Winning in the Catholic League often isn’t easy, nor is it pretty. But as Rummel coach Jay Roth says, you’ll take them if you can.
In a rematch of the 2014 Division I state semifinal game, Rummel reversed the script to earn a 28-14 victory over Jesuit in a District 9-5A game Saturday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.
The Raiders (6-1, 3-0) reeled off their third consecutive Catholic League win to remain atop the district standings. More importantly, they won ugly, but played well enough to earn a hard-fought game.
“As a coach, it’s hard … it’s painful sometimes,” Roth said. “I need to learn how to enjoy them at this age. Jesuit played good. They’ve had everybody on their feet. We could’ve played better, but I’ll take it.”
As far as scores go, 28-14 was the same score that lifted the Blue Jays (2-5, 0-4) into the Division I state title game last year at Rummel’s expense.
To Roth, that’s merely a coincidence. “No, no. Don’t even say it. It just meant we won by two touchdowns,” a smiling Roth said.
Rummel scored on its first two possessions in the opening quarter and on three of its first five in the first half to take a 21-7 lead at halftime.
Much of the Raiders’ offensive damage was done on the ground. Without starting tailback Israel Tucker, who was dealing with an ankle sprain, senior Maurice Bailey and sophomore Keirrel Jackson took over the backfield duties.
The tandem spearheaded a rushing attack that accounted for 209 of the team’s 346 total yards. Jackson finished with 105 yards and two touchdowns, covering 19 and 17 yards on 18 rushes. Bailey added with 28 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
The sophomore stepped up on Rummel’s final scoring drive, which covered 85 yards in 14 plays and ate up 6:37 off the clock from the third to fourth quarter. Jackson gained 38 yards and earned three of the offense’s four first downs on that series.
“I’ve kind of seen something in him since August,” Roth said of Jackson. “If the opportunity presented itself, I knew he could step in.”
The Rummel defense bent, but rarely broke. The Raiders nearly held Jesuit scoreless over the final three quarters thanks in part to a relentless pass rush spearheaded by Arkansas defensive tackle commitment Briston Guidry.
Guidry and blue-chip defensive back Kristian Fulton each notched 1.5 sacks, and Samuel Servat added another. Fulton also hauled in an interception late in the fourth quarter which all but iced Rummel’s win.
The Jays finished with 344 yards of offense, much of which came way of senior quarterback Peter Hontas, who finished with a game-high 328 yards passing, a touchdown and an interception.
Lost in the statistical success was Jesuit’s difficulty scoring.
“Up until tonight, we’ve been a play away from making some great things happen,” Jesuit coach Mark Songy said. “They’re a great football team and had something to say about that tonight. We weren’t able to get anything going on offense, but that’s what you expect from a great defensive football team.”