ROCHELLE – During a 44-31 loss to Rochelle on Friday, the DeKalb football team once again showed flashes of what it had hoped to be at the start of the season, utilizing a strong running game to stay in the game against a playoff team.
But the nagging issues that held them to two wins this season also were evident as the Barbs turned the ball over and ultimately weren’t able to stop the opposing offense.
“It was a mirror image of our season – there were a lot of ups and downs,” coach Todd Hallaron said. “We had some positives going in there, we had some negatives in the first half.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Rochelle opened the scoring early in the second on a 1-yard run by Jordan Bernardin.
DeKalb fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Hubs capitalzied when Rochelle running back Evan White scored on a 5-yard run.
DeKalb pulled to within a touchdown when Dylan Hottsmith scored on a 10-yard run.
But once again, Rochelle drove down the field, and a rare pass from quarterback Angel Burciaga found receiver Keegan Akers for a 35-yard touchdown, and the Hubs went into the half leading, 22-7.
“When you face teams that are ball-control [based], there’s no room for error,” Hallaron said. “You can’t make mistakes, and we made mistakes in the first half.”
The Barbs began to mount a comeback in the second half as Dre Brown put the Barbs within a touchdown with a 1-yard touchdown to make the score 30-23 with 2:44 left in the third quarter.
But the DeKalb defense just couldn’t stop the Rochelle running game, and White and Marquez Felix put the game out of reach with rushing touchdowns, making the score 44-23 with 4:02 remaining.
Brown was able to punch in a 1-yard touchdown, but Rochelle was able to run out the clock on their next drive.
“We’re an inexperienced team learning a new offense,” Hallaron said. “I wish we would have had a better result, not just in this game, but in the season.”