The Rossville Bulldogs snapped a 14-game losing streak against Silver Lake on Friday night with a 27-21 win in the 2013 edition of the War on 24. A game that feature two potent offenses – both of which averaged more than 40 points per contest entering the rivalry matchup – turned out to be a battle between two strong-willed defenses.
Silver Lake struck first in the second quarter on a 53-yard touchdown reception by Isaac Pridey on a pass from Dailin Kruger, who wasn’t expected to play due to an ACL injury. The hobbled Kruger took over for Ryan Matzke, whose running ability was stonewalled by the Rossville defense.
The Dawgs answered with a touchdown run by Nick Reesor. That play came moments after Rossville was stopped on 4th and goal, but the first play of Silver Lake’s drive resulted in a fumble. After the Bulldogs cashed in, head coach Derick Hammes called for an onside kick with a little more than two minutes remaining before halftime and the game tied at 7. The Dawgs recovered the onside kick and drove half the length of the field, capping it off with Tucker Horak’s 5-yard TD scamper as time ran out. At halftime, Rossville led 13-7.
Despite getting the ball to start the third quarter, Silver Lake allowed Rossville to put up the first points of the second half. The score came on a Nick Reesor 29-yard sprint up the middle, breaking tackles along the way, to open the Dawgs lead to 14 after a successful two-point conversion.
Silver Lake would respond. First, on a Cody Renfro five-yard run, which was set up by Zach Boyd’s 46 yard sprint in Bulldogs territory. That score pulled the Eagles within eight, then the game was tied after Kruger’s two-yard QB keeper. Things were all tied up at 21 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Eagles had the ball with 3:58 remaining and most of the field to cross in order to score. Thatcher Horak, however, intercepted Kruger’s pass deep in Silver Lake territory. With the ball and time to use, Rossville slowly inched closer to the end zone, before capping the drive off with Jack Steckel’s five-yard touchdown run. The extra point failed, but Rossville led 27-21 with a little more than two minutes remaining.
Silver Lake drove deep into Rossville territory, but turned the ball over on downs at the 25 yard line, preserving the first Rossville win since 2004 and the first of the Derick Hammes era.
Silver Lake turned the ball over four times (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles), while Rossville threw three interceptions. The 6-0 Bulldogs host Mission Valley next week while the 5-1 Eagles travel to Pleasant Ridge.