Youngsville found a way to rebound from a disappointing season-opening loss with a tightly-contested 46-41 Region 2 victory over Iroquois on Friday at Mike Shine Field.
Both teams did the majority of damage on the ground, with the Eagles rushing for 345 yards while the Braves ran for 293. Youngsville's Rocco Gatta led all rushers with 174 yards on just 11 carries while Jordan Gurdak added 111 on 12 carries.
Gurdak opened the scoring with a three-yard run in the first, before Brandon Roda answered with a 17-yard touchdown run for the Braves.
Times Observer photo by Cody Elms
Rocco Gatta powers through and Iroquois defender for the 2-point conversion during the Eagles’ wild 46-41 win on Friday at Youngsville High School.
The Eagles wasted no time jumping back in front, with Gurdak rushing 51 yards for a touchdown on their first play of their next possession.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Eagles scored on the first play once again, this time when quarterback Jake Lauffenburger hit wideout T.J. Hardy with a 63-yard bomb.
Brandon Roda scored again for the Braves in the second quarter, this time receiving a six-yard pass from his brother Justyn, making the score 22-14 at halftime.
Youngsville's offense exploded again in the third. Gatta scored on a 59-yard run and a 45-yard run, with a 5-yard touchdown run from Lauffenburger squeezed in between. Alex Williams tacked on six more for Iroquois with a 10-yard run.
Just when the game seemed out of hand, Iroquois made a serious run in the fourth quarter.
Jason McShane scored on a 24-yard run to make it 44-27, and Dylan Corpin picked off an errant Lauffenburger pass and returned it 80 yards to make it just a nine-point game.
After the Eagles (1-1) added a safety to increase their point total to 46, Matthew McLean hauled in a 30-yard pass from Corpin to bring the Braves within 5.
Iroquois then recovered a fumble to give itself a chance for the win, but turned the ball over on downs, allowing Youngsville to kneel down and end the game.
"Offensively, we were really good," Youngsville head coach Luke Alex said. "We have a young team with a lot of new starters, and our defense still has to improve. We have to take care of our responsibilities. When we don't, we get hurt by big plays, which was evident again tonight."
Alex also praised his quarterback Lauffenburger, who finished with 101 passing yards and 60 rushing yards, saying "I really thought he stepped up big in his first career varsity start (for injured Jake Marino)."
Justyn Roda finished with 95 rushing yards for the Braves. McShane added 71 and Brandon Roda had 61. Justyn Roda and Corpin combined to complete just two passes for Iroquois, but they both went for touchdowns.
Youngsville will try to boost its record over .500 when the Eagles take on Cambridge Springs Friday for their homecoming game.
Y-Jordan Gurdak 3-yard run, T.J. Hardy kick; 7:40.
I-Brandon Roda 17-yard run, Justyn Roda run; 4:27.
Y-Gurdak 51-yard run, Jake Lauffenburger run; 4:19.
Y-Hardy 63-yard pass from Lauffenburger, Hardy kick; 1:56
I-Brandon Roda 6-yard pass from Justyn Roda, Justyn Roda kick; 8:35.
Y-Rocco Gatta 59-yard run, Hardy kick; 11:16.
Y-Lauffenburger 5-yard run, Gatta run; 4:59
I-Alex Williams 10-yard run, Justyn Roda kick; 2:04
Y-Gatta 45-yard run, Hardy kick; 1:01
I-Jason McShane 24-yard run, run failed; early 4th.
I-Dylan Corpin 80-yard interception return, Dylan Corpin run; 7:00.
I-Matthew McLean 30-yard pass from Corpin, run failed; 2:03.
RUSHING-I-Justyn Roda 18 for 95; Alex Williams 18 for 54; Jason McShane 9 for 71; Brandon Roda 10 for 61; Alex Burgos 1 for (-1); Dylan Corpin 2 for 12. Y-Rocco Gatta 11 for 174; Jordan Gurdak 12 for 111; Jake Lauffenburger 9 for 60.
PASSING-I-Justyn Roda 1-8 for 6 yards, TD; Corpin 1-8 for 30 yards, TD. Y-Lauffenburger 6-12 for 101 yards, TD, INT.
RECEIVING-I-Brandon Roda 1 for 6, TD; Matthew McLean 1 for 30, TD. Y-T.J. Hardy 2 for 63, TD; Mike Hamrick 2 for 18; Rocco Gatta 2 for 20.