by Joseph W. Gex II, Contributing Writer
The Saint Stanislaus Rock-A-Chaws got back on the winning track last Friday evening keeping the Pass Christian Pirates at bay for a 24-20 victory ‘between the walls.’ It was also the first loss for the Pirates in the 2023 season. The Rocks hold command of the series 25-21-2.
The Rocks (3-1) and the Pirates (3-1) were able to move the ball on each other for the first two possessions each; however, each defense stiffened when their backs were against the wall.
On their third possession of the contest, the Pirates were able to find the end zone in just one play. Ladd Scriber connected with Michael McKay on a 73-yard pitch-and-catch with no time on the clock in the first quarter. Karston Mooney converted on the PAT to make the score 7-0.
Each squad traded one possession each before the Rocks were able to strike paydirt. On the third play of the drive, Ian Gonzalez Rioz found Ethan Galloway for a 4-yard scoring toss with 7:31 left in the first half. Evan Noel converted on the PAT to knot the score at 7-7.
The Pirates mounted a 12-play drive that ended with a missed Mooney 43-yard field goal attempt with 3:53 left in the first half.
The Rocks took over on their own 20-yard line and put together a 13-play drive. The Rocks got as close as the Pirate 9-yard line before Noel split the uprights on a 27-yard field goal to make the halftime score 10-7.
In the second half of action, neither team was able to find paydirt during the third quarter of play; however, the fourth quarter would display fireworks on the field.
The Pirates struck first in the fourth quarter with Scriber finding Terry Patton on a 26-yard touchdown aerial with 10:40 remaining in the contest. Mooney’s PAT was good making the score 14-10.
The Rocks answered on the ensuing drive as Rioz took over with five consecutive rushes for 3, 8, 12, 5, and 15 yards. He connected with Ben Brewer for a 12-yard gain and then hit Isaiah Haynes for a 7-yard touchdown strike with 7:14 left to play. Noel’s PAT gave the Rocks a 17-14 lead.
On the Pirates next drive, Scriber found McKay for a 36-yard pickup before Jacquez Alexander scored from 18 yards out with 4:54 left to play. Mooney’s PAT missed the mark leaving the score 20-17.
The Rocks delivered on the next drive as Rioz again called his own number throughout the five-play drive delivering gains of 13, 10, 5, and a 25-yard touchdown run with 1:58 left in the game. Noel’s PAT made the score 24-20.
The Pirates got a 24-yard pickup from a Scriber to Cooper Schatzle pitch-and-catch but three sacks by the Rock defense for a loss of 25 yards and two incomplete passes kept Pass Christian out of the endzone.
The Rocks picked up the victory after not beating the Pirates since 2018.
Pass Christian head coach Jeff Stockstill commented, “I thought our defense played rather well throughout the game limiting Saint Stanislaus. Hats off to SSC. At no point did either team quit, SSC was just one play better than we were tonight. Now, we will find out a lot about ourselves this week. We need to forget this one and get ready for the next game which is the most important one now.”
The Pirates were led by Alexander who had 15 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown. Scriber threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns on 11-for-23 passing. Patton led the Pirate receivers with 6 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown followed by McKay with three catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.
SSC head coach Tim Lala stated, “The turnovers for us are concerning. We must take better care of the football. In crucial moments, those turnovers become huge such as the interception in the second half. But the game was a display of good football all around. We made plays when we needed to. We have a break this coming week with a bye which comes at a good time for us. Playing up in class these last few weeks has been good for us, but we can recuperate a little this week and get prepared for Stone followed by the beginning of our district schedule.”
The Rocks were led by Ian Gonzalez Rioz who accumulated 439 yards of total offense in the game. He rushed 30 times for 241 yards and a touchdown and threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns on 15-for-22 passing. Ethan Galloway led the receivers with four catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Chesley Rhodes tallied 10 total tackles with three pass break-ups followed by Jacob Bradford with 11 stops. Heith Shinn recorded 10 total stops and Charlie Brown added seven tackles with three sacks.
Pass Christian hosts Northeast Jones for Homecoming on Friday with kickoff set for 7 p.m. The Rocks are off this week and will play Stone on September 29 ‘between the walls’ for Homecoming with kickoff at 7 p.m.
(SSC Photo by Carlos Hurtado & Pass Christian Photo by Aimee Cronan)