Rochester High Wins Homecoming Game

ROCHESTER HILLS — The fans didn’t want to leave.  The clock was on zero. The band was on the field, beginning to exit. The players were in the huddle in their end zone, listening to their coaches talk about the game.

To talk about the victory.

To talk about the fifth win.

 To talk about the first homecoming victory for the first time since 1999.

There’s plenty to talk about around Rochester football these days.

Following Friday’s 17-0 shutout of visiting West Bloomfield, no one wanted to leave Rochester Stadium.

And why should they? 

For the first time since senior quarterback Nick Bradley was in first grade, learning how to read, spell and the simplest functions of a calculator, the Falcons won the homecoming football game.

Rochester is now 5-2 with two games to play and one win from the playoffs. The postseason is a place that Rochester football hasn’t visited since 1999 and has only made the cut.

Win number five didn’t come all too easily. For the first 17 minutes of this game, or until halfway through the second quarter, the scoreboard was all zeros.

 Junior Mike Kmiec, nicknamed “MK Large” by his classmates, lived up to the nickname by opening the scoring. Kmiec ran nine yards for the first touchdown of the game, and in a sense sealed the victory for the Falcons.

The rest of the game was basically practice for Rochester, due to its stingy defense never letting the West Bloomfield pose a serious threat. 

 “It feels great,” senior both side player Diego Camp said. “That’s what we planned on doing today, that’s what we wanted to do, get a shutout. It feels great.”

It marks the second shutout of the season for the Falcons, including a 28-0 triumph over Macomb L’Anse Creuse North in the opener. Two shutouts in one season hasn’t happened in many years for Rochester, at least with the Flacons on the winning enc. 

“ We did (an) awesome (job),” Rochester head coach Eric Vernon said. “They did absolutely awesome. They played hard. They got the job done. It was great. It’s great but we got a ways to go so, we’re going to keep working.”

Simply, this game is exactly what the Falcons needed. After a heart-crushing, 17-14 loss against Clarkston the previous week, this win was the perfect medicine. And though most of the credit of this victory should go to the coaches and players, some players were sure to mention the fans. 

 “I love how everybody showed up to support us,” junior defensive player Kurt Apostol said. “It’s a great win.  We haven’t won homecoming in 11 years and we broke that. So I feel great. We’re (Hopefully) going to go to the playoffs. We’re (hopefully) going to get our playoff (clinching) win at Adams’ field.”

Let’s take a second to think about that: Rochester vs. Rochester Adams. 

Both teams are 5-2. Both are one win from the playoffs. It’s Adams’ homecoming. It’s the OAA crossover game between the third-place teams from the OAA Red and White divisions, respectively. Could you think of a more perfect matchup? In terms of rivalries, no you can’t.

So obviously after a night like tonight, even though Adams is a perennial powerhouse, having not lost to Rochester since 1996,many have playoffs on their minds.

 “We worked really hard, really harder than we ever worked before,” junior running back Cody Devoe said, who had yet another great game. “We got to show everybody that we can do it and show everybody we’re a good Rochester team that’s going to make it to the playoffs. We’re going to go far in the playoffs.” 

Now, not many would say a thing such bold with reporter’s only inches away with recorders and note pads, knowing Rochester’s recent trend of losing seasons. And if he happens to have the same view as me, that helps. … Even if Coach Vernon treats the word ‘playoff’ as if it’s been tabooed.

 “Oh no, we got Adams next week, so we’ll look forward to that,” he said. “It’s great but we got a ways to go so, we’re going to keep working.”

Let’s hope they do.

This isn’t a teenage dream. This isn’t a fantasy. This is shutout. This is a winning season. This is a time to be enjoyed.

 “We got to enjoy the 24 hours after this one,” Camp said, “But we’ve got to look towards Adams next week and get in to a groove, and play good.”