Elliott Byrd ‘22: On Friday, November 13 the Romeo Bulldogs faced off against the undefeated Stoney Creek Cougars. The winner of this game goes on to claim the District championship trophy.
The Cougars received the ball first and capitalized on the same possession. The Cougars handed the ball off to their workhorse back and he took it 70 yards for the first score of the game.
The past few weeks Romeo responded very well to early game adversity, this week the Bulldogs bounced back yet again. On the Bulldog’s first drive they punted it away but Romeo’s defense came up big and forced a three and out. Unable to drive in a touchdown on their second drive, Milan Krstevski ‘21 drilled a 30-yard field goal to make it 7-3.
On the Cougars very next drive, Romeo’s defense came up huge, not letting Stoney Creek get a first down on their 4th down attempt from their own 10-yard line. Romeo capitalized on the great field possession set up by their defense when Brian St.Clair ‘21 ran into the endzone giving the Bulldogs a 10-7 lead.
After a few defensive stops by both teams, Romeo called a perfect play call to get a spark in the Bulldog’s offense. Everyone in the stadium believed that Logan Rolfs ‘22 rolled out to his right to throw a deep pass until suddenly he handed the ball off to St.Clair who ran 37 yards for a Romeo touchdown making the lead 17-7.
On the very next possession, the Cougars quarterback aired out a pass which got intercepted by corner Brendan Arendts ‘21. The Bulldog’s offense drained out most of the first half clock, so Romeo went into halftime with a 10 point lead.
Stoney Creek opened the second half by doing an onside kick, fortunately for the Bulldogs Seth VonHiltmayer ‘22 remained ready and recovered the ball for the Bulldogs. Romeo punted the ball away, but on offense the Cougars fumbled a handoff exchange that Arendts recovered and put Romeo in scoring position. Logan Rolfs cushioned Romeo’s lead by scoring on a QB sneak with help from a great push upfront by the offensive line.
The defensive domination continued for the Bulldogs on the very next Cougars drive. After Stoney Creek drove down to the 50-yard line Matthew Ploetz ‘22 intercepted a tipped pass that was intended for running back on a screen. Ploetz returned the ball 20 yards setting up his offense nicely. Logan Rolfs rolled out to his left and found his tight end, Sean Repshas ‘21 open in the endzone making the score 31-7.
Stoney Creek’s offense found a spark when the Cougars quarterback bought himself some time scrambling and found an open receiver who ran into the endzone. The Cougars attempted to go for the two point conversion but Romeo stopped them making the score 31-13.
Stoney Creek got a stop on defense which gave their offense a chance to chip away at the Bulldog’s lead. Unfortunately for the Cougars, Luke Rolfs ‘22 and Michael Heldman ‘21 were lined up on the other side of the ball. Heldman got past his blocker, came screaming after the quarterback, and stripped the ball out of the Cougars quarterback. Anthony Lomakoski ’23 then scooped up the ball and ran 50 yards on a strip six.
Romeo’s outstanding defensive performance kept rolling when the Cougars tried to dump it off to their running back again. This time Matthew Ploetz read the play, stripped the ball, recovered it, and got another strip six for Romeo making the score 45-13.
On the next drive the Bulldogs coaching staff, to give the starters a well deserved rest and put the backups and allow them to shine. The Cougars took advantage of the less experienced players on the field for the Bulldogs and scored two more touchdowns to close the game out. The final score 45-27, made the Bulldogs District champions!
Romeo came into the game knowing that the record of two teams means nothing in the playoffs. Romeo played their most complete game of the season and with great passion all game long. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their next game against the West Bloomfield Lakers got postponed due to the most recent executive order of governor Whitmer to stop organized sports until further notice.