ROSEPINE – Rosepine scored early and often and needed every point to pick up its first district win of the year.
The Eagles racked up 406 total yards of offense in their 52-50 win over Vinton Thursday night at McKee-McCain Stadium.
"We could tell early that is was going to be a high-scoring affair, obviously," Rosepine head coach Brad Ducote said. "We were just hoping our defense could get us a stop here and there. In the second half, they did, and Vinton got stops as well."
Rosepine needed every touchdown because its defense struggled to tackle in the open field, leading to 569 total yards by the Lions.
Vinton quarterback Drew Heinen was an issue for the Eagles, throwing for 367 yards and rushing for 57 yards.
"We worked on tackling this week, but we had some rain and didn't get the work we needed to," Ducote said. "We are going to get it this week. We're going work on it. We're not tackling well. We are in position but not making the play.
"Not only is (Heinen) an accurate thrower, he's an accurate thrower in the pocket and on the run. He can run, too. He can slip tackles. We knew what we were in for, and I went up to the kid, myself, and told him that he was a heck of a football player."
The Eagles (3-4, 1-1) and Lions (3-3, 1-1) went back-and-forth throughout the first half with defensive stops hard to come by.
Rosepine took an 8-6 lead on a 40-yard touchdown run by Grant Ducote in the first quarter.
After a passing touchdown by Heinen, Rosepine's Isiah Stinson took the ensuing kick to the house for a 69-yard kickoff return score.
Heinen threw his second touchdown of the day to give Vinton the 22-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
On the first play of the second period, Rosepine quarterback Ethan Frey took it in himself on a 1-yard run, and the Eagles tied it 22 after the two-point conversion.
In the final seven minutes of the second quarter, Frey threw two touchdowns – one to Cole Donahue and one to Josh Cummings – to give his team a 36-28 lead.
However, Vinton tied it up with a 36-yard passing score from Heinen to make 36-36 at the break.
Grant Ducote ran his second touchdown of the day on a 1-yard run to start the second half, but once again, Vinton had an answer with 32-yard run by Jordan Janice.
Frey threw his third touchdown on the day – a 46-yard strike to an unguarded Chance Sissom – to give Rosepine a 10-point lead with 27 seconds left in the third quarter following the two-point conversion.
"We wanted to attack them with hitches early then take a few shots," Brad Ducote said. "We wanted to catch them playing up a little bit, and we did. We made some deep throws down the field to loosen them up."
The two-point tries proved to be the difference in the game. Rosepine went 5-for-7 on two-point attempts, while Vinton went 4-for-7.
With 4:13 to play, Heinen ran in his second touchdown of the day, but the Eagles recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock to seal the win.
"We were lucky to get a 10-point lead and were lucky to run the clock out at the end," Brad Ducote said. "We didn't give them a chance to go ahead."
Frey went 15-for-26 through the air for 233 yards and three touchdowns.
"He made the right reads and made accurate throws all night long," Brad Ducote said. "He made one bad read right before halftime. Besides that, I thought he played out of this world."
Grant Ducote had another big game for the Eagles, collecting 172 yards on 23 carries.
"I thought we threw the ball extremely well, but we ran it well, too," Brad Ducote said. "He got all the yards with big runs where he busted some huge plays where they had him wrapped up. He kept his feet moving."