By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The Rootstown Rovers won their sixth straight game to begin the 2023 season, with a 37-6 rout of St. Thomas Aquinas that opened Portage Trail Conference play for both teams.
The Rovers used a flurry of points in the first half to take full control of the game before a scoreless second half that included a running clock.
Chris Cooper put the Rovers on the goad early on a 6-yard pass from Ryan Pisctiani.
Blake Mulally booted the extra point to give Rootstown (6-0, 1-0 PTC) a 7-0 lead just a little over a minute into the game (10:49).
By 9:17 on the first-quarter clock, Rootstown was already expanding its lead to 14-0 on a 6-yard run by Dawson Morgan, which was followed by the second of Mulally’s perfect 5-for-5 night on extra points.
A safety by Rootstown on the Knights’ ensuing possession pushed the Rovers’ lead to 16-0.
Three second-quarter touchdowns for the Rovers included a 60-yard pass from Piscitani to Morgan, a 16-yard run by Morgan and Cohen Schlaubach returning a blocked punt 25 yards for the score.
For the game, Mrogan finished with 135 yards on 15 carries, while Dominic Duvall (6 rushes, 50 yards) and Damien Reuting (5-51) also made contributions in the running game.
As a team, the Rovers rushed for 249 yards on 33 carries (7.6 yards per carry).
The Knights dropped to 0-6 overall.
Rootstown’s remaining schedule features a home matchup with Warren JFK in Week 7, at Southeast in Week 9 and home against Mogadore in Week 10. The Rovers do not have a game for Week 8.