GOSHEN — There is a history of the unexpected when Plymouth’s Rockies visit Foreman Field in Goshen and while the Rockies walked away with a convincing 28-16 Northern Lakes Conference win, it didn’t come without a price.
After running up a 21-0 lead early in the game, Plymouth had to deal with the loss of three key offensive weapons. First fullback Sam Stevens went down in the first quarter to an AC joint sprain in his shoulder. Just a handful of plays later quarterback Ike Kastner separated his throwing shoulder and as the second half started offensive tackle Adam Lacefield rolled his ankle and was unable to return.
“Our offense carried us last week and this week our defense stepped up to give us the win,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “We’ve got a lot of veteran guys on that side of the ball and they knew what they had to do to carry us.”
On a night where the teams battled the elements as much as each other the game took on the demeanor of two fighters slugging it out to a final fall. Goshen played an inspired second half but it was the Rockies that were left standing at the end.
Goshen had life at the end after an Eric Demeyer pass to Hans Singer put them within five at 21-16 and when Cody Smith recovered the ensuing onside kick the Redskins had a chance to take the lead with just 3:20 to play.
The Plymouth defense not only held — Brady Ruffing came up with a key interception and Justin Drudge put the nail in the coffin with a 44-yard touchdown run.
“Our defense has come a long way (since the season began) we have a lot of older kids on that side of the ball with a lot of pride,” said Barron. “(Ethan) Sampson was everywhere tonight and I was very really happy to see Brady (Ruffing) get that big interception at the end. They’ve made a lot of positives out of negatives.
“Dakota (Brooke) made two huge catches tonight and it was good to see that. The passing game is going to have to come out as this season moves on.”
Plymouth (6-2, 5-1) plays at home against NorthWood next week for a share of the NLC title. Goshen (2-6, 2-4) plays at Wawasee.
• PLYMOUTH 28,
Score by Quarters
Plymouth: 14 7 0 7 — 28
Goshen: 0 7 3 6 — 16
05:53 PLYM — Sam Stevens 1 yd run (Jacob Frantz kick) PLYM 7 - GOSH 0
02:02 PLYM — Ike Kastner 13 yd run (J. Frantz kick) PLYM 14 - GOSH 0
01:01 PLYM — Dakota Brooke 37 yd pass from Kyle Lacefield (J. Frantz kick) PLYM 21 - GOSH 0
00:02 GOSH — Christian Barron 46 yd pass from Eric DeMeyer (Good kick), 4-48 0:53, PLYM 21 — GOSH 7
05:57 GOSH — Jesse Good 32 yd field goal PLYM 21 - GOSH 10
03:20 GOSH — Han Singer 6 yd pass from DeMeyer (DeMeyer pass failed) PLYM 21 - GOSH 16
01:42 PLYM — Justin Drudge 44 yd run (J. Frantz kick) PLYM 28 - GOSH 16
RUSHING: (Plymouth 52-283) Justin Drudge 13-88; Sam Stevens 8-62; Michael Hartman 6-43; Elliott Eads 8-38; Ike Kastner 4-30; Trenton Briles 1-24; Christian Bastardo 4-8; Kyle Lacefield 9-minus 10.
(Goshen 29-38) Justin Klabusich 15-38; Travis Pickard 1-3; John Trenshaw 1-1; Skylar Stevens 1-0; Tyler Slagel 1-0; Derek DeMeyer 10-minus 4.
PASSING: Plymouth-K. Lacefield 1-3-0-37; I. Kastner 0-2-0-0; E. Eads 1-1-0-19. Goshen-DeMeyer 4-18-1-80; Henke 1-1-0-10; Klabusich 1-1-0-32.
RECEIVING: Plymouth-D. Brooke 2-56. Goshen-Barron 1-46; Austin Henke 1-32; Klabusich 1-21; Smith 1-10; Goodman 1-7; Kauffman 1-6.
INTERCEPTIONS: Plymouth-Brady Ruffing 1-25. Goshen-None.
TACKLES: Plymouth-Ethan Sampson 11; J. Stillson 7; Vincente Vasquez 7;Goshen-Heim 15; Harris 13; Good 11.
SACKS: Plymouth-J. Stillson 2; E. Sampson 2; M. Hartman 1. Goshen- Austin Weirich 1-0.