After leading for most of the game, and playing lights out on defense throughout, the Rochester football team found themselves in a sudden hole after Seton Catholic drove down the field to score, converted on a two-point conversion, and took a two-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
For the first time all night, the Warriors were behind. That was when Rochester coach AJ Easley saw something light up in quarterback Tate Quarnstrom’s eyes.
The junior was not going to let the Warriors lose.
“When they scored and went up, the look in his eye, I could see it,” Easley said. “His eyes said give me the ball and I’ll win it. We saw him break out as a player and saw a different leadership quality that came out.”
Quarnstrom orchestrated the game-winning drive, rushing on all but three plays on an 80-yard drive that ended with a Chris Rodriguez field goal to win it from 32 yards out.
From the left hash, the left-footed kicker tucked the line drive kick into the right corner, and it bounced off the crossbar and through the uprights to give the Warriors the dramatic, 9-8, victory on the road in Vancouver.
Quarnstrom rushed for 119 yards and threw for 55 more, including a 22-yard strike to Ashton Rodriguez to open scoring in the first quarter. Connor Morris added 49 yards on the ground at fullback. Braden Hartley and Chris Rodriguez each added interceptions on defense, in a stellar day for that experienced group.
“Our defense played out of their freaking mind,” Easley said. “They had their backs on the 10 a lot and found a way to get out of it. They played really well.”
The Warriors (1-0) will keep the show going on the road against Kingston next week.