Redbirds slip to 0-2

Bo Ryan GateHouse News Service
Ryan Patterson returns a kickoff while Jimmie Salmon prepares to block against the Richwood Knights on Aug. 24.

In a high school football game pitting ground and pound against a track team in football spikes, speed won.

Rock Island’s speedsters broke scoring runs of 80, 66, 61 and 41 yards plus two more of lesser length to frustrate Metamora 49-35 Friday night at Rock Island Stadium.

“They were the better football team from Week 1 to Week 2,” Metamora coach Pat Ryan said. “They were a little more in sync with what (Coach Stortz) wanted to do.

“I can’t fault our effort. I thought we played well. We moved the ball well and having the ball in their territory with six minutes to go ... then little things stopped us.”

After taking a 35-27 lead after three quarters, the Rocks tied it at 35 with 10:46 left to play.

Metamora (0-2) followed the tying score with what looked to be one of its ball control drives.

The Redbirds took the ball at their own 36. Seven plays later, Metamora was looking at second--and-4 on the Rock Island 14. Quarterback Brendan Nachtrieb, who had four touchdowns and carried the ball for 157 yards up to that point, fumbled. Rock Island took over with 6:05 left in the game.

Four plays later, RI senior Amos Johnson got past the Redbirds initial defense, made a cut outside and went 62 yards for the go-ahead score with 4:21 left.

Metamora did get the ball back, but gained no yards in two plays, followed by a five-yard run, and a illegal man down field call on fourth down. The Redbirds were shut down when Jimmie Salmon failed to pick up a first down on fourth-and-14 from the RI 41.

Rock Island (1-1) ended it when Johnson went 41 yards for another score on its next play.

“This was a game with two evenly matched teams,” said Rock Island coach Bryan Stortz, a 1996 graduate of Dunlap High School, “It was a great game for the fans and the players.

“In a game like this, it usually comes down to somebody making a big play. We were fortunate to be that team tonight.”

Each team scored three touchdowns in the final 8:29 of the first quarter. Metamora’s Lucas LaHood helped give Metamora a 21-20 lead at the end of one with a seven-yard run as time expired.

The two schools traded TDs in a more calm second quarter that saw Metamora take a 28-27 lead to the locker room.

Nachtrieb scored the  only touchdown of the third quarter on a seven-yard run with 3:19 remaining in the frame, giving the Redbirds a 35-27 lead. That lead held until Johnson’s two-yard run tied game prefacing the start of three RI score in the 10:46.

Rock Island ran up 521 yards of total offense. Johnson ran for 232 yards in 11 carries.

Metamora had 443 yards total with Nachtrieb ending with 159 yards and Gage Patton 113 yards, but still fell to 0-2 for the first time in 25 years.