STURGIS, SD – It was Gunner Rohoff, left, right and up the middle as the Sturgis Scoopers rolled up 451 yards of total offense and shut out the Douglas Patriots, 27-0, on Senior Night at Woodle Field on Friday.
Rohloff had his best game of the 2022 season in front of a raucous home crowd, carrying the ball 18 times for 186 yards and one touchdown, including runs of 50, 26 and 24-yards.
“He’s one of the hardest working kids you’ll see,” said Scooper head coach Chris Koletzky. “Coming out tonight and getting our running game established a bit, it’s going to pay dividends.”
The Scoopers put together an eight play, 67-yard drive on their first series to get on the scoreboard. Quarterback Owen Cass lofted the ball into the front corner of the end zone and junior wideout Tyan Buus hauled in a one-handed, 12-yard touchdown catch to take a 7-0 lead with 8:44 left in the first quarter.
After the Scooper defense forced a Patriot turnover on downs on the next series, Sturgis used a ground and pound running attack to move the ball down the field into the red zone but had to settle for a Sully Jost 20-yard field goal to extend their lead to 10-0 with 1:34 left in the first.
“I’m proud of our defense tonight,” Koletzky said. “Our goal coming into this game tonight was pitching a shutout and getting three turnovers. Our boys did that after getting put into a couple of tough situations tonight.”
Jost split the uprights for another field goal with 8:17 left in the second quarter, this time from 26-yards, to give Sturgis a 13-0 lead. The Scooper defense came up big again on the next Douglas possession, forcing a punt. The Sturgis running game again moved the ball 60-yards downfield in six plays, culminating in a one-yard touchdown run by senior running back Gunner Rohloff with 2:35 left in the quarter. The Scoopers took a 20-0 lead into the locker room at the half.
Neither team found the end zone in the third quarter. Cass threw a dart to Buus on a slant route with 10:19 left in the game and Buus outran the defense for a 31-yard touchdown to give the Scoopers a 27-0 lead and the win at Woodle Field.
“Tyan is a special player,” Koletzky said. “Especially being a junior and the plays he makes on the ball, his ball skills out there. A guy that needs a big shout-out is our nose tackle, Aaron Morovits, who just wrecked shop inside tonight. The play that we were super concerned with, because Douglas ran it really well, was that inside trap. (Our defense) really strung it out and that just comes from A-gap pressure on the center, if you can push that offensive guard back. (Morovits) did a great job, I’m really proud of how he played tonight.”
Sturgis ran the ball 35 times for 235 yards and were led by Rohloff, who had 18 carries for 186 yards and one touchdown. Cass was 13-of-27 passing for 216 yards and two touchdowns, both to Buus. Buus caught five balls for 128 yards. The Scoopers had two turnovers, both interceptions and seven penalties for 85 yards.
Douglas (0-8) finished the night with 123 total yards, 103 on the ground and 20 through the air. Logan Huber had 17 carries for 78 yards and Marcus Woods had two catches for 17 yards. The Patriots had three turnovers, two fumbles and an interception, and 10 penalties for 82 yards.
The Scoopers improved to 4-4 on the year and moved into the #6 spot in seed point rankings in 11AA football. The top eight teams make the postseason. Sturgis travels to Spearfish next Thursday night to take on the Spartans in their regular season finale.
“It’s different than every other week, no doubt about it,” said Koletzky. “Spearfish is obviously a program that’s turned it around with coach (Dalton) Wademan. We have to play our A-game and it’s going to be a game that’s going to probably come down to the last play. We know that because it does every year. It’s going to be a heck of a game and our boys need to be ultra-focused this week, they know what the objective is. We just have to focus each day at getting better.”