NAVASOTA — All of the football camps that Rogers juniors Riley Dolgener and Christian Riley attended and the time they spent honing their craft paid off in a magical play that sent the Eagles to a Class 3A Division II bi-district victory Friday night.
With the game tied at 34-all with less than 2 minutes to play, Dolgener’s pass found Riley in stride along the Rogers sideline. Riley shook off Tidehaven defender Xain Dusek and outraced the rest of the Tigers for a 74-yard touchdown that propelled the Eagles to a thrilling 41-34 victory at Rattler Stadium.
“That was a heck of a throw, catch and run,” fourth-year Rogers coach Charlie Roten said. “The offensive line did their part and those guys did what they had to do.”
Rogers (6-5) advanced to face Poth (9-0) in next week’s area round.
“Me and Chris have known each other since eighth grade and we’ve gone to camps together,” Dolgener said. “He’s my No. 1 target. He has sure hands and I know he’ll make the play.”
Riley did for the Eagles’ first lead, which came soon after a Tidehaven drive into Rogers territory ended when the Eagles defense wrested the ball from quarterback Logan Crow’s grasp at the Rogers 26.
Dolgener and Riley hooked up on the next play, and Tidehaven’s last chance ended when Ty Sebek intercepted Crow to seal it.
“We got it going after halftime,” said Riley, who scored three touchdowns. “I wanted it bad. I wanted to win and we kicked it in.”
Rogers trailed 34-31 heading into the fourth quarter but knotted the game on Julian Lashbrook’s 33-yard field goal with 7:39 to play.
Trailing 27-17 at halftime, the Eagles outscored the Tigers 24-7 in the second half. Riley capped the first possession of the third with a 15-yard scoring run to close the gap to 27-24.
Tidehaven (5-5) answered with Jose Martinez’s third touchdown from 7 yards out and a 34-24 advantage.
RJ Cook responded for Rogers with a 29-yard scoring romp to make it a three-point game again late in the third quarter.
“We’re a second-half team and we knew if we could hold them, we could put points on the board,” Dolgener said.
After a Tigers kick returner inadvertently stepped out of bounds at their 2, Tidehaven took 14 plays to go 98 yards in more than 6 minutes on the game’s opening possession. The Tigers converted two third downs and a fourth down along the way before Martinez banged in from the 4 for a 7-0 lead.
Rogers didn’t need much time to answer. On the Eagles’ second play of the ensuing drive, Dolgener kept for a 56-yard scoring sprint but the extra-point try was unsuccessful.
Tidehaven traveled 80 yards in seven plays to score before the end of the quarter. Martinez did the honors again from the 5 for the Tigers’ 13-6 lead.
The Eagles took a more methodical route for their next points, getting inside the Tigers 5 before settling for Lashbrook’s 20-yard field goal that made it 13-9.
Tidehaven capitalized on two Rogers turnovers for 14 consecutive points. Dusek took an interception 62 yards to the Eagles 15 to set up Kylan Sardinea’s 11-yard score, and another Eagles turnover at their 13 led to Crow’s TD throw to Austin Smith for Tidehaven’s 27-9 edge with 1:41 to go in the half.
Rogers cut into the deficit before intermission, though. Sparked by John Hill’s 33-yard scamper, Riley scored on an 8-yarder with 13 seconds left. Riley also ran in the 2-point conversion, and the Eagles trailed 27-17 at halftime.
“I’m just proud of these guys,” Roten said. “When I took this job, I was told they were hard-working kids who would do anything for you. They weren’t lying.”
ROGERS 41, TIDEHAVEN 34
Tidehaven 13 14 7 0 — 34
Rogers 6 11 14 10 — 41
Tid — Jose Martinez 4 run (Alexis Cisneros kick)
Rog — Riley Dolgener 56 run (run failed)
Tid — Martinez 5 run (kick failed)
Rog — Julian Lashbrook 20 field goal
Tid — Kylan Sardinea 11 run (Cisneros kick)
Tid — Austin Smith 14 pass from Logan Crow (Cisneros kick)
Rog — Christian Riley 8 run (Riley run)
Rog — Riley 15 run (Lashbrook kick)
Tid — Martinez 7 run (Cisneros kick)
Rog — RJ Cook 29 run (Lashbrook kick)
Rog — Lashbrook 33 field goal
Rog — Riley 74 pass from Dolgener (Lashbrook kick)
First downs 20 18
Rushes-yards 48-329 41-375
Passing yards 79 91
Comp.-Att.-Int. 5-9-1 2-5-1
Punts-average 2-31.5 1-39
Fumbles-lost 4-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 8-49 9-80
RUSHING — Tidehaven: Sardinea 15-132, Martinez 15-91, Crow 16-82, Dodds 2-24; Rogers: Dolgener 15-142, Riley 10-98, John Hill 6-52, Christian Watkins 4-42, Cook 6-41..
PASSING — Tidehaven: Crow 5-9-1-79; Rogers: Dolgener 2-5-1-91.
RECEIVING — Tidehaven: Smith 4-50, Sardinea 1-29; Rogers: Riley 2-91.