Two goal-line stands in the first half helped buoy the St. Stanislaus Rock-A-Chaws Friday night to a 35-19 victory over the visiting Long Beach Bearcats.
"It's always a tough game when we play Long Beach," SSC Head Coach Nate Encrapera said. "They scheme for us very well, but we weathered the storm."
The Rocks defense got things going early when Grant Sides intercepted a pass and returned it to midfield.
A few plays later, Max Favre connected with Lee Negrotto on a seam route that Negrotto took 43 yards for a score.
The point-after made it 7-0 with 5:47 to play in the first quarter.
Long Beach answered with six-yard touchdown run by quarterback Junior Kozowski.
The Bearcats then recovered a Rock fumble at the ten and looked to take the lead.
The drive, however, was thwarted by a sack from Devin Gaspard. The Bearcats missed the ensuing field goal, giving SSC the ball and the momentum.
The Rocks retook the lead midway through the second when Favre connected with Dallas Payne a on 42-yard scoring pass. The point-after made the score 14-7.
Late in the half, Long Beach drove inside the Rock-A-Chaw ten.
With less than a minute to play in the half, the Bearcats went for it on fourth and-one at the five.
Jaxon Favre sniffed out the play and caused a fumble that Thomas Williams scooped up and returned 70 yards to the 25.
After a short pass to Bradley Darby, Favre looked long for Payne, who made a great catch in the back of the end zone as time ran out in the half. The point-after gave the Rocks a 21-7 lead at the half.
The Rock-A-Chaws kept the momentum rolling to start the third when Davien LeGarde returned the third quarter kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.
"Those plays before the half and the return were huge for us," Encrapera said. "It changed the whole complexion of the game."
The Bearcats answered with a seven-play drive that spanned 62 yards for a score. D'Lijah Robinson capped the drive with a 31-yard run.
Late in the third, Payne scored his third touchdown of the game on an eight- yard run.
Payne led the Rocks with nine catches for 147 yards. He added 21 yards rushing.
Defense dominated much of the fourth quarter, which saw Long Beach score a touchdown in the final minute. The point-after failed and the game ended with a score of 35-19.
"We have a big game next week against St. Martin," Encrapera. "We missed a few tackles tonight and made a few mistakes, so we have some things to work on."