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Roncalli caps regular season with win over Tigers

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Andrew Brennan, left, leaps into the end zone over Mobridge-Pollock’s Holden Eisemann, bottom center, to score on a pass play during Thursday night’s game at the Dacotah Bank Stadium. Looking on for the Cavaliers is Phillip Zens, right. Photo by John Davis taken 10/14/2021

Confidence restored, playoffs awaiting.

Aberdeen Roncalli clicked in all three phases of the game and rolled to a 43-14 football win over Mobridge-Pollock at Dacotah Bank Stadium Thursday night.

Cavaliers coach Billy Young thought his team was still feeling the effects of a mid-season loss to Groton heading into the contest.

“Two of the most powerful emotions are hope and belief,” Young said. “We had to start believing in ourselves again. I challenged them to do that.”

Roncalli took advantage of a variety of special teams plays.

Zane Backous recovered a Mobridge-Pollock fumble on a punt at the Tigers’ 9-yard line less than three minutes into the game. That set up an Abe Kretchman touchdown.

The Tigers answered back when Jackson Eisemann hauled in a 24-yard scoring strike from Holden Eisemann. However, it was pretty much all Roncalli after that.

Jackson Isakson threw a 27-yard TD pass to Andrew Brennan which started a string of 36 unanswered points.

Anthony Martinez set up another Roncalli score on a 31-yard punt return before Maddox May scored on a short run moments later.

The Tigers then failed to cover up Roncalli’s ensuing kickoff giving Roncalli the ball at the Mobridge-Pollock 16-yard line.

That resulted in an Isakson 30-yard field goal.

The second half was the Ben Rohl show. He scored three times, one on 42-yard pass with not a defender in sight.

So how did Rohl get so wide-open?

“Turning on the jets and us practicing those plays,” Rohl said. ” ‘JI’ did an amazing job of throwing tonight.”

Rohl finished with 54 yards rushing to go along with that pass.

“He’s kind of Johnny on the spot. He just happens to be in when we call those plays,” Young said. “They’re not necessarily designed for him, but he happens to be in. He makes the most out of it. He’s playing well right now.”

Isakson threw for 113 yards in the contest. Roncalli ended up with 223 yards on the ground, led by Isakson with 77 and May with 55.

“Everyone got their blocks pretty well most of the night,” said Roncalli senior lineman Hunter Pearson. “We just made holes and got everyone through.”

Meanwhile, the Roncalli defense did not give up chunk plays the entire game, forcing the Tigers to grind things out.

Young said that is where the confidence factor comes in.

“I told our guys that comes from playing with confidence and defeating blocks, defeating that guy in front of you, not trying to do other people’s jobs,” Young said. “They did that tonight. I thought that was the difference.”

The win helped to erase the pain of recent defeats against the Tigers, even for one member of the team who was not a part of those games.

“Knowing that I haven’t played with Roncalli against Mobridge, I felt the pain that they felt towards them,” said Roncalli senior Anthony Brunmaier. “I just helped put the pressure and deal the damage.”

The win capped a 6-2 regular season for the Cavaliers. The team will host a playoff game on Thursday at Swisher Field.

While that is Roncalli’s football home, the players sure enjoyed the experience of playing at Dacotah Bank Stadium.

“I love this. It’s amazing,” Rohl said. “The lights, the field, it’s amazing.”

Aberdeen Roncalli 7 15 14 0 – 43

Mobridge-Pollock 0 6 0 8 – 14

First Quarter

AR – Abe Kretchman 1 run (Jackson Isakson kick), 8:14.

Second Quarter

MP – Jackson Eisemann 24 pass from Holden Eisemann, 9:17.

AR – Andrew Brennan 27 pass from Isakson, 5:49.

AR – Maddox May 1 run, 2:12.

AR – Isakson 30 field goal, :23.

Third Quarter

AR – Ben Rohl 42 pass from Isakson (Isakson kick), 6:19.

AR – Rohl 3 run (Isakson kick), 2:13.

AR – Rohl 8 run (Isakson kick), :13.

Fourth Quarter

MP – J. Eisemann 7 pass from H. Eisemann (Cole Wellner run), 8:48.

OFFENSE: Aberdeen Roncalli rushing 44-223 (Isakson 10-77, May 16-55, Rohl 8-54, Kretchman 7-29, Brennan 2-6, Aiden Fisher 1-2), passing 9-13-0 for 113 (Isakson 9-13-0 for 113), receiving (Brennan 2-46, Rohl 1-42, Kretchman 3-18, Anthony Martinez 1-9), first downs 14; Mobridge-Pollock rushing 21-71 (Wellner 14-75, Trent Schmeichel 3-9), passing 10-19-0 for 129 (H. Eisemann 10-19-0 for 129), receiving (J. Eisemann 3-62, Brady Bauer 2-36, Schmeichel 3-29, Simon Fried 1-5), first downs 11.

DEFENSE: Aberdeen Roncalli, Phillip Zens 5 tackles, Kaden Clark 5 tackles, Maddox May 5 tackles; Mobridge-Pollock, Ashton Pfitzer 13 tackles, Wellner 8 tackles, Schmeichel 7 tackles.

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