Rams senior Dan Hare returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, but the Rockets responded, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions as Spring Grove controlled the play throughout its 42-11 win.
"That's what we have done offensively all year," Spring Grove coach Russ Stoner said after his team improved to 2-2. "What I am finding out about our offense is they don't get rattled. It was 8-0 and there was 15 seconds off the board, so we didn't panic. I just looked at our offense and said, 'Let's get ours now.'"
Junior running back Jeff DeLaughter and senior quarterback Matt Runge carried the load on the first drive, with DeLaughter making it 8-7 with a 2-yard run.
After Kennard-Dale (0-4) got a 28-yard field goal from Vince Failla, DeLaughter returned the kickoff 39 yards. One play after Runge ran for 8 yards, DeLaughter ran over a Rams player and scampered 44 yards for a score, giving the Rockets the lead for good, 14-11.
"I was pumped after that, I just kept going," DeLaughter said about his second touchdown run. "Pretty much the line was making a lot of holes for us. I just tell them keep doing a good job, and I will do my best behind you."
A three-and-out, followed by a short punt gave Spring Grove great field position and eight plays later, Runge scored from 3 yards out on a quarterback draw, putting the Rockets up 10.
"We don't worry about everything. Us offensive guys, we get out there and do what we have to do to get the job done," Runge said. "We are positive about everything. Last year we would get down and hang our heads. Now we know we are good enough to compete with anyone."
If that early lead wasn't enough, Kyle Micik blocked a Rams punt and fellow junior De'Andre Gaskins picked it up and rumbled 40 yards down to the Kennard-Dale 4-yard line. Two plays later, Runge snuck in from a yard out for a 28-11 lead.
Spring Grove opened the second half by marching 67 yards in eight plays, with 59 of those yards coming through the air. Runge capped that drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Austin Nee.
"Our philosophy is, can we continue to pound the ball. Can we continue to make plays and can we get you in the third quarter, and that is what we did today," Stoner said.
The Rockets defense came alive in the second half, limiting Kennard-Dale's offense to a mere 69 yards -- all on the ground -- with three first downs.
After freshman Nick Erickson made a great catch of a Runge pass for a 24-yard completion, Nee took the next handoff around the end for an 11-yard touchdown that capped the scoring a little more than a minute into the final quarter.
"I think our kids did a better job in the second half," Stoner said. "In the third quarter, we became a physical football team again.
DeLaughter finished with 109 yards on 15 carries, and Runge added 57 yards on 10 attempts. Runge also completed 6-of-11 passes for a 109 yards and a touchdown.
Mike Young finished with 80 of the Rams' 207 yards of offense, all of which came on the ground.
Spring Grove 14 14 7 7 -- 42
Kennard-Dale 11 0 0 0 -- 11
KD -- Dan Hare 97 kickoff return (Hare run), 11:44
SG -- Jeff DeLaughter 2 run (Andrew Luckenbaugh kick), 9:09
KD -- Vince Failla 28 FG, 2:42
SG -- DeLaughter 44 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 1:49
SG -- Matt Runge 3 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 9:34
SG -- Runge 1 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 3:37
SG -- Austin Nee 15 pass from Runge (Luckenbaugh kick), 8:13
SG -- Nee 11 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 10:56
-- SG -- KD
First downs -- 14 -- 9
Rushes-yards -- 33-209 -- 51-207
Passing -- 6-13-2 -- 0-1-0
Passing yards -- 109 -- 0
Total yards -- 318 -- 207
Punts -- 2-48.0 -- 8-25.2
Fumbles-lost -- 0-0 -- 2-0
Penalties-yards -- 4-20 -- 3-20
Rushing -- Spring Grove, Jeff DeLaughter 15-109, Matt Runge 10-57, Tyler Daugherty 3-16, Austin Nee 2-16, Seth Hildebrand 2-10, Dalton Forbes 1-1; Kennard-Dale, Mike Young 8-80, Dan Hare 13-41, Josh Eaton 9-39, Zach Wilkinson 12-31, Phil Herndon 4-12, Justin Fitchett 2-5, Mitch Hyson 1-2, Logan Carlile 1-0, Kyle Amrhein 1-(-3).
Passing -- Spring Grove, Matt Runge 6-11-109-0, Seth Hildebrand 0-1-0-1, Forbes 0-1-0-1; KD, Zach Wilkinson 0-1-0-0.
Receiving -- Spring Grove, Logan Hall 2-44, Austin Nee 2-32, Nick Erickson 1-24, Logan Hagerman 1-9.