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Rockets fall behind early, suffer shutout

October 18, 2003|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Kevin Gustafson chalked it up as a learning experience. He didn't have many options.

The James Buchanan football coach watched his young club fall behind early and fail to get back in the game, absorbing a 28-0 setback at the hands of previously winless Boiling Springs in a Mid-Penn Liberty matchup Friday night.

"I think our kids learned a lot tonight," Gustafson said. "We're a young team. We started seven sophomores on offense and six on defense, and we've been decimated by injuries. I'm not making excuses, those are the facts. We learned a lot about being aggressive in football, and they never quit."

The Rockets held the momentum for less than 10 seconds to start the game - long enough for Tyler Morris to return the opening kickoff 41 yards to the Bubblers' 45 - before Boiling Springs took over when Morris fumbled the ball.

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"The opening kickoff kind of stung us," Gustafson said. "We had a big return and fumbled it, and the momentum swung into their favor."

A powerful rushing attack allowed the Bubblers (1-7) to maintain the emotional edge, rushing for 196 first-half yards and three touchdowns, while James Buchanan (1-7) was unable to move the ball offensively.

Eight straight Aaron Lee rushes off tackle accounted for all 55 yards of Boiling Springs' first drive for a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

After losing seven yards on the next series, the Rockets watched Lee and quarterback Austin Rutz combine for 54 yards with Rutz carrying around the right side for a 27-yard score.

On Boiling Springs' third series, Joey Roush took over, carrying eight straight times for 80 yards before Rutz sneaked it in from the 1.

James Buchanan's defensive play improved dramatically in the second half, holding the Bubblers to just 54 rushing yards and one touchdown.

Gaining just 72 yards - 28 in the first half - the James Buchanan offense had little to smile about, as the Bubblers' defense finished with nine tackles for losses.

"(Boiling Springs) just controlled the line of scrimmage on us," Gustafson said. "We just weren't executing our plays up front. We had some fumbled snaps and other mistakes that really added up."

JB had the ball in Boiling Springs' territory just three times all night.

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