FLUSH — Rock Creek was unable to recover from an early 19-point deficit Friday night as Mid-East League power and Number 1 (Class 3A) Silver Lake rolled into The Rock Athletic Complex and left with a 33-7 victory.
Silver Lake (4-0) held the Mustangs (0-4) to just 112 yards of total offense. Rock Creek gained just four first downs in the ballgame. The Mustangs didn’t earn their initial first down until the 7:32 mark of the third quarter.
As the Mustangs — who played with five sophomore offensive linemen for much of the game — stumbled out of the gate, Silver Lake did anything but. The Eagles struck early and often, piling up 420 yards of total offense with a balanced attack that forced Rock Creek to adjust on the fly.
“We’re young,” Rock Creek head coach Mike Beam said. “We’re really Young. I think they kind of grew up a little bit more tonight, but I was proud of the way they came out in the second half.”
The Eagles rode the arm and legs of senior quarterback Dailin Kruger, en route to touchdowns on each of their first three drives, as he passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to put the Mustangs in a hole early.
Kruger, who was 5-of-7 passing for 75 yards, hit receiver Jace Freeman for a 22-yard strike with 7:47 to play in the first to put Silver Lake up 7-0. He followed that up with another touchdown on a 30-yard swing pass to Eagle running back Cody Renfro, before taking one in on his own on a 13-yard scamper around the right side to give the Eagles a 19-0 advantage with 17 seconds to play in the first quarter.
That was the last action Kruger would see, as backup quarterback Ryan Matzke took the reins of the Eagle offense for the remainder of the game. Matzke’s first pass was a 10-yard touchdown, again to Freeman that pushed the Eagle lead to 25-0 as the teams entered the locker room at halftime.
“In the first half we just couldn’t match their speed — not even close,” Beam said. “It wasn’t one of the bigger Silver Lake teams, but they are extremely fast.”
The Mustang defense scrapped to begin the second half, forcing Silver Lake to punt on their first three drives. Meanwhile, Rock Creek got an added jolt when tight end Carson Becker grabbed a deflected pass from quarterback Jackson Goodmiller and streaked down the right sideline for a 45-yard touchdown to cut the Eagle lead to 25-7 with 4:36 left in the third quarter.
“We got a good group of fellas in [the locker room],” Goodmiller said.
“It was a rough start, but we came back out and pulled together as a team and fought as hard as we could.”
Goodmiller — who began the game at tailback — shot life into the Rock Creek attack with 54 yards on his first seven second-half carries from the quarterback position.
“He plays both sides of the ball,” Beam said. “He’s a good athlete. We’ve been kind of snake-bit with injuries so I get concerned when I stick him out there and run him every down. But he makes plays and when you spread the field he has a chance to get out and run.”
The Mustangs opened the second half outgaining Silver Lake 114 to 28 after a 13-yard pass from Goodmiller to Chase Ridder put the Mustangs into Eagle territory with a chance to cut the lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter. Two plays later though, a fumbled snap by Alex Feldkamp —who had returned as quarterback — was recovered by the Eagles.
The Mustangs never threatened again, and Renfro tacked on another touchdown with 7:12 to play in the game as the Eagles cruised home for the 26-point win.