Rockets overcome 14-point deficit to beat Wellington

Charles Chaney
Rose Hill's defense rose to the occasion on Friday night

WELLINGTON, KANSAS – Rose Hill overcame an early 14-point deficit to beat the Wellington Crusaders 28-20 on Friday night, spoiling the homecoming for Wellington.

“I think our kids played hard,” Rose Hill head coach Lee Weber said. “We were able to adjust to plan B when we needed to. Plan B worked for us. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I’m pleased with the effort, not the execution.”

The win puts Rose Hill at 2-3 heading into the back half of the schedule.

Wellington’s promising start saw a 38-yard touchdown run with 9:56 to go in the first quarter. Then, Berk Wright found Montel Tate for the 55-yard touchdown with 11:39 remaining in the first half, to give Wellington the 14-0 lead.

Then, Rose Hill was able to blink.

Spencer Nolan scored a 23-yard touchdown with 9:13 remaining in the half to cut the deficit in half. Then, Bryson Evans found Bryce Bischler for the 10-yard touchdown pass and the game had evened at 14-all.

“Scoring right before the half was huge,” he said. “And coming back after we threw the interception and being able to score the next drive after that coming out of halftime.”

The game was tied 14-all at the break.

Evans found Bischler again out of halftime for the go-ahead score with 6:17 remaining in the third as the Rockets went up by six.

“I’m pleased that we were able to come from 14 down, but man, we don’t want be 14 down,” Weber said. “We don’t want to dig ourselves a hole.”

Trevor Kizer scored from five yards out to make it 28-14 after the two-point conversion with 10:45 remaining in the game.

With 7:15 remaining in the game, the Rockets were called for roughing the passer, negating a fumble recovery opportunity for the Rockets.

Montel Tate scored on a 14-yard catch from Wright with 7:08 remaining to cut the deficit to 28-20. The Crusaders would miss the ensuing extra point.

Rose Hill dashed the Wellington hopes when Kizer came up with a huge interception with 1:29 remaining.

“Finishing the game on a 28-6 run is good for our kids,” Weber said. “We lost our kicker and didn’t have our center so we had to overcome some adversity.”

Weber did offer some praise for Wellington.

“They’ve got a really strong offensive/defensive line,” Weber said. “We got fortunate that they had a few dropped balls. We wanted to be able to score right away. We took the shot and we didn’t get it. I think our defense played well in spots to stop them. They’ve got a good offense. They’ve got some good backs so our kids did well.”

Rose Hill hosts Mulvane (1-3) next week with a chance to win three straight. It’s something a Rocket team has not done since 2016.