Playoff hopes reside outside of the hands of the Burlington Central football team.
The Rockets needed a victory and a major offensive outpouring to keep their postseason hopes alive against North Boone Friday night at home, and they got neither of those.
The Vikings (8-1, 5-1) were in fact the team which produced big on the scoreboard, throttling Burlington Central 36-7, while more importantly clinching the outright Big Northern East championship.
“Coming down to it, we just didn’t play how we should and not good enough to win the game,” said Rockets quarterback Tyler Majewski, who relieved starter Casey Matthews in the second half.
A change at quarterback did produce one scoring drive for Burlington Central (5-4, 4-2) but not until under two minutes left in regulation. It didn’t matter who was quarterbacking for the Rockets, as the Vikings’ defense limited their offense to 176 total yards of offense.
Burlington Central’s offense didn’t have an offensive play of at least 10 yards until midway through the second quarter when running back Trevor Davison charged his way for 11 yards.
“[North Boone] played well; they’re a good football team,” said Rockets coach Rich Crabel. “We didn’t take care of things we should have done.”
Early on, the Vikings dialed up their passing attack to help build their gigantic lead. North Boone quarterback Austin Baden nearly found receiver Jon Lilly open on almost every play he threw to him. Lilly — who caught a game-high seven passes for 187 yards and three scores — seemed to be most effective on running streak routes.
“We just had misreads,” Matthews said of the Rockets’ secondary blunder. Matthews also lined up often in Burlington Central’s defensive backfield.
After their regular season loss and potentially a missed trip to the playoffs, Majewski summed up the Rockets’ overall feelings.
“It’s just frustrating. Very frustrating,” Majewski said.