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Rutz deepens the Rockets' rut

October 23, 2004|by CURT HORNBECKER/Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Kevin Gustafson is at his wit's end.

The problems that plagued his James Buchanan football team at the beginning of the season continue to torment the Rockets.

Austin Rutz only aggravated those problems Friday night, as the Boiling Springs sophomore rushed for 252 yards on 27 carries and one back-breaking touchdown to propel the Bubblers to a 27-6 Mid-Penn Capital win.

Meanwhile, the Rockets (1-7, 0-5) were unable to take advantage of their scoring opportunities, a story that has continued throughout the season.

"We shot ourselves in the foot again," said Gustafson. "Mental mistakes really cost us. We've moved the ball well this year, but we've had trouble in the red zone."

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It was more than just mental mistakes that beleaguered James Buchanan. Four turnovers and a pair of short punts set up all four Bubblers scores.

Despite the errors, JB remained in the game until late in the third period. Trailing 14-0, the Rockets marched from their own 15-yard line to the Boiling Springs 20 behind the running of Marcus Riley, Josh Cotton and Tyler Morris. But Jacob Schrom picked off a Cotton pass on the Bubblers 2, ending the threat.

Two plays later, Rutz rumbled down the right sideline for a 98-yard touchdown that took the steam out of the Rockets.

"That stung," said Gustafson of the long TD run. "We had eight guys in the box on that play, and when he cut back, we didn't have anybody to pursue."

By the time JB scored on a 25-yard Cotton-to-David Gillen pass with 4:42 left in the game, the Bubblers (4-4, 3-2) were comfortably in front.

The Rockets had another scoring opportunity at the end of the first half when Mark Wise pounced on a Boiling Springs fumble on the Bubblers 19. After Cotton completed a 14-yard pass to Justin Martin down to the 5 with 18 seconds left, Cotton was sacked and JB was unable to stop the clock.

Boiling Springs' first score came after the second of three straight Rockets turnovers gave the Bubblers possession on the JB 22. Jeremy Cannon carried the final five yards for a 7-0 lead.

Despite its run-oriented offense, Boiling Springs used three passes, scoring on a 44-yard hook-and-lateral play, with Cannon scooting in from 37 yards out after Schrom caught a 7-yard pass from Joel Bliss.

The final Bubblers TD came midway through the fourth quarter on an 11-yard Bliss-to-Eric Bonshock completion.

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