It wasn’t pretty, but the James Buchanan Rockets will take a win any way they can.
Despite a very sloppy offensive game the Rockets rallied for a 19-14 win over the York Vo-Tech Spartans Friday night in an opening season non-league football game at Rocket Stadium.
Sebastian Wise’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Grant Ellis with 1:56 left in the game proved to be the winning points and CJ Gearhart sealed the victory with his interception with 60 seconds left.
“I told their coach they deserved to win the game,” JB coach David Miller said. “They were the better team for about 3 1/2 quarters, but we showed some mettle there at the end. For the better part of three quarters we were beating ourselves, but we got the job done in the end. We’ll take it, it’s a win.”
Statistically the Rockets shouldn’t have been in this game.
The Spartans almost doubled up JB in all offensive categories. York Vo-Tech had lopsided advantages in total plays (60-31), yards (180-87), first downs (11-6) and Wise was sacked 9 times. Just in the first half, which the Rockets managed to led 12-6, JB ran only 14 plays, 8 which were rushing for -10 yards.
“We didn’t do a good job blocking up front,” Miller said. “We’ll be making some blocking changes for next week.”
Still with all those negatives the Rockets spun things around and rallied after the Spartans took a 14-12 lead with 10:33 left in the game on Ryan Gibson’s 2-yard QB keeper.
Caden Stoner, who returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, got the winning drive started, this time returning punt 46 yards to the Spartan 14 with 2:50 left in the game.
Wise was incomplete on first down and looked to have a touchdown to Ellis on second down, but the ball just went off his finger tips. On third down, Wise was dropped in the backfield for a 3-yard loss setting up 4th-and-13 from the Spartan 17. On the all-or-nothing fourth down, Wise went back to the same second down pass play to Ellis and this time Ellis hauled in the slant for the go-ahead touchdown.
“We knew they couldn’t stay with Grant,” Miller said. “He had a couple drops there earlier, but Grant is a special kind of player and we believe in him.”
NOTES: The Spartans JoJo Nieves was a workhorse, carrying the ball 36 times for 145 yards … JB got its second TD of the game in the first quarter when Wise and Ellis connected on a 55-yard out-and-up … Hunter Smith and Caleb Wise each had a sack for the Rockets while Chase Henry and Wise each caused fumbles.
James Buchanan 19, York Vo-Tech 14
York Vo-Tech 6 0 2 6 – 14
James Buchanan 12 0 0 7 – 19
JB – Caden Stoner 62 punt return (kick failed), 10:00
JB – Grant Ellis 55 pass from Sebastian Wise, 6:55
YVT – JoJo Nieves 2 run (kick failed), 1:13
YVT – S.Wise tackled in end zone for safety, 6:41
YVT – Ryan Gibson 2 run (pass failed), 10:33
JB – Ellis 17 pass from S.Wise (Griffin Peterson kick), 1:56
First downs – YVT 11; JB 6
Rushes-yds – YVT 53-168; JB 25-(-6)
Passing-yds – YVT 2-7-122; JB 4-16-1-93
Totals yds – YVT 180; JB 87
RUSHING – YVT – Nieves 36-145, Jamar Johnson 3-12, Gibson 12-6, Logan Heilman 2-5; JB – Logan Miller 9-18, Hunter Smith 3-(-3), S.Wise 13-(-21).
PASSING – YVT – Gibson 2-7-1-22; JB – S.Wise 4-16-1-93.
RECEIVING – YVT – Heilman 1-13, Johan Suero 1-9; JB – Ellis 2-72, Daulton Bray 2-21.
INTERCEPTIONS – YVT – Zachary Driver; JB – CJ Gearhart.