TROY — Rochester High junior Mike Halsey took the field as a quarterback Oct. 11 at Troy Athens for the first time since his freshman year.
After injuries and adversity, Halsey came in as the Falcons fifth-string quarterback.
“It was awesome. I never played quarterback on a stage like this,” he said. “I was a little shaky at first, but just had to build some confidence. We ran the ball real well. The coaches had an awesome game plan for us.”
Behind a mistake-free game from Halsey and a punishing running game, Rochester won 35-21 in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division contest.
On the ground, senior Vincent Piacentini scored three touchdowns, including a 66 yarder early in the second quarter to tie the game at seven.
Halsey finished with one touchdown pass, connecting with senior Demetrius Magee on a 17-yard strike.
Senior Jacob White also scored for Rochester on a 20-yard interception return.
“Halsey stepped up and did a great job. I’m so proud of the whole team,” Rochester coach Erik Vernon said. “We just have kids with that fighter mentality that don’t take plays off and get better each week.”
Athens received its scores from a 2-yard touchdown pass from junior Alex Mussat to senior Lucas Bezerra and a 22-yard run by senior Joe Coussens.
“Penalties didn’t help us,” Athens coach Josh Heppner said. “We still have to execute on offense and defense. I thought we hemmed up some things on offense. We gave our quarterback more time to throw.”
Athens goes to 1-6 on the year and 1-5 in the Red. Up next is rival Troy High at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at home.
Rochester moves to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in the league. It takes on rival Rochester Hills Stoney Creek at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at home.