Sunday, October 12, 2008

Single-Wing St Charles Wins Big

St. Charles scores 21 points in fourth quarter to beat Merrill in Tri-Valley Conference West Division rivalry
Hugh Bernreuter, October 10, 2008 11:10 p.m.

After the celebration, Dugan Roosa was almost scared to return to the sidelines.

"I was worried that my coach would be mad at me," the St. Charles junior said. "He always says that when a punt is blocked, don't touch it. But it was hanging up there and there was open field ahead of me, so I caught it and ran."

Roosa's punt block return broke a 27-27 tie with 2:04 remaining, propelling the Bulldogs to a 41-27 Tri-Valley Conference West Division win Friday over Merrill in the Vandals' homecoming game.

"It happened so quick, I didn't have time to get angry," St. Charles coach Brady Lake said. "We were so desperate. We had to make a play."

St. Charles tacked on an insurance touchdown on an 8-yard run by Marshall Davenport, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 record heading into next Friday's TVC West showdown with 7-0 Carrollton.

It left Merrill with a 4-3 record and Vandals coach John Streeter shaking his head.

"We had a 27-20 lead with five minutes to go in the game," Streeter said. "We get that punt off and they have the ball inside their 20 with two minutes to go. It all changed on one play."

On fourth and 7 on the Merrill 49, the Vandals decided to punt. But St. Charles' Travis Crane broke through the line and got a hand on the punt, which went about 10 yards into Roosa's arms.

"He's a very intelligent player," Lake said. "He's kind of like Joe Montana in that the game slows down for him, whether it's football, basketball or baseball."

Roosa also had a 25-yard interception return in the second quarter for the Bulldogs.

Merrill held leads in both the first and fourth quarters, taking a 13-0 lead on a 3-yard run by Ricky Chapin and a 1-yard pass from Chapin to Travis Williams.

The Bulldogs regained the lead 17-13 on Kyle Morel's 8-yard run, Roosa's interception return and Crane's 35-yard field goal.

"We kept coming back ... this team has done it all season," Lake said. "Merrill had us on the ropes a couple times."

After Crane kicked a 22-yard field goal to start the third quarter, Merrill answered with a 3-yard TD run from quarterback Jason Pratt, who followed with a 37-yard TD pass to Chapin for a 27-20 lead in the fourth quarter.

That lasted until St. Charles' Zac Henninger intercepted a pass on the Merrill 49-yard line. Davenport took the next play 49 yards to tie the game.

Three minutes later, Roosa returned the blocked punt for the gamewinner.

Davenport led all runners with 222 yards on 24 carries. Crane, who ran for 51 yards, was 5-for-5 in extra-point attempts and 2-for-2 in field-goal attempts.

Pratt, who led the Vandals with 91 yards rushing on 16 carries, completed 11 of 23 passes for 109 yards. Chapin, who ran for 46 yards, caught six passes for 139 yards. Matt Good led the defense with 19 tackles.

"If we come out with the same emotion the next two weeks we had here, we'll be in the playoffs," Streeter said. "We're a good football team that's finally getting healthy.

"It seems we can't buy a break. We had our opportunities to win, but St. Charles made the big plays when they needed to."

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