Rochester High downs Ferndale High to remain undefeated

By: Jacob Herbert | Online Only | Published October 16, 2020

ROCHESTER — For the first time since 1993, Rochester High football is 5-0.

The Falcons’ fifth win of the season came Oct. 16 at home, easing past Ferndale High 40-16.

After punting the ball away on its opening possession, Rochester’s defense forced a fumble to get the ball right back to the offense. Coach Erik Vernon’s team wasted no time after the turnover as sophomore quarterback Alex Bueno found junior Preston Schroyer on a 35-yard touchdown pass for the first score of the game.

The Falcons would score 34 straight points before Ferndale was able to get on the board. Jeff Hawkins, Schroyer, Tyler Jackson and Jaiden Bolden all chipped in with touchdowns to help build the lead.

“We have big playmakers on offense,” Bueno said. “Tonight wasn’t one of our best nights, but I had the offensive line step up for me as well as other playmakers I know I can rely on when I’m not having the best game.”

Vernon said the defense was a bright spot. The unit tallied four interceptions on the night. Highlighting the defense was Bolden who finished with two interceptions, one of which he took to the house. 

“I think defensively we did a great job,” Vernon said. “We forced a ton of turnovers, we were great tacklers and we were aggressive. We put up 40 points on the board and we couldn’t have done that without the defense.”

Ferndale’s first points of the game came with 26 seconds to play in the third quarter when senior quarterback Curtis Mayes scored on a 5-yard touchdown. The Eagles' other score came from a 54-yard touchdown run by Zion Fields in the fourth.

Hawkins would score another touchdown in the fourth quarter that gave the Falcons their total of 40.

Rochester’s season this year has been a bright spot in an otherwise unusual 2020. Through five games, the offense is scoring 47 points per game on average while only allowing 10 on defense. 

After three seasons in the Oakland Activities Association White Division, the Falcons dropped down to the OAA Blue this year. Vernon said his team was young last year and was forced to play against stiff competition. Rochester finished 1-8 last season and of its nine opponents, six made the playoffs. 

The Falcons came back this season with more experience under their belts and as the team kept winning, the confidence grew.

“The kids have been extremely coachable, they’re listening,” Vernon said. “We’re not really doing anything different than we have in the past. They’re confident, they’re taking the coaching on very well and they’re making plays.”

Rochester has one more game on the regular season schedule before the playoffs start. The Falcons will travel to Berkley High to take on the Bears at 7 p.m. Oct. 23. If the Falcons can win that game, they will win the OAA Blue title outright.

“It would prove a lot for me as well as the whole team,” Bueno said on the possibility of winning a league title. “We’ve been working so hard and it’s finally coming into sight. We don’t want to look ahead too far but we’re excited.”