By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The Rootstown Rovers had a little bit of everything go bad for them to open Friday night’s non-league matchup with Shenandoah.
A scoop-and-score fumble, a three-and-out, then a blocked punt.
Even still, the Rovers managed to lead 14-6 after the first quarter and 20-18 at halftime.
The score remained close into the second half, with a interception return for a 21-yard touchdown by defensive lineman Tony Karp became the game’s deciding score for the Rovers.
Karp’s pick was one of five turnovers forced by the Rovers’ defense.
Brian Youngblood had a fumble recovery and an interception, while Nick Malek also had two interceptions to join Karp’s turnover-scoring swipe.
The Rovers’ ground game once again was under the spotlight.
Senior running back Dawson Morgan turned 36 attempts into 260 yards, and he scored tow touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Ryan Piscitani had 56 yards with his seven carries, including a 29-yard naked bootleg on fourth down.
“We were able to overcome a rough start tonight,” Rootstown head coach Chris Knopick said. “I am very proud of our kids. They fought through some tough situations, tough injuries and were able to come out on top.”
Shenandoah did the majority of its offensive damage through the air, with Braxton Barnett completing 27-of-44 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns.
Barnett’s top target was Hunter Yates, who had 97 yards on eight receptions.