RIDGEFIELD -- Junior quarterback Jonah Roberts expected to enjoy much of the same when his Ridgefield Spudders hosted the Rochester Warriors on their new turf home field. Last year, Ridgefield got the best of Rochester in the season opener but on Friday night, the different atmosphere led to a much different result.
Rochester defeated Ridgefield 34-0, stifling the Spudders into their first shutout since November 2011.
"We came out on the field, ready to punch them in the mouth as coach says," Roberts said, "but I think they were more fired up then we were."
Behind standout moments from players like senior running back Tyler Yarber (25 carries, 229 yards and a touchdown), the Warriors earned a memorable victory for first-year head coach Eric Snelson.
The former Black Hills defensive coordinator, Snelson still orchestrates the hard-hitting side of the ball and on Friday night, his Rochester defense recovered a fumble, forced a safety and hit Roberts so many times that he revealed a slight hitch in his walk while exiting the darkened field.
"The kids, they're very disciplined, very assignment oriented," Snelson said of his defense that only allowed one Ridgefield rusher to finish in positive yardage. "They worked together and they did a great job tonight."
Initially, Rochester displayed its dominance by running the ball and the ground attack picked up steam after the offense committed a false start penalty in the red zone. Two plays after the mistake, Rochester senior quarterback Tyler Gedney ran a bootleg play and found a clearing on the left side for the 3-yard touchdown run at the 3:13 mark of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Gedney, who completed 7 of 12 passes for 120 yards, made it a two-touchdown game by connecting with junior Bobby Brien who was open in the end zone for the 9-yard pass. While Rochester rolled, the Spudders compiled just 45 total yards through the first half in front of a subdued home crowd.
The Friday night festivities seemed muted as the community gathered for the first time since the death of Ridgefield High senior Tanner Trosko.
A banner that read "We Love Tanner" draped the chain-linked fence outside of the tennis courts. Before the game, players bowed their heads and fans in the stadium fell silent in a moment of remembrance for Trosko.
Roberts, who said several football players knew Trosko as a friend, described experiencing "slow" moments in classes this week as the school grappled with the tragedy.
"He had a lot of friends," Roberts said. 'He was a great guy. I enjoyed every minute I spoke to him."
ROCHESTER 34, RIDGEFIELD 0
Rochester 7 12 8 7--34
Ridgefield 0 0 0 0-- 0
Ro -- Tyler Gedney 3 run (Luke Eastman kick)
Ro -- Bobby Brien 9 pass from Gedney (kick failed)
Ro -- Luke Eastman 5 run (pass failed)
Ro -- Eastman 51 pass from Gedney (kick failed)
Ro -- Tyler Yarber 1 run (Eastman kick)
RUSHING -- Rochester, Tyler Yarber 25-229, Luke Eastman 10-47, Tyler Gedney 3-18. Ridgefield, Nathan Eggleston 8-27.
PASSING -- Rochester, Tyler Gedney 7-12-120, Tyler Yarber 0-2. Ridgefield, Jonah Roberts 3-15-37, Nick Martin 0-3-1-0.
RECEIVING -- Rochester, Luke Eastman 4-87, Bobby Brien 2-21. Ridgefield, Noah Couch 1-13, Noah Johnson 1-21, Tyler Adams 1-3.