by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Rootstown -- Welcome back.
After a two-year hiatus, the Streetsboro football team returned to Portage Trail Conference County Division play in stellar fashion with a lopsided 55-7 victory over Rootstown Sept. 20 at Rootstown High School's Robert C. Dunn Field.
The Rockets, who spent the last two years in the bigger-school Metro Division, completely dominated the struggling Rovers.
"We came in and did what we had to do," Streetsboro head coach John Arlesic said.
The Rockets (3-1, 1-0) went with an unorthodox approach to take control in the first quarter.
Streetsboro, known for showcasing its speedy backfield, came out firing with its sophomore quarterback duo of Avery VanReeth and Jerry Judd.
Arlesic may want to consider such an approach more often in the future.
The Rockets passed on their first seven plays and got a number of big plays through the air.
After tailback Johnathan Williams completed Streetsboro's first scoring drive with a 3-yard run -- the only running play of the possession -- the Rockets' two signal callers went to work.
Streetsboro's defense stopped the Rovers (0-4, 0-1) inside the 5-yard line and Judd took advantage with a 97-yard touchdown pass to Devin Rencher. Spencer Deevers added the second of his seven point after tries.
On the Rockets' next possession, VanReeth showed off his arm with a 41-yard pass to Kyle Woods to make it 20-0. The point after try was no good.
"We haven't thrown the ball a lot, so we wanted to execute the passing game," Arlesic said. "I thought both quarterbacks threw the ball well."
While Rootstown had no answer for Streetsboro's talented offense, the Rovers showed they could move the ball in the first half.
They put together a drive that went from Rootstown's 26 to the Rockets' 3. But Streetsboro took away all the Rovers' momentum with a stop on fourth down.
Rootstown also got to the Rockets' 12 on their next possession. But that promising drive came to a screeching halt when Dakari Carter intercepted a pass at the goal line and returned it 100 yards. That pick give Streetsboro a commanding 27-0 lead with 8 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the first half.
"I'm proud of my kids," Rovers head coach Mark Geis said. "We have some young kids with good attitudes. It's encouraging that we can move the ball, but we have to work on finishing drives."
Rootstown, which dominated the time of possession in the first 24 minutes, finally got on the board with 4:34 left in the half.
The Rovers put together an 11-play, 64-yard drive to cut the Rockets' lead to 27-7. Rootstown quarterback Sam Todd concluded the possession with a 5-yard TD run. Will Postlethwaite added the extra point.
It was all Streetsboro the rest of the way.
Williams added a 28-yard TD run and Prince Franklin scored on a 59-yard scoring run on his only carry of the game. At that point, the Rockets had the game in hand with a 41-7 lead with less than two minutes in the first half.
"Our goal this week was to do our job," Arlesic said. "We did about 85 percent of it. Was it perfect, no. Rootstown has a lot of heart. No. 12 [Todd] is a heck of a football player and No. 10 [running back Chase Fife] is as tough as nails."
Quarterback Bobby Dixon, who took all the snaps for Streetsboro in the second half, added a 13-yard TD run and running back Chris Board concluded the scoring with a 4-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter.
The Rockets had nearly 500 yards of total offense, including 295 on the ground. The Rovers finished with more than 250 total yards.
Streetsboro is scheduled to visit County Division rival Southeast Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.