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Rockets’ playoff roar continues PDF Print E-mail
Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 21:09

Valders no match for CG-Belgium in Level 3 playoff game

Whether or not the cliche rings true and defense wins a championship for the Cedar Grove-Belgium football team this year remains to be seen, but there was no doubting its playmaking prowess in a WIAA Division 5 Level 3 game last Friday.
Every time Valders threatened to score, the Rockets came up big. Using a combination of sacks, fumbles, interceptions and tackles for loss, Cedar Grove-Belgium preserved Valders’ goose egg.
WADE SACK 11 9 17 4CThrow in a highlight-reel, Barry Sanders-esque play from a sophomore to go with a fourth-and-14 touchdown catch, and the Rockets won their final home game of the season, 28-0 — leaving them one victory from a state final in Madison.
The top-seeded Rockets earned three home playoff games, provided they kept winning, before this week’s contest at a neutral site in West Bend. That element wasn’t lost on the players.

“I just was thinking this is the last time ever playing on this field. I’ve been playing Broncos all the way to Rocket JV all the way up to this,” senior running back and linebacker Bryce Morgan said. “My last game ever I just gave my all.”
“It’s a great win,” senior quarterback Jason von Heimburg said. “Can’t believe it’s my last year, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
“Amazing,” senior linebacker Cameron Kirst said. “I’m speechless. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
It wasn’t that the No. 6-seeded Vikings couldn’t move the ball. Trailing, 14-0, Valders took the third-quarter kickoff and drove 70 yards in 12 plays to the Rockets’ 4-yard line. One score and the momentum pendulum could have swung to the visitors.
On a pitch left on second-and-goal, Morgan flew upfield, grabbing Fletcher Dallas and pulling him to the ground for a 9-yard loss that pushed the Vikings back to the 13.
“It’s a tribute to Bryce on both sides of the ball,” Rockets coach Dan Schreurs said. “He makes plays. He’s a great athlete, great senior, great leader.”
On third-and-goal, Hunter Wade and Chris Daniels combined to stop Kyle Tuma for no gain.
On fourth down, Tuma’s throw to the end zone landed in the belly of Kirst, who took off and was caught at the Rockets’ 30.
“I saw it come to me, and I saw the receiver run past, and it was just my moment. I was looking forward for the end zone, but didn’t get there,” Kirst said.
The Vikings stopped the Rockets on fourth down, but then threw an interception on fourth-and-nine, with Cedar Grove-Belgium setting up shop at Valders’ 40 at the end of the third quarter.
After four Morgan runs moved the ball 24 yards, von Heimburg ran for 13.
On second down from Valders’ 2-yard line, the quarterback fumbled and fell on the ball back at the 7. On third down, von Heimburg rolled left and hit Michael Navis on the move in the end zone.
Up, 21-0, the Rockets dashed any comeback hopes on the next play from scrimmage. Wade sacked Tuma and forced a fumble, and Morgan recovered and returned it to the Valders’ 4-yard line.
“I tried to hit his arm a little. That felt good. Bryce should have scooped it and scored, but …”
“I was like, good job Hunter, and I just fell on it,” Morgan said.
Valders held the Rockets on the next drive, stopping them on fourth-and-goal. But Morgan leaped to snag an interception four plays later. In another four plays after that, Morgan took a shotgun snap and ran three yards for the fourth touchdown. With 4 minutes and 41 seconds left, the Rockets had a 28-0 lead.
Schreurs, who handles the offense, praised defensive coordinator Jason Klein and his unit.
“Again, hats off to them. They’re really keeping us in the game. They’re getting the ball back to the offense, and I can’t say more about them,” he said.
Klein dialed up blitz after blitz, and four times the Rockets got home.
“We were really trying to get that shutout. We got really aggressive,” inside linebacker Ben Anzia said.
“The coach called blitzes almost every play in the red zone and we just executed it well,” Kirst said.
“It was about hustling. Make sure we hit our guy, get off him. We just dug down deep inside,” defensive end Chris Daniels said.
Navis made two huge plays on the night, one that may go down in the annals of Rockets’ football history. With his team leading, 7-0, in the second quarter, von Heimbrug threw a short pass to Navis on the left sideline. Valders’ defenders dashed up to tackle him, and one leveled Navis, drawing “Oooooos” from the home crowd.
Navis, however, kept his balance. The Vikings didn’t wrap him up, and the sophomore burst down the sideline for 77 yards before being caught at the 3-yard line.
“I just spun inside. They brought, like five guys on me, didn’t wrap up, and I just kept shuffling my feet and kept going,” Navis said.
Von Heimburg thought the down was over after the big hit.
“I was ready to go back and get another play, because when he got clobbered, I was, like, ‘wow.’ That was an amazing play by him,” he said.
It happened right in front of Schreurs, who said he was more concerned that his speedster got caught from behind.
“I saw Michael and No. 3 hit, and I saw No. 3 get stunned, and I saw Michael go flying by,” he said.
“They like to go for the knockout blow. We prepped them all week on that.
Von Heimburg followed the unbelievable play with a dive inside the right pylon for the Rockets’ second touchdown.
Navis got the scoring started on the opening drive of the game. On fourth-and-14 from Valders’ 24, von Heimburg found his favorite target on a post route for a touchdown.
He ended with four catches for 119 yards and two scores. Von Heimburg went 7-for-12 passing for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
Morgan led the ground game with 83 yards on 20 carries and a score. Von Heimburg added 50 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.
“Can’t say more about him,” Schreurs said of von Heimburg. “He’s throwing good footballs and making good decisions on when to run.”
Schreurs said the team enjoyed the spoils that come with a No. 1 seed: playing at home for three straight playoff games.
This year’s Rockets, he added, followed last year’s team, which excelled in poise. “They were not shaken or worried about things. It comes from them learning from last year’s team,” Schreurs said.

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