 remaining in the second quarter. Talatian had help from several of his teammates as hewas pushed for most of his 11-yard run.
Elder knew his team would have its hands full with North Boone (4-4, 3-2) coming into the game.
“I give North Boone a lot of credit," Elder said. "They made plays when they had to. We played hard butjust weren’t able to finish drives.”
Boelkow said the Rockets entered the game confident, but not cocky.
“We came in winning four games in a row and that gets your spirits up,” he said. “But North Boone is a good team. We fought hard to the end, but I really wish we would have won this one.” (NWHerald 10/19/13)
Week 8 Football Preview Capsule: N Boone (3-4, 2-2) @ RB (5-2, 3-1) on Friday @ 7 p.m.
About the Vikings: N Boone has lost three of its past four games. QB Nathan Bodey has thrown for 949 yards & rushed for 334. WR Jon Lilly leads the team with 21 receptions for 474 yds and four touchdowns.
About the Rockets: RB has won four consecutive games and still has a shot at part of the BNC East title. RB's Brad Boelkow (511), Luke Brinkmann (457) and Vince Battaglia (444) gives RB a balanced rushing game.
Lester's Pick: N Boone @ RB: RB by 6 (NWHerald 10/18/13)
Richmond-Burton extends winning streak to 4 with OT victory
RICHMOND – Richmond-Burton continued to turn around its early season troubles, earning R-B its fourth victory in a row to put it one win away from an automatic playoff spot.
In a highly defensive game Friday, R-B defeated Burlington Central in overtime, 14-13.
When the game between Richmond-Burton and Burlington Central went to overtime, there was one thing on the mind of R-B players: redemption. This was R-B’s (5-2, 3-1 BNC East) second OT game, with the first resulting in a one-point loss in Week 3.
Burlington Central struck first in overtime with a touchdown, going up 13-7. That’s when the 6-foot-6 Josh Williams used every inch of his frame to block the away team’s extra point, opening the door for an R-B victory.
R-B took advantage two plays later when Brad Boelkow ran in the touchdown, tying the game at 13. New kicker Brandon Kilcoyne ended the game with his second successful extra point.
“I’m not going to act like we we’re dying to get into a 10-yard game with them, when they seemed to have control of the line of scrimmage, but in the end our kids did enough to get the victory,” R-B coach Pat Elder said.
R-B seemed to have control for most of the first half, but only managed to take a 7-0 lead into the break. R-B then came out in the second half, looking a little flat on both offense and defense.
Lucky for them, BC only managed seven points in its successful half, which included a missed 30-yard field goal with just 1:29 left in the game.
“I thought our kids really competed, which was important,” Elder said. “We were struggling defensively at the end, but we caught the break to get into OT and took advantage of it.”
Boelkow led the home team’s rushing attack with 96 yards on 11 carries. The game had a total of 18 yards passing, which happened all on one play.
“It feels good to score the winning one. It’s what everybody dreams of, getting your name called in that situation,” Boelkow said. “It’s 150 percent from there, while expecting nothing but the end zone.”
Richmond-Burton will now look to guarantee a plyoff spot with another home game next week against North Boone. (NWHerald 10/12/13)
Week 7 Prep Football Capsule: BC (2-4,2-2) @ RB (4-2,2-1) today (10/11) @ 7 p.m will be live=streamed @http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/71575
About BC: Burlington ended a two-game skid with a 27-0 win against Marengo last week. Its other win came against Rockford Christian.
About RB: The Rockets have won three consecutive games after a 1-2 start. RB has a balanced rushing attack with backs Brad Boelkow (415 rushing yds.), Luke Brinkmann (407) & Vince Battaglia (398) all with close to the same totals.
Lester's Pick: BC @ RB: RB by 7 (NWHerald 10/11/13)
Area teams plotting course to postseason
IN GOOD POSITION
Projected class: 4A
Remaining schedule: vs. Burlington Central, vs. North Boone, at Harvard
Likely finish: 7-2 or 6-3
Outlook: R-B still has a shot at tying for a share of the BNC East title, and the Rockets traditionally play well down the stretch. See http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2013/10/08/9fa79f0645aa4ac2a093f4c3d7788af4/ for complete article. (NWHerald 10/10/13)
Rockets get defensive in win over the Royals
Richmond-Burton football beats Rockford Christian
Richmond-Burton 42, Rockford Christian 7
Game Summary: At Rockford, the Rockets (4-2, 2-1 BNC East) defense allowed a total of 18 yards in the first half en route to a dominating win over Rockford Christian. The yard differential at the half was 281-18, with all of Richmond-Burton’s yardage coming on the ground. The Rockets did not have a passing yard in the entire game, and ended the game with 380 yards rushing. Despite the yard difference, the game was only 13-0 with 18 seconds left in the first half before the Rockets scored four touchdowns in a nine-minute span that extended into the third quarter.
Key Stat: Richmond-Burton allowed a total of 91 yards in the game, with most of them coming late in the game when all of its starters were no longer playing. The defense was so dominating in the first half that Rockford Christian did not have a first down until the first play of the third quarter. They only managed three the entire game.
Top Player: Brad Boelkow had 134 yards on 11 carries for the Rockets, which included two first-half touchdowns. The 134 yards on the ground all came in the first half. Boelkow was also a key component to his team’s defense at the linebacker position. Boelkow took a cleat to his knee in the third quarter and ended the game with eight butterfly stitches.
Quote: Richmond-Burton coach Pat Elder, on his team’s defensive success: “We executed better upfront and continued to do a nice job against the pass, it’s just what we needed tonight.” (NWHerald 10/5/13)
Weel 6 Prep FB Capsule~ Richmond-Burton (3-2, 1-1) vs. Rockford Christian (0-5, 0-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Rockets: R-B speedster Luke Brinkmann leads the Rockets with 357 yards rushing. Vince Battaglia (336) and Brad Boelkow (281) give R-B a balanced attack.
About the Royal Lions: Since moving from the Northeastern Athletic Conference last year, Rockford Christian has won one football game. The Lions have been outscored 222-55 this season.
Lester's Pick: RB @ Rockford Christian: RB by 14 (NWHerald 10/4/13)
Brinkmann’s new wrinkle: Richmond-Burton’s Luke Brinkmann has been consistently leading his team in rushing and receiving stats to start the season. In the Rockets’ 27-20 win against Mendota Friday night he became a triple-threat and led his team in passing.
R-B attempted only three passes the entire game and one of them happened to be a halfback pass by Brinkmann that went for a 29-yard touchdown to Nick Hogan. It ended up being the difference in the game.
“We’ve run it a decent amount of times in practice and that was the first time we did it in a game;” Brinkmann said. “It paid off and I think we really surprised them.”
Brinkmann, battling the flu, ran for 40 yards, well under his average, but he still made an impact with his one big throw. (NWHerald 10/1/13)
Richmond-Burton controls possession in win over Mendota
By KEVIN MEYER - email@example.com
The Richmond-Burton offensive line showed up in a big way to boost the Rockets to a 27-20 victory over Mendota Friday night. The R-B rushing attack ran for 286 yards and helped the Rockets hold possession for over 20 minutes in the first half.
The Rockets (3-2, 1-1 BN East) ran a total of 24 plays in their first two possessions, which both resulted in touchdowns for a 14-0 lead. Mendota was never able to fully recover.
The always improving offensive line proved to be a huge factor in the game. The line produced almost two 100-yard rushers and dominated the Trojans up front throughout the game.
“Dominating the games’ possession is always our objective,” R-B coach Pat Elder said. “This is probably the best game our offensive line has played so far, I thought those guys really improved this week and did well.”
Rockets rusher Brad Boelkow was the main recipient of the offensive line's performance. Boelkow ran the ball 15 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Boelkow led the rushing attack, but he was certainly not alone.
Vincent Battaglia ran the ball 17 times for 91 yards and the teams’ leading rusher last week, Luke Brinkmann, battled the flu to run for 40 yards himself.
“It’s homecoming and everybody was pumped for this game. The line really showed up and were on a mission today, they made me look really good,” Boelkow said.
The crucial play of the game came in the fourth quarter, when Brinkmann used his arm, rather than his legs, to put R-B up 27-14. Brinkmann took a toss in the backfield and then threw a flea-flicker pass to Nicholas Hogan in the end zone for the game-deciding touchdown.
Despite the Rockets dominating the time of possession, the game was far from over late in the fourth quarter, when the Trojans scored to make it 27-20 with just over three minutes left. Mendota managed to get the ball back, but Danny Rygiel intercepted the ball with 43 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
“I think everybody is just getting better and better every week. We want to be a good team and we have the potential. The offensive line should be the strong point, every week,” R-B offensive lineman Bryce Wagner said.
The Rockets will look to increase their winning streak to three when they travel to play Rockford-Christian in a Big Northern East matchup next week. (9/28/13)
~Mendota (2-2) at Richmond-Burton (2-2) ~ When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Trojans: Mendota won its first two games, then lost to Winnebago, 34-33, and Stillman Valley, 44-23. The Trojans have lost to R-B each of the past three years, twice in the regular season and once in the 2011 Class 4A playoffs.
About the Rockets: RB Luke Brinkmann has 317 rushing yards and is one of the area’s most explosive runners. QB Danny Rygiel threw for 222 yards last week, his career-high, in a 48-23 victory against Marengo.
Lester's Pick~ Mendota @ RB: RB by 9 (NWHerald 9/27/13)
R-B airs it out: Seven passes in a game is not a lot, but for ground-oriented Richmond-Burton, quarterback Danny Rygiel’s 6 of 7 performance was an air show.
Rygiel completed his first two passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns – which was more touchdowns and yards than he had in three previous games. Rygiel was 4 of 11 for 73 yards and one touchdown before Friday.
Rygiel added another touchdown and finished with 222 yards.
“Our main focus so far has been run, run, run, so when I get the chance to throw the ball, I want to do the best I can,” Rygiel said.
It helped that Rygiel had speedster running back Luke Brinkmann to throw to. Brinkmann caught the first two touchdown passes for 70 and 63 yards.
• Jeff Arnold, Meghan Montemurro and Kevin Meyer contributed to this report. (NWHerald 9/24/13)
Richmond-Burton beats Marengo
Richmond-Burton 48, Marengo 23
Game Summary: Richmond-Burton used an explosive offense to send Marengo to its 12th straight loss. The Rockets (2-2, 1-1 BN East) quickly went up 14-0 in the first quarter and never let up, scoring 34 first-half points. The normally run-focused Rockets went to the air successfully for the first time this season. That, combined with their efficient running game, made the game a challenge for Marengo’s defense. The Indians (0-4, 0-2 BNC East) closed the gap in the second quarter to 20-13, but that was the closest they got. R-B scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the half to put the game out of reach.
Key Stat: The Rockets offense has been steadily improving from week to week and it showed against Marengo. Danny Rygiel had his best game of the season throwing the ball, going 6-for-7 for 222 yards, 133 of them to Luke Brinkmann. All together, the offense went for 507 yards, and didn’t look like they could be stopped for most of the game. Jarrell Jackson of Marengo also made an impact for his team accumulating 213 total yards.
Top Player: Brinkmann had 263 total yards, which included four touchdowns. All of Brinkmann’s touchdowns were from further than 40 yards out, as he used his speed and vision of the field to elude blockers time after time.
Quote: Brinkmann on his performance: “Coach told me this week that I was looking at the defense way too much instead of just running to the green spots and using my speed.”
Next: Richmond-Burton hosts Mendota on Friday; Marengo hosts Harvard on Friday. (NWHerald 9/21/13)
Week 4 FB Preview: BNC
Marengo (0-3, 0-1) at Richmond-Burton (1-2, 0-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Indians: RB Dakota Kissack is fourth among area runners (295 yards), but Marengo has struggled for points. The Indians have lost 11 consecutive games.
About the Rockets: RBs Vince Battaglia (216 yards) and Luke Brinkmann (187) lead R-B’s rushing attack. The Rockets lost to Genoa-Kingston, 29-28, in overtime last week.
Les' Pick Marengo @ RB
RB by 9 (NWHerald 9/20/13)
Rockets come up short in OT thriller
By Todd Rohde
Anyone in attendance at the Richmond-Burton and Genoa-Kingston football game Sept. 13th was treated to a real gem of a performance. That’s because the Rockets and Cogs squared off in a competitive and exciting showdown that kept the fans on the edge of their seats in a game that came right down to the wire and overtime to determine the outcome.
Unfortunately for the Rockets though, they came out on the short end of a one-point heartbreaking loss in a hard-fought battle that just as easily could have gone either way. Just when it looked as if the Rockets may squeak by with the victory, they were dispatched a 29-28 Big Northern Conference defeat in overtime at Genoa.
It was the BNC Eastern Division opener for the Rockets, who suffered their second straight defeat and dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in league play for the season. What made the loss even tougher to digest was the fact that it was the Cogs first win of the season, as they improved to 1-2 and 1-0 on the year.
Despite the loss though, the Rockets have plenty of positives to build on as they played a pretty solid all-around game on both sides of the ball. Richmond continues to improve and take steps forward with each performance this year as they are really coming together nicely as a program.
This was all quite evident right from the get go, as the Rockets got off to a quick start to jump out to the 7-0 advantage. Less than two minutes into the contest, Rocket running back Luke Brinkmann used some key blocks upfront and broke free for a 57-yard touchdown scamper on Richmond’s opening possession to gain some momentum.
This is where the score remained until right before the half when things got pretty interesting in a short period of time. That’s because it became a defensive battle by both teams making some big stops at key moments, as almost 20 minutes passed between the first and second quarters without any scoring occurring.
Then things got crazy, as the Cogs first knotted the score at 7-7 with just 1:33 remaining before the half. Not to be outdone though just 14 seconds later, the Rockets answered right back with a score of their own. Richmond took a 14-7 lead into the locker room with them, thanks to Kyle Kirby taking the ensuing kickoff 78 yards the other way into the end zone for the touchdown.
Just when it looked as if the Rockets had them momentum in their favor, the see-saw battle continued into the second half as the Cogs refused to give in without a fight. G-K scored on a two-yard touchdown run at the 6:30 mark of the third quarter, but the point-after attempt was no good as the Rockets clung to a slim 14-13 lead.
The Cogs would go on to overtake their first lead midway through the fourth quarter with another two-yard scoring run. This time G-K would convert on the two-point conversion try to make the score 21-14 in their favor and put the pressure on the Rockets to respond.
With the game on the line, Richmond was up for the challenge as they capped off an impressive 10-play drive with a score of their own. With just 1:47 left in regulation, Rocket quarterback Danny Rygiel hooked up with Brad Boelkow out of the backfield for a 29-yard touchdown reception to tie the score at 21-21 and send the game into overtime.
With both teams getting an equal opportunity in the extra period, the Rockets struck first on a four-yard touchdown run from Boelkow to temporarily go up 28-21. G-K’s Sal Lopez answered right back with a two-yard TD run of his own and then took in the two-point conversion run for the victory.
Leading the way for the Rockets offensively was Brinkmann finishing with 81 yards rushing on just eights carries for a hefty 10-yard average per running attempt. Rygiel also passed for 60+ yards on the night, well more than he had in his first two games combined. (Richmond/Spring Grove Report 10/21/13)
Richmond-Burton’s late comeback comes up short in OT
GENOA – Richmond-Burton's game at Genoa-Kingston Friday night came down to the last play, a two-point conversion attempt for G-K in overtime. The Cogs' Sal Lopez ran right up the middle from the 3-yard line to snag a 29-28 victory out of the Rockets' hands.
The Rockets were motivated coming off a loss to Winnebago. R-B put itself in position to win Friday's Big Northern Conference East Division opener and made huge improvements from last week.
“I thought the kids competed very well tonight and showed a lot of character,” R-B coach Pat Elder said. “When they went through some adversity, we always responded and made plays, and while it’s not the result we wanted it’s a lot more to build on.”
R-B (1-2 overall, 0-1 BNC East) started the game exactly how the Rockets wanted to. On their first possession, Luke Brinkmann took the ball 57 yards for a touchdown. The Rockets also got a 78-yard kickoff return touchdown from Kyle Kirby in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
They held the lead until midway through the fourth quarter, when G-K (1-2, 1-0) took over. The Rockets responded immediately, going on a 10-play drive that lasted about five minutes and resulted in a touchdown.
The drive included two huge plays, including one by Brinkmann, who made a 26-yard reception after the ball was deflected high in the air and came down right where he happened to be. The other was the 29-yard touchdown catch by Brad Boelkow from quarterback Danny Rygiel.
“Right off the bat, I was thinking that I needed to set the pace and go, and that’s exactly what we needed to do,” Brinkmann said. “I wish we kept up that pace throughout the game, though, but it is what it is.”
The score sent the game to overtime. The Rockets quickly scored their touchdown. The Cogs proved to be too much on the ground and again scored a touchdown, converting the critical two-point conversion.
Brinkmann led the Rockets with 81 rushing yards on eight carries. The offense was stalled at times and never really got the passing game going. The defense forced three turnovers.
“It’s disappointing to come up short, but I’m proud of the way the kids competed out there,” Elder said. "It’s very important as we move on with the season." (NWHerlad 9/14/13)
Week 3 FB Preview: BNC~
Richmond-Burton (1-1) at Genoa-Kingston (0-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Rockets: R-B lost to Winnebago, 43-15, last week. RB Luke Brinkmann leads the team with 106 yards rushing. This is their BNC East opener.
About the Cogs: G-K defeated the Rockets last year, 24-20, after which point R-B won five consecutive games.
Les' Pic: RB by 7 (NWHerald 9/13/12)
Week 2 Football Preview Capsule~Richmond-Burton (1-0) at Winnebago (1-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Rockets: RBs Vince Battaglia (107 rushing yards) and Brad Boelkow (72) led R-B in its 26-7 win against Johnsburg in the opener.
About the Indians: Winnebago was 9-3 last season and defeated Rockford Christian, 43-13, in the season opener. Winnebago beat R-B, 44-28, last season.
Les' Pick~ RB @ W-Gago: W-Bago by 7 (NWHerald 9/6/13)
Richmond-Burton runs past Johnsburg
JOHNSBURG — Richmond-Burton senior Vince Battaglia had become accustomed to rushing the quarterback and stopping runs with his large frame at the defensive tackle position, but this season he is getting a taste of what the other side feels like.
The Rockets entered the first game of the season Saturday with questions about its backfield after losing several key players to graduation, but after a decisive 26-7 win over host Johnsburg, Rockets head coach Pat Elder can rest easier after watching the way Battaglia and a handful of backs handled their duties in the backfield during the win.
"Fullback was a question for us all offseason and it was the first time in a long time that Vince got to carry the ball," Elder said. "He was pretty excited and not only was his effort great, he held on to the football and played a clean game at fullback."
The Rockets (1-0) used Battaglia and his big body early on in the game to establish the run up the middle, which wore down the Skyhawks defense, but not before they made several decisive stops.
Johnsburg stopped the Rockets on fourth down on the opening drive to stall a long drive. The Skyhawks also forced a three-and-out on their second defensive series. But the constant pounding from Battaglia took its toll.
On the Rockets' third offensive series, Battaglia ran the ball 13 times and racked up 58 of his 107 yards on a drive that ate up 13 minutes of the clock. Junior running back Brad Boelkow then scored the first of his two scores on a 1-yard sweep play.
"I felt good running because I felt like Johnsburg was just guessing the entire game," Boelkow said. "Vince was such a beast and that really had them thinking middle which it made it easier for me to get outside and find some space."
R-B scored on each of its next three offensive possessions, using a combination of power runs and sweep plays. It resulted in the Johnsburg offense playing out of its element. The Skyhawks (0-1) couldn't get in sync and ran a predictable offense at times which led to stalled drives.
"We run pass plays that set up our run plays and vice-versa," Skyhawks coach Mike Maloney said. "We were able to execute them and we just couldn't get in any sort of rhythm."
The Skyhawks only score came in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Nick Brengman showed off his arm. After several deep attempts were batted away by R-B cornerback Kyle Kirby, Brengman connected with tight end Ben Stillwell on a 13-yard pass with 4:39 remaining. Brengman went 6 of 17 for 40 yards in the loss.
"We were sound defensively and didn't make many mistakes," Elder said. "We came out to play."
Said Battaglia of his first start at fullback: "I got my shot and it was amazing and really emotional. I was really nervous but I just had to push them back and play." (NWHerald 9/1/13)
Rockets strive to fill holes, compete for a title
~ Rocket head coach
By Todd Rohde~SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
With all of the success that the Richmond-Burton football team has had over the past several years, it should be of no surprise that the Rockets have high expectations once again this season.
On the same note, other area teams and coaches are also focused on the Rockets as being one of the teams to watch out for in competing for a division title.
The Rockets have won the Big Northern Conference Eastern Division title three of the last four years including qualifying for the post-season playoffs each season. They just missed a fourth consecutive league title last year and had to settle for second place with a 3-2 mark and a 7-4 overall showing, where they fell to Evergreen Park in the second round of the playoffs.
“I’m looking forward to another exciting season, as we’ll be ready to go when the season begins,” Rocket head coach Pat Elder said. “We should be able to continue to improve throughout the season and hope to be able to contend for the conference title.”
The Rockets will have some key holes to fill if they are going to make another run again this season. Richmond will have to replace the void left by the graduation of 18 seniors including the likes of quarterback Matt Malecki, running backs Chris Vlasak and Adam Kinsella along with defensive end Ryne Blanton.
All of the above athletes were two-way starters, who played big roles on a potent offensive attack and an aggressive defense. Richmond will have to replace and account for the 2,600 yards and 28 touchdowns provided by Vlasak, Kinsella and Malecki through the running game.
No worries though, as the Rockets return 10 starters to their roster including six on the offense and another four on defense. Plus Richmond benefits from having numerous newcomers who are eager to make an impact with their athleticism and determination.
“We return some quality linemen with experience and size, which is definitely a positive,” Elder said. “Our backfield will be young and a work in progress, as their development will be the key to how we progress during the season.”
The Rockets will need to rely on big things from senior quarterback Danny Rygiel, who stepped in and gain experience last year when Malecki got injured. Kyle Kirby, Nate Hansel, Brad Boelkow and Luke Brinkman are competing for running back positions, while Vince Battaglia, Macus Duha and Tyler Talatian are fighting it out for fullback.
Richmond is also looking for good things from returning seniors Ethan Petersen (OG/DT), Bryce Wagner (OT/DT), Chris Gort (OT/DT), Nick Bianchini (TE/DE), Josh Williams (TE/DE), Nick Hogan (TE/LB), Cory Prejna (C/DT), Eric Paparigian (OG/DT), Tyler Meredith (C/NG), Luke Stocker (OG/DT), Troy Zaremba (OT/DT), Kory Klicker (RB/DB), Jake Holian (RB/DB) and Sergio Hernandez (K/TE/DE).
Top newcomers for the Rockets consist of juniors Alex Petersen (C/DT), John Stasieczek (OT/DT), Chad Autschbach (OG/DT), Ethan Sheedlo (OG/DT), Alben Rymarz (C/DT), Nick Schmidt (FB/LB), Steve Coutteau (RB/LB), Brandon Kilcoyne (RB/DB) and Jason Rae (RB/DB).
The Rockets strengths are their returning players, leadership, positive/winning attitudes and determination. A so-called weakness would be the time that it will take some of the younger players to gain varsity experience and feel comfortable at their positions.
If Richmond is going to compete for another division title, they will have to fight it out with the likes of North Boone and Harvard.
“Once again, our league will be very tough and competitive from top to bottom, as any team that comes out of it should have an opportunity to do well in the post-season,” Elder said.
Elder, who is in his 8th season at the helm for the Rockets, will be helped out by assistants Todd Ghilani, Colin McKillip, Brent Mansky, Mike Cosgrove and Anthony Rygiel. (Richmond Report 9/1/13)
Player Journal: Richmond-Burton's Danny Rygiel
Ever since I was in the third grade, I have been playing football. It was, and still is, the one thing I most look forward to every year.
A big reason for my love for football is watching my brothers play. Since 2006, I have watched three of my four brothers play high school football, each year getting me more excited to play.
The best part about football is knowing that everything is done as a team. You can be a great athlete, but if you don’t have 10 other players on the field doing their job, you cannot be as effective.
I love having all the teammates that I do. We start the season as teammates and end the season as family. The bond between teammates is stronger than anyone will know.
I like football because it is my time to myself and my teammates – no distractions, no outside interferences, just me and them doing what we love.
When football season comes around, my problems seem to just disappear and everything unimportant is forgotten.
Another factor that makes football great is the fans. We are certainly blessed at Richmond-Burton with the amount of support our team gets each and every week during the entire season.
My parents have always been my No. 1 fans, and my friends, along with them, support me every game.
One thing people outside our team don’t always see is the bond between players and coaches. I love our coaching staff, every one of them knowing their role and doing a great job at that role.
One day someone asked me an interesting question: “What would your life be like if football was taken away from you?” If football was taken away from me, I feel like I would not have a life. I would be lost. I wouldn’t know what to do with my day. I would come home from school and do nothing.
If football was gone, I would be heartbroken. It’s in my blood; it’s who I am. (NWHerald 8/30/13)
Week 1~FB Preview Capsule
Richmond-Burton at Johnsburg
When: 7:15 p.m. Friday
About the Rockets: R-B is ranked No. 10 in Class 4A. The Rockets graduated many of their skill position players, but will rely on strong tradition and some key returning linemen.
About the Skyhawks: Johnsburg is looking for its first win since the 2010 season, but having junior QB Nick Brengman back to lead the offense is a good place to start.
Les' Pick~RB @ J-Burg~RB by 14 (NWHerald 8/30/13)
Our View: Are you ready for high school football?
It happens every year, but it never gets old.
Friday night, high school football begins.
There’s the anticipation all day. Then, the final preparations and nerves.
And by 7 p.m., many of you will be in your seats and ready.
Football has been getting a bad name lately. This week, our sports department even took a look at what life would be like without high school football. The details ran in our high school football preview section, which was in Wednesday’s newspaper and is available at McHenryCountySports.com.
Tonight, we will be pleased to escape reality. Because nowhere else in our community do we get the same experience of gathering together, rooting for one goal, and enjoying nine consecutive Friday nights together.
For the lucky few whose team makes the playoffs, it will go on even longer.
For those who aren’t connected to a local high school, go out and see for yourself. Early in the season, the weather will be nice. The atmosphere will be better.
There’s really nothing, in high school sports, that compares.
Whether your team wins or loses, it’s an experience. One that you’ll remember, and they’ll remember.
So pack up the kids. Bring a few extra bucks for hot dogs and hamburgers, because the proceeds generally go directly back to supporting student activities, and be ready to cheer.
It’s Friday night football time again. (NWHerald 9/30/13)
Richmond-Burton football preview capsule
Coach: Pat Elder (8th season, 59-23)
2012 record: 7-4 overall, 4-2 BNC East (tie for second place)
Fast fact: R-B has never had a losing season under coach Pat Elder, including a second-place finish at state in 2011.
• R-B returns 19 players from last season, most of which are linemen.
• The Rockets graduate key backs such as Chris Vlasak, Adam Kinsella and Matt Malecki but have a handful of young players at the position who will get a good look this season.
• QB-DB Danny Rygiel is a premier skill position player returning, and his presence should help to speed up the learning curve for the inexperienced backs and keep the offense on track.
• Returning linemen such as G/DT Ethan Petersen, T/DT Chris Gort and T/DT Bryce Wagner figure to be the strength of the team, which will help the Rockets’ run-stopping ability along with their creative running schemes.
• R-B will face defending conference champion North Boone in the second-to-last week of the season, followed by a tough Harvard team the next week.
The results of those games figure to be played with the conference title on the line.
What would you do with your time if there were no football?
Ethan Petersen, sr, LG
“I would shoot sporting clays and work on getting more scuba diving certifications.”
Date Game Time
Aug. 30 @Johnsburg 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 @Winnebago 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 @Genoa-Kingston* 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 Marengo* 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 Mendota 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 @Rockford Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 Burlington Central* 7 p.m.
Oct 18 North Boone* 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 @Harvard* 7 p.m.
* BNC East game
– Patrick Mason
firstname.lastname@example.org (NWHerald 8/29/13)
The Associated Press preseason polls, released Wednesday and voted on by media outlets around the state.
School W-L Pts Prv
1. Rock Island Alleman (2) (0-0) 124 -
2. Rochester (8) (0-0) 116 -
3. Jacksonville (1) (0-0) 77 -
4. Rockford Lutheran (1) (0-0) 63 -
5. Althoff Catholic (2) (0-0) 62 -
6. Bishop McNamara (0-0) 55 -
7. Morris (0-0) 53 -
8. Geneseo (0-0) 49 -
9. Coal City (0-0) 41 -
10. Richmond-Burton (0-0) 38 -
Others receiving votes: Columbia 32, Alton Marquette 10, Olney East Richland 10, Breese Mater Dei 8, Evergreen Park 8, Fairbury Prairie Central 6, Charleston 6, Mahomet-Seymour 6, Sandwich 3, Jerseyville Jersey 2, Quincy Notre Dame 1. For complete article see~http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/articles/2013/08/28/48f458e5b07942c88a19ca0844a50de8/index.xml (NWHerald 8/29/13)
There is nothing like the opening night of the football season.
Coaches and players have been preparing since the winter, building up to that magical moment on Friday, Aug. 30 when the kicker’s toe hits a ball and another season is under way.
There will be high expectations for teams which hope they can continue their success and reach even higher goals this time around.
There will be uncertainty, but hope, for others. Some plan on building from last season’s success to make the playoffs. Others hope new coaches are able to point their programs in the right direction.
The countdown clock on mchenrycountysports.com’s home page is nearing zero … and we can hardly wait.
See RB Football preview video @ http://www.mchenrycountysports.com/football-preview/index.xml?school=rb
- Joe Stevenson, Northwest Herald sports reporter
Richmond-Burton to break in new backs
RICHMOND – Huddled on the field wearing its gold practice jerseys and maroon helmets, the Richmond-Burton football team listened as coach Pat Elder called them together at the end of Monday’s three-hour practice.
The Rockets spent the end of practice working on an option offense they’ve run for the past eight years, except with the season-opener against Johnsburg looming, R-B’s starting backfield is still up in the air. While last year’s team had to replace 19 starters, the Rockets return six players on offense and four on defense this season.
Senior quarterback Danny Rygiel is back and his knowledge of the offense is important after they lost 2,600 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns to graduation. Working out the running back and fullback situation is one of Elder’s top priorities.
“That's the big thing for us is to figure out how the pieces of the puzzle go together,” Elder said. “We've been trying to get as many reps as we can, get as good of looks as we can and build off that.
“We're green back there, but we've known that for nine months.”
Elder is optimistic that the backfield will continue to get better as the season progresses. Four players – juniors Luke Brinkmann and Brad Boelkow and seniors Nate Hansel and Kyle Kirby – are vying for playing time at running back.
Fullback is a three-man competition with seniors Vince Battaglia and juniors Marcus Duha and Tyler Talatian. It’s been a learning process as most of the guys taking on backfield roles haven’t previously played the positions.
“It's a loss, yeah, but we have fresh guys,” senior offensive lineman Bryce Wagner said of the backfield situation. “They know what they're doing, so it's not going to be a huge loss to us. Hopefully it's like we pick up where we left off.”
Part of the reason R-B has found so much success the past few years is its ability to replace key players on offense. Since 2008, the Rockets haven’t lost more than four games in a season and compiled a 34-3 record from 2009-11, which included a Class 4A state runner-up finish in 2011.
The pressure to consistently perform at an elite level every year hasn’t fazed the Rockets.
“I love the pressure, honestly,” Wagner said. “It shows that people care. They expect us to do good and we want to do good for them.”
The Rockets aren’t satisfied with last year’s 7-4 record and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs. The Rockets are looking to reclaim the Big Northern Conference East Division title.
“I'm getting more confident as I'm playing and I feel like if we play our game and don't think about the pressure we'll do fine,” Rygiel said. “I like to know we're expected to go far into the playoffs and do well during the regular season.”
For that to happen, the Rockets’ option offense will need to lead the way. Senior offensive lineman Eric Paparigian expects the line to open holes for a backfield still coming together, and Wagner said while the “big hogs up front” don’t always get credit for an offense’s success, they make it their mission to open gaping holes on every play.
“The offense really does set the tone,” Paparigian said. “It always starts with the offense. When we can make big plays, it helps the defense out, so we're always looking for the offense to start games strong.”
For R-B to continue its reign as one of the area’s best teams and make a deep postseason run, Elder believes his team must play mentally strong football. But if the compliments he’s heard over the years about how hard the Rockets’ battle on the field continue this year, a successful season should follow.
“What we have been fortunate to have happen is our success has helped create hunger in our kids and pride in our kids,” Elder said. “That's what we have benefited from and that's been good for Richmond-Burton football.” (NWHerald 8/20/13)
Not quite Christmas morning, but close
McHenry football coach Dave D’Angelo anticipates two days in the year more than any others.
One is Christmas morning, the other is the first day of football practice.
“[Football first day] is not quite Christmas, but it’s close,” the second-year Warriors head coach said. “I’m older and been doing this a lot of years. You lose a little bit of sleep, definitely, not as much as you used to. There’s still definitely a lot of excitement.”
Wednesday marks the first day of practice for all high school fall sports in Illinois. It also means that football season, the most popular of all high school sports, is only 16 days away.
With all the offseason and summer training, there is a level of familiarity for football coaches and teams with what is going on. Still, the first day is special.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into that first day,” D’Angelo said. “There’s a lot of hours coaches put into preparing, and you hope everything goes just right. It’s a date we’ve all been talking about since the end of last season.”
Richmond-Burton coach Pat Elder says if you don’t feel something extra before the first day of official practice you may need another line of work.
“I won’t need an alarm [Wednesday],” Elder said. “It’s always exciting. It’s changed so
much with all you do in the summer, you’re not starting from scratch. There is a different intensity level you have [on the first day] than you have in June and July. Football’s a priority now.”
Teams can practice with helmets on for the first two days, and with helmets and shoulder pads the next three. New IHSA rules say teams can wear full pads on Tuesday, which, Woodstock coach Steve Bears says is when the real fun starts.
“[First day] is exciting, but the players always tell me the night before the first full contact day, when they know they’re going to hit and go full-speed, they get even more excited,” Beard said. “When we’re in only helmets, we’ll get a lot of mechanics and mental stuff done.”
Coaches are allowed contact with players 25 days during the summer. Elder says between the contact days, the offseason conditioning programs and 7-on-7 camps, a great deal of work is done when teams start camp.
“The days of showing up in August and it all being fresh and brand new are over,” Elder said. “We won’t have to walk through drills with the older kids, they’ve been doing them the last two months. Over my coaching life, that’s something that has changed.”
Much of the excitement centers around no team having a loss and most teams aiming for the playoffs as a goal.
“It’s exciting for all the work they’ve put in,” D’Angelo said. “You talk to the parents and hear how excited they area. You see the kids and know how excited they are. There’s all that build-up.” (NWHerald 8/13/13)