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The E.J. Tucker show and company lit up the Northview scoreboard Friday night as Rogers ambushed the Wildcats with a scoring onslaught in the second half.
Tucker, a 6-3 senior quarterback, accounted for 311 yards and five touchdowns in the Rams' 57-22 torching of the Wildcats. Junior DerJuan Gambrell scored two TDs while adding 62 rushing and 52 receiving yards. Senior Gary Johnson rushed for 95 yards and one score.
Tucker was 11 of 15 for 165 yards through the air and rushed for 146 yards on 14 carries (10.4). Tucker scored on runs of 9, 34, 5 and 29 yards and had a 43-yard passing TD.
Rogers remained unbeaten (3-0) after amassing 513 yards of offense, including 305 in the second half. Yet the Rams led by just 13 points, 22-9, at the end of the first half.
"We were not playing to our potential. Coach chewed us out pretty good," Tucker said.
Over the first five minutes of the second half Rogers scored 22 points to instantly turn it into a rout.
Rogers took its first drive of the third quarter and rushed for carries of 11, 10, 21, 4 and finally 29 for a score. Tucker busted through a few tackles and scampered for a 30-9 lead.
Following a three-and-out, Damond Powell returned a kick 47 yards. Four plays later, Johnson scored on a one-yard plunge to make it 36-9.
"That felt excellent. We're waking people up," Brown said. "The Rams are for real."
Two plays later, Nick Jennings picked off Northview QB Ryan Kremchek. On the next snap, Tucker found Gambrell open and he went 43 yards to suddenly make it 44-9.
"I just want to help the team," Gambrell said. "We have a flow going. We trust each other. We're a family."
After a D.J. Tucker interception, Gambrell added a 43-yard TD scamper.
"We have a lot of big-play potential," Tucker said." Any guy on this team can make a big play at any time."
Rogers outscored the Wildcats 29-0 in the third to seize a 51-9 lead.
"We had no match for their speed," Northview coach Eric Keller said. "That's the most athletic Rogers team I've ever seen and they've had a lot of athletic teams. We played hard and physical; we just could not match their athleticism."
Northview (1-2) added two late scores with both team's reserves playing. Torrence Garland had a team-high 117 rushing yards. Kremchek had a solid first half (6 of 12 for 82 yards and TD). But Northview turned the ball over five times.
"We came out flat in the first half," Rogers coach Rick Rios said. "The coaches lit them up at half time and the kids responded."
The final 2:25 of the first half featured two touchdowns and two turnovers.
Tucker gave Rogers a 22-3 lead on a five-yard run. The play was setup by Donntae Franklin's fumble recovery at the Northview 48.
But the Wildcats drove 70 yards on seven plays to pull within 22-9. Kremchek found Tyler Schinharl wide-open in the back of the end zone for a 24-yard score.
On Rogers' next snap, Garland recovered a Ram fumble. But on the very next play Kremchek was intercepted by Gambrell. The junior returned it 85 yards for a touchdown. But the play was called back on a penalty. Northview had three turnovers and Rogers committed two in the first half.
Rogers has defeated three Northern Lakes League opponents in the first three weeks. Northview entered the game .500 against City League teams.
Both teams open league play next Friday. Rogers has likely its stiffest test when the Rams travel to Whitmer. The Wildcats open their NLL campaign at Maumee.
"Whitmer is a good team," Tucker said. "It will be a big game. We'll have a business-like attitude."
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