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Game of the Week

Rochester turns back Laurel in battle of unbeatens

Laurel (7) vs. Rochester (14)
Written: Oct 03, 2009
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ROCHESTER — Opportunities knocked for the Laurel High football team last night.

But the Spartans let them pass by far too often.

Rochester fumbled eight times, but gave it away just twice in holding on for a 14-7 victory in Big Seven Conference action.

“We lost a lot of fumbles; they put the ball on the ground a number of times and we didn’t come close to getting it,” Laurel coach Jerry Holzhauser said. “When we did come up with it, their defense was great.

“We tried to do just about everything we could against them but that’s an excellent defensive unit they have.”

The Spartans (2-1 conference, 4-1 overall) were bidding for their first 5-0 start since 1995. They came in ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL in Class A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Rams (3-0, 5-0) are ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL and in the state. The win gives Rochester its 597th victory all-time.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Rochester coach Gene Matsook said. “There’s no doubt that they are a good football team.

“They’re dangerous on offense and they have some weapons.”

Said Holzhauser, “Rochester is a heck of a football team. They deserve that top ranking. They’re well-coached with great personnel. I can see why they’re No. 1 and it shows in the 14-7 score.”

Matsook, who is 105-22 in his 10th year at the helm, is a 1981 Shenango graduate.

Rochester raced out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Trey Johnson dashed 25 yards for a touchdown with 8:56 left in the first frame and Devon Glass closed the stanza, plowing in from 2 yards with just 40.1 seconds left.

“Getting behind a good team like that early is not a good thing to have happen,” Holzhauser said. “You can’t let that happen against a great football team.”

The Spartans got a break late in the half when a Rams player was whistled for a late hit following a punt. The 15-yard penalty set Laurel up at the Rams 30 with 1:38 remaining in the first half.

“That was a stupid penalty on our part,” Matsook said. “It was a little bit of undisciplined play and we don’t tolerate that. It cost us and they took advantage of it.”

Laurel quarterback Tyler Forbes culminated the five-play drive with a 9-yard touchdown run with just 19.1 seconds left. Forbes’ touchdown run marked the first points the Rams’ first-team defensive unit has allowed all season.

“That’s a tough defense, but we obviously proved we can score on them,” Forbes said.

The Spartans’ best chance to tie came in the third quarter. Jasson Adamson fumbled and Laurel recovered at the Rams 38.

However, Forbes was sacked on the next play for a 19-yard loss and Laurel punted three plays later.

“The chances were there,” Forbes said. “There were times where we had a chance to score and we just didn’t capitalize.

“The pocket was collapsing, but I thought my line did well. I couldn’t ask for any more, they did a great job. It was just tough against (Rochester).”

Derek Gallagher recorded the 19-yard sack, and ended Laurel’s next possession with another sack with seven minutes left.

“They were sending an extra man and you have to get rid of the ball quickly and their coverage was good,” Holzhauser said. “They’re going to have a guy get through there on those plays, it’s tough to avoid that.”

The Rams gave Laurel one final chance when Adamson fumbled on the Spartans’ 20 with 3:41 left.

“We told our offensive line that we needed to take some time off the clock and we did that,” Matsook said. “The field position changed dramatically and it worked in our favor on that fumble.

“They had to go 80 yards on that last drive and that played into our hands a little bit.”

Laurel could only get as far as its own 43, but a sack by Eric Roberts pushed Forbes and the offense back 10 yards. Two plays later, Forbes was picked off by Johnson with 50.8 seconds left.

“Tyler is a heck of a runner and I thought the line protected him well,” Holzhauser said. “Their secondary is a talented group and a lot of the sacks on Tyler were coverage sacks.”

The Spartans lost Dan Poremski and Torrey Price to injury. Poremski went out with what appeared to be a knee injury on the first series of the game.

“We had some adversity, there’s no question about that,” Holzhauser said. “You can’t lose two captains and not play without adversity.

“They are two-way players and that’s not easy to replace.”

Laurel returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday at Union. Rochester visits Shenango at 7 p.m. Oct. 10. Both games are conference matchups.


8 First downs 13

89 Yards Rushing 231

45 Yards Lost 14

44 Net Rushing 217

12 Passes Attempted 6

5 Passes Completed 4

1 Passes Intercepted 0

39 Yards Passing 35

83 Total Yards 252

2-1 Fumbles-Lost 8-2

5-30.2 Punts-Average 4-33.7

3-15 Penalties-Yards 5-45

LAUREL 0 7 0 0 — 7

ROCHESTER 14 0 0 0 — 14

Scoring plays

ROCHESTER — Trey Johnson, 25-yard run (Jon Johnson kick).

ROCHESTER — Devon Glass, 2-yard run (Johnson kick).

LAUREL — Tyler Forbes, 9-yard run (Jonathan Johnson kick).
Laurel 0 7 0 0 0 7
Rochester 14 0 0 0 0 14
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Cambridge Springs 11/13/15 Defense steps up for Lancers 11/7/15 Neshannock vs. Bentworth 11/5/15 No doubt about it 10/31/15 Neshannock vs. Union 10/30/15 Crowning effort 10/24/15 Shenango vs. Riverside 10/23/15 Playoff hopes dashed 10/17/15 Laurel vs. Beaver 10/16/15 A costly brawl 10/10/15 New Castle vs. Central Valley 10/9/15 Inching closer 10/3/15 Union vs. Shenango 10/2/15 'They had us on our heels' 9/26/15 South Side Beaver at Union 9/25/15 Shootout 9/19/15 Neshannock at Riverside 9/18/15 Pivotal 9/13/15 Neshannock, Shenango clash Saturday 9/11/15 Under the weather 9/5/15 New Brighton at Laurel 9/4/15 Heartbreaker 11/15/14 Neshannock vs. Clairton 11/14/14 Weathering the storm 11/8/14 Neshannock vs. Jeannette 11/7/14 Fast and furious 11/1/14 Springdale at Shenango 10/31/14 Opportunity lost 10/25/14 Sharpsville at Wilmington 10/24/14 One for the books 10/18/14 Ellwood City at Laurel 10/17/14 Ground war 10/11/14 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/10/14 Drenched with happiness 10/4/14 South 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delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Neshannock vs. Serra Catholic 9/9/11 New Castle suffers disappointing loss in opener 9/3/11 New Castle vs. Butler 9/2/11 Sharon ends Wilmington’s dominance 11/22/10 ‘Underdog’ Greyhounds move on to a rematch with Sharon 11/15/10 Wilmington vs. North East 11/12/10 Tough lesson 11/6/10 WPIAL Playoffs: Ellwood vs. South Fayette 11/5/10 Wolverines earn playoff berth 10/30/10 Riverside at Ellwood City 10/29/10 'Hounds lose heartbreaker 10/23/10 Wilmington at Sharon 10/22/10 Wolverines outlast Spartans 10/16/10 Laurel at Ellwood City 10/15/10 'Canes fall to Parkway foe Hopewell 10/9/10 New Castle to battle Hopewell 10/8/10 Lancers fall to Western Beaver 10/2/10 Western Beaver at Neshannock 10/1/10 Wolverines fall to Beaver 9/25/10 Beaver at Ellwood City 9/24/10 Shenango runs past South Side 9/20/10 Greyhounds lay hammer down on Greenville 9/11/10 Wilmington vs. Greenville 9/10/10 New Castle comes through 9/4/10 New 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streak against Blackhawk 9/19/09 New Castle hosts Blackhawk 9/18/09 New Castle passes test against Indiana 9/12/09 Indiana at New Castle 9/11/09 Ellwood comes up short against Freedom 9/5/09 Freedom at Ellwood 9/4/09 Wilmington wins PIAA title! 12/15/08 'Hounds headed for Hershey 12/6/08 Wilmington vs. Aliquippa 12/5/08 Wilmington holds off Martinsburg Central 11/29/08 Wilmington edges Slippery Rock for District 10 title 11/24/08 "Down and Out" 11/19/08 New Castle outlasts Indiana in quarterfinals 11/8/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/7/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/6/08 New Castle routs Franklin Regional 11/1/08 Franklin Regional at New Castle 11/1/08 Laurel wins, but not enough 10/25/08 Shenango at Laurel 10/25/08 New Castle routs Ambridge 10/18/08 Ambridge at New Castle 10/18/08 Rochester blanks Neshannock 10/11/08 Wilmington handles Sharon 10/4/08 South Side Beaver blanks Neshannock 9/27/08 Neshannock vs. South Side Beaver 9/27/08 Neshannock holds off Laurel 9/20/08 Rochester blanks 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