PLYMOUTH — It was a strange contest at Plymouth in round one of IHSAA playoff action as the Rockies came away with their highest point total of the year in a 54-28 win over Kankakee Valley.
In his first start at quarterback Jake Reichard had guided the Plymouth offense to a 16-0 lead in just a little more than five minutes of play. However there were also a pair of interceptions squeezed in there as well.
Still, the Rockie wide out probably gave future opponents even more to think about as his first quarter behind the center gave Plymouth enough of a cushion to easily push past the Kougars.
“I want to say how proud I am of Jake to step in there to start the ball game in the first quarter as we dealt with some internal stuff with Joe,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “Mike (Kershner) was able to call what we did because of who Jake is. He can run it. He can throw it. I was glad to see us get a couple scores there and him utilize his skill set.”
“If he wasn’t a two way guy we’d already have a package in for him,” said Barron. “He just does so many things for us on both sides of the ball. He’s a very talented young man, he’s a competitor and he played like he’d been there all year.”
“There was nothing in there that was new for Jake, he would just rather run the football and he’s a big, strong powerful runner.”
With a 40-0 lead late in the first half it appeared there may even be a running clock for the game’s second half. KV had other ideas however, as they ran off 21 unanswered points from the end of the second quarter through the third and had the lead cut to 47-28 when the Rockies stiffened and took over control for a second time.
“We got off to a really good start but they have some good players,” said Barron. “They caught us a couple times on the back end of our defense. They got us on some formations and they hung in there.”
The Kougar offense had only a few significant drives but they were opportunistic to take advantage of the short field on turnovers.
“We gave them some field position that was very favorable for them,” said Barron. “Still we get them to fourth down and they convert, but we did a lot of really good things on offense and defense.”
Still dealing with some injuries from a week ago, several players stepped up and took advantage of opportunities.
Taylor Judd and Reggie Vasquez stepped into the defensive tackle spots for their first starts and made their presence known very quickly.
“I was very proud of Judd,” said Barron. “He was very physical all night. Vasquez has been a JV player all year and he got an opportunity. He took advantage of it. He’s a hard working kid, he’s been getting our attention. He’s quick and strong.”
The Plymouth defense also produced two scores of their own in the game. Opposing defenses have seen what Seth Rundell can do with the ball in his hands on offense. He showed he’s just as dangerous on defense with a pair of interception returns for touchdowns of over 70 yards each and probably should have had a third.
“He’s a risk, reward type of guy,” said Barron. “He takes chances and if you aren’t careful you see what can happen. He can house it from anywhere. He loves to bait the (quarterback) into thinking he’s going to run deep and then he comes off on that secondary receiver. He’s got a knack for that and he’s a very explosive player.”
The win runs the Rockies to 8-2 on the year. They will be at home to take on South Bend St. Joe next Friday in round two with a start time of 7 p.m.
•No stats were available at press time.