FOOTBALL: Quick strikes aid Adams’ mastery of Rochester

| September 2, 2022 | Comments (0)




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ROCHESTER HILLS – Whether it be skill, athleticism, luck or a little bit of Parker Picot, Rochester Adams continued its mastery of Rochester Thursday night.

The Highlanders scored three touchdowns in the final 4:45 of the first quarter, led 27-0 at the half, and held off host Rochester’s second-half surge in a 34-18 OAA crossover victory.

It marked Adams’ 25th straight win over the Falcons, as the Highlanders have not lost to their rivals since 1996.

As for Picot — a Mr. Football candidate who has been haunting every opposition for four seasons — he seemingly was another thorn in the Falcons’ side again Thursday in front of an overflow crowd. Picot finished 7-for-17 passing for 118 yards, carried the ball 16 times for 201 yards and scored on runs of 4 and 53 yards – and for good measure also returned an interception for another score for the unbeaten Highlanders (2-0).

“We ask him to do a lot and he always comes through for us,” admitted 20th-year Adams coach Tony Patritto. “He made some great plays with that interception he returned and some other runs. Remember last year, though, Rochester came out all fired up and outplayed us early on. We wanted to make sure we came out and scored first this time and we were able to get the (21-0) lead (after) the first quarter.”

The Highlanders’ D’Juan Greer recovered a fumble on the Rochester 37 and seven plays later Nick Paterra plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out with 4:45 to go in the opening quarter to give Adams a 7-0 lead and the lead for good.

Picot ended the Highlanders’ third drive with a 4-yard touchdown run around right with 2:14 still to play in the first frame.

Late in the first quarter, Adams’ two-way Blue Chip prospect Brady Prieskorn tipped an Alex Bueno pass, Picot snared the ball out of the air and raced 75 yards for a third score as time expired at the end of the first frame.

Colin Timko, who nailed all three extra points in the first quarter and consistently drilled all seven kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks, was able to convert field goals of 23 and 34 yards in the second quarter, the latter just seconds before the half to cap the 27-point lead.

Despite leading the whole way, Patritto was somewhat displeased with his team’s execution in the second half and its fair share of glaring mistakes that included seven penalties for 70 yards.

“We made our fair share of mistakes and we left a lot of points off the scoreboard,” said Patritto. “We had some drives stalled where we usually convert and that’s disappointing. Being up in the (OAA) Red and with the schedule we play this year, we can’t do that. There’s no weak teams on our schedule and we must do a better job if we expect to compete in the Red. We have Clarkston coming up and we need to clean a lot up or were going to struggle.”

Rochester actually outscored Adams 18-7 in the second half, and was finally able to get its offense untracked. Bueno finished 14-for-33 passing for 216 yards, recorded two touchdowns in the air and another on the ground. Bueno also led Rochester’s ground attack with 53 yards on 20 carries.

But the Falcons (0-2) continually shot themselves in the collective foot, dropping several passes, dropping three would-be interceptions, missing an extra point and a pair of two-point conversions, and having a multitude of key mistakes that included a pair of turnovers and led to 14 points for the Highlanders. Rochester’s offensive line also allowed Adams to sack Bueno five times and hit him for a loss on eight carries.

“They out-physicalled us on the line, especially in the first half, and football games are often won in the trenches,” said Rochester coach Vernon. “You can’t do all of that against a team like Adams and expect to win. We preach in practice about doing the little things every day and we didn’t do that again. We made a lot of little mistakes which led to a lot of major mistakes. We will need to clean a lot up and be ready for our next game. There were some positives, though, that we never gave up and battled back in the second half. But we were down by a lot in the second quarter.”

Rochester scored on its first series of the third quarter when Bueno connected with fellow senior Grant Calcagno for a 28-yard TD strike with 9:35 still to play in the third stanza.

Like he has done so many times in the past, Picot had the answer after directing a swift three-play drive where Picot found a seem in the Falcons’ defense and raced 53 yards for the score and a commanding 34-6 lead with 8:00 to go in the third stanza.

Bueno hit Calcagno a second time with a 14-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-15 with 39 ticks left in the third, while Bueno scored on a 1-yard run with 1:34 remaining in the game.

Calcagno had six catches for 172 yards for Rochester, which could not solve the Adams Rubix Cube once again and that included stopping the big plays from Picot.

“Adams always has a good quarterback that can step up and make plays. That’s been going on for a long time,” added Vernon. “But he is a special player and does a lot for them.”

Prieskorn, who has multiple D-I college offers, finished three catches for 71 yards and was a mismatch for Rochester’s offensive line while playing on the defensive front. Paterra added five carries for 60 yards on the ground for Adams, which held a 398-284 edge on total yards-offense.

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