Rogers proved it belonged with the Mississippi 8 leaders Friday night, spoiling a last-minute drive to ruin Monticello’s homecoming and take home a 10-7 victory.
Monticello forced Rogers to punt in the final minutes. With a three-point deficit and time winding down, the Magic marched to the Royals 12-yard line with seconds remaining.
Instead of trying a 29-yard field goal to tie the score and send the game into overtime, Monticello made a final toss to the end zone. The Royals batted the pass down, sealing their fourth victory of the season.
Rogers coach Marc Franz was impressed by how physical his team played against the more experienced Magic.
“They came out and battled for four quarters,” Franz said. “And that’s what I was proud of. We’ll celebrate this weekend, and then Monday it’s back to work.”
The Royals relied on a balanced offensive attack. Three backs tallied at least 30 yards. Quarterback Connor Henderson threw for 67 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown toss to Nate Weber.
Birk Olson scored the lone touchdown for the Magic, a 37-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.
Coming into the evening, the Magic averaged 266 rushing yards per game. The Royals gave up half that on Friday night. Although Magic quarterback Matt Bonk often found open receivers and finished with 111 yards passing, the young Rogers defense stopped two Monticello fourth-down attempts.
A year removed from a section championship, the Royals could find excuses for a poor season, most significantly a lack of experience.
Franz will hear none of it.
“We had a lot of young, inexperienced guys coming in,” Franz said, “but we’re not going to say that any more this year. This game they matured. We’re now a football team.”
The loss was the first of the season for Monticello.