NR-S Rockets capture first state titleAfter scoring 30 or more points in 10 games this season, New Rockford-Sheyenne had only 14 at halftime. Senior running back Alex Perleberg admitted he was concerned about his team’s normally potent offense.
By: By Greg DeVillers, Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
GRAND FORKS — After scoring 30 or more points in 10 games this season, New Rockford-Sheyenne had only 14 at halftime.
Senior running back Alex Perleberg admitted he was concerned about his team’s normally potent offense.
“I was worried,” Perleberg said. “That wasn’t our offense. We were making stupid mistakes and shooting ourselves in the foot.”
The Rockets found their offensive groove, however. New Rockford-Sheyenne pulled away in the final two quarters to beat Divide County 40-22 on Friday in the North Dakota nine-man football championship game of the Dakota Bowl.
In the final two quarters, Perleberg ran for two touchdowns, Josh Edmonson one and Hunter Wetzel returned an interception for a touchdown as the Rockets outscored the Maroon 26-0 in the second half.
Rockets coach Elliott Belquist wasn’t that concerned about the slow start. “In the playoffs, it has taken us awhile to adjust (the offense) in games, to find a play that works,” said Belquist, whose team finished 12-0 while handing Divide County its first loss in 13 games.
What worked was the one-two backfield punch of Edmonson and Perleberg.
First it was Edmonson. The 220-pound fullback had seven of the final eight carries on a scoring drive, finishing it with a 5-yard run to pull the Rockets within 22-20 with 5:06 left in the third quarter.
“That got our momentum going,” Perleberg said. “We kept building from there.”
Two possessions later, Edmonson’s open-field block sprung Perleberg open for an 88-yard touchdown run and a 26-20 lead with 20 seconds left in the third.
“We wanted to mix it up in our offense,” Belquist said. “Edmonson’s power and Perleberg’s speed, that’s a heckuva combination.”
Perleberg, who had a 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first half, added a 9-yard scoring run with 1:45 remaining. He finished with 168 yards rushing and Edmonson had 179 as the running attack dominated in a game in which the Rockets didn’t complete a pass.
Divide County got an early spark from Isaac Jacobs, who ran 95 yards for a touchdown on the first Maroon offensive play and later returned a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown. Divide County went up 22-14 on a 5-yard Lance Knudson-to-Bennett Lystad TD pass. But the Maroon were without Jacobs the entire second half due to an injury.
“That didn’t help anything,” Divide County co-coach Nate Nelson said. “He’s a good football player. But that’s no excuse. New Rockford is just a good team.”
New Rockford-Shey. 40, Divide County 22
Divide County 14 8 0 0 — 22
NR-Sheyenne 14 0 12 14 — 40
DC — Isaac Jacobs 95 run; Lance Knudson run
NRS— Alex Perleberg 72 kickoff return; run failed
NRS — Josh Edmonson 1 run; Chance LaBrie pass from Ethan Haley
DC — Jacobs 76 kickoff return; run failed
DC — Bennett Lystad 5 pass from Knudson (Lystad pass from Taylor Elsbernd
NRS — Edmonson 5 run; run failed
NRS — Perleberg 88 run; run failed
NRS — Perleberg 9 run; LaBrie pass from Haley
NRS — Hunter Wetzel 9 interception return; PAT failed
RUSHING — DC: Isaac Jacobs 5-99, Lance Knudson 17-57, Dakota Marschner
9-30, Jarret Obenchain 1-(-1); NRS: Josh Edmonson 22-179, Alex Perleberg 4-168, Ethan Haley 12-38
PASSING — DC: Knudson 14-27-1, 183 yards; NRS: Haley 0-10-1, 0 yards
RECEIVING — DC: Bennett Lystad 9-132, Tyler Kroshus 1-26, Kyle Bossingham 3-19, Will Landsverk 1-6