ELMA — Elma’s offense struggled to find a rhythm and its defense could not figure out a way to stop Rochester’s physical ground game on Friday night.
The end result was a bullying Warriors squad walking off with a 49-14 Evergreen 1A victory at Davis Field in Elma.
Tyler Yarber carried the load for Rochester.
The senior running back rushed 30 times for 207 yards and three touchdowns (2, 3 and 6 yards). The Warriors gained 275 yards on the ground as a team and controlled the ball for much of the game.
“(The success of their running game) was due to our lack of physicality,” Elma head coach Jim Hill said. “We were absolutely non-physical tonight on both sides of the ball. We got beat, plain and simple.”
Although Rochester (3-0 in league, 4-1 overall) primarily utilized its rushing attack, it also capitalized on some timely passing plays. A 51-yard bomb down the left sideline from Tyler Gedney to Bobby Brien in the first quarter went for a touchdown. A successful two-point conversion from Gedney to Wyatt Singer opened up an early 14-0 lead for the Warriors.
Gedney recorded a second touchdown pass in the second quarter on a beautifully thrown fade to Juan Jiminez from 14 yards out.
After trailing 28-7 and managing just 55 yards of total offense in the first half, Elma started off the second half with a bang. Ryan Collin connected with Kevin Farr down the left seam for a 73-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage.
However, the Eagles (2-1, 2-3) were unable to capitalize on the shift in momentum. The ensuing nine-play, 75-yard Rochester drive was punctuated by a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Luke Eastman. Yarber rushed six times for 52 yards on that offensive series.
Elma’s offense played better after the break, but miscues prevented the Eagles from sustaining drives. Collin completed three of his first four passes for 100 yards in the third quarter, but Todd Swinhart dropped a third-down pass from Collin that would have likely resulted in a touchdown. Instead Elma was forced to punt it away. The Eagles also lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter, essentially ending any hopes of a late comeback.
Todd Swinhart scored Elma’s only other touchdown on a two-yard run early in the second quarter that was set up by a 26-yard pass from Collin to Rio Ortega.
Rochester’s Journey Fortner capped the scoring late in the fourth quarter with a 2-yard rushing touchdown.
On Friday, the Eagles will make the short trip to Hoquiam to face the league-rival Grizzlies.