It’s hard to point to a game where the Orrick Bearcats peaked this season but one thing is for sure, the Bearcats are on a roll heading into the playoffs Wednesday night.
Head Coach Pat Richard told his players after the 42-0 win over St. Mary’s Friday night that they may have played their best game of the season.
There’s no doubt that Orrick running back Kalija Rogers had his best game of the season gaining 189 yards rushing and scoring five touchdowns. He led a rushing attack that gained 317 yards against the Trojans. Rogers also got involved in the passing game hauling in two passes for 82-yards. Running back Aaron Blyth, who leads the team with 1,300 rushing on the year didn’t find the end zone on the ground but did hook up with quarterback Joe Kaufman on a 4-yard touchdown reception. Blyth was also 3 out of 5 on two-point conversions.
Rogers also had a solid game on defense where the Bearcats continued to dominate.
“We practiced all week on our hitting because we weren’t tackling very well and we wanted to make this week a great hitting week and I think we did it,” Rogers said. “We decided to make this our best week of playing, and I think we did it.”
Defensive end Leslee Eubank and the rest of the line kept the Trojan defense off the field most of the night. The Trojan offense could manage only two first downs in the first half with one coming on a penalty. Eubank had two more sacks in the game to bring his season total to 12, which is good for second in the state. Eubank said it was nice to get another shutout after giving up a touchdown late in the game against Brayer last week.
“It’s just one of those things you have to shake off,” Eubank said about giving up the touchdown last week. “We don’t really go for points because it’s disrespectful to other kids we know. The big thing is the shutouts.”
Richard said after the game that he believed last week’s game was a wake up call for his team. He said his team is playing at its highest level this year but they still have to stay focused on the task at hand.
“You want to be playing at your best at the end of the year,” Richard said. “I think we played woke up tonight. I thought we played with a lot more heart. We’re a grinder team and we’re a hard-nosed physical team and when we play physical we’re tough to beat. Last week we didn’t do that and this week we did.”
Richard said he believes his team’s experience in the playoffs will be key this week with a short week.
“Our kids have experience with the short week and we’re playing a team in Maysville that doesn’t and I think that’s an advantage,” Richard said. “We’ve got to win Wednesday. Otherwise it’s a great year, but we’re done.”
Kaufman threw his first interception of the year on a long pass where his arm was hit as he threw. Kaufman also led the team in tackles with 12. Matt O’Dell also had five tackles and a sack.
Photo: Orrick linebacker Joe Kaufman and defensive end Nick Lafferty sandwich St. Mary’s running back Paul Baker on a run play in the third quarter. The Bearcat defense recorded its seventh shutout of the season finishing 10-0. (Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)