ROCKVILLE -- The South Putnam Eagles came within 10 seconds of pulling off the bigges victory of the Troy Burgess coaching era on Friday night.
The Class A No. 2-ranked Rockville Rox escaped with a 28-22 win over the visiting Eagles when quarterback Matt King threaded a 21-yard pass into the arms of Robert Clevenger in the back of the end zone with 10.7 seconds left on the clock.
"I'm very proud. They played a very good football team. Rockville has got a super team. [They have] obviously got one of the best football players in the state in Matt King," Burgess said.
Rockville coach Herb King felt South Putnam deserved the win.
"[South Putnam] played extremely well. The team we played against should be 3-0, not 1-2. [The Eagles] are a good football team. If they figure out how to win, they're going to win a lot of football games," King said.
South Putnam's Drew Cash used a strong performance by the offensive line to roll up 123 rushing yards, including a 53-yard touchdown that tied the score 7-7 in the second quarter.
"He's done a tremendous job. But that starts up front. He runs hardů and our kids did a very good job up front," Burgess said.
All of the Eagles' offense came in three quarters. After the first period, South had negative offensive numbers. And most of Cash's yardage came in the second half when the Eagles controlled play.
"For three weeks now we've just had a horrible first quarter. When you do that against good teams they make you pay," Burgess said.
At the same time, quarterback Hunter Edwards completed 12-of-21 passes for 147 yards and two touchdown passes to Conor Frame.
South Putnam scored two touchdowns and took a lead off a pair of pass interceptions. An interception by Dayne Nelson led to South's first touchdown and in the third quarter the Eagles went ahead 19-14 after Hank Goldman grabbed a Rockville pass.
It took South Putnam just four plays to score after Goldman's pick. Cash covered 19 of the needed yardage and Edwards dived in for the score with 3:50 left in the third period.
Rockville came back to lead 22-19 when Tyler Bradburn scoredon a five-yard run.
But with two minutes left on the clock the Eagles took the lead again. South Putnam used 10 plays and 5 minutes and 32 seconds to cover 70 yards for the go ahead score.
Edwards hooked up with Grant Zimmerman for a 13 yard gain and Derek Tomaw rushed for 16 yards to the Rockville 22. After three runs by Cash, Edwards went back to the air, again finding Frame open for the 18-yard score.
But with two minutes and three timeouts remaining, Rockville came back to score.
South Putnam had to made a decision about defending the Rox -- send everyone after the quarterback, or drop everyone into coverage?
"You pick your poison. Do you try to rush five or six and get pressure [on King] or do you try to cover [the receivers]. We selected the latter of the two and we only sent three at him, we tried to drop [back] in coverage, keep everything in front of us, and to Matt's credit he made a tremendous, a great ball and a great catch. They made the play when they had to and you got to give them credit for that," Burgess said.
South Putnam opens conference play next Friday night at home with county rival North Putnam.
Rockville 28, South Putnam 26
|South Putnam||0 13 6 7 -- 26|
|Rockville||7 7 0 14 -- 28|
R -- Matt King 23 run (Billy Bettis kick).
S -- Drew Cash 53 run (Jake Gould kick).
R -- Tyler Bradburn 4 pass from King (Bettis kick).
S -- Conor Frame 16 pass from Hunter Edwards (wide left).
S -- Edwards 1 run (pass failed).
R -- Bradburn 5 run (Caleb McMullen pass from King).
S -- Frame 18 pass from Edwards (Gould kick).
R -- Robert Clevenger 21 pass from King (run failed).
Rushing -- South Putnam: Cash 22-123, Tomaw 5-31, Knight 4-13, Edwards 6-1; Rockville: King 13-73, Bradburn 4-11, McMullen 3-7.
Passing -- South Putnam: Edwards 12-21-0--147; Rockville: King 30-46-2--272.
Receiving -- South Putnam: Zimmerman 3-43, Frame 3-36, Nelson 2-36, Cash 2-16, Welty 1-15, Knight 1-1; Rockville: Clevenger 10-113, Bridge 10-70, McMullen 5-29, Ball 2-26, Kelley 1-15, Leach 1-15, Bradburn 1-4.
Next game -- Rockville (3-0, 2-0 in WRC) plays at Attica and South Putnam (1-2) will host North Putnam.