Quarterback Phil Roh is one cool customer under pressure. In fact, he flourishes with the game resting on his shoulders.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a 6-foot-4 red-zone target who has been known to slam it home during basketball season.
Roh’s final two passes Friday night ended up as touchdowns in the hands of Keonte Jones, a vital part of Madison East’s basketball team, during the host Purgolders’ 23-17 overtime victory against Janesville Parker.
One pass was a 24-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The other was a 10-yard walk-off winner in the Big Eight Conference game at Breese Stevens Field.
“I just saw the one-on-one matchup with Keonte, and I believe nobody in the Big Eight is going to guard him,” Roh said. “Nobody.”
The 24-yard score was in the left corner of the end zone as Jones beat his defender off the line and waited for the lofted ball to come his way as East (2-3 overall and Big Eight) took a 17-14 lead with 5:11 to play.
After the Vikings (0-5, 0-5) tied it on David Zavala’s 21-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in regulation, East’s defense responded with a goal-line stand in overtime. On a second-and-10 play after a pair of penalties, Roh threw a fade to the left corner where Jones went up to grab it for the winner.
“Their state (-ranked) basketball team is there for a reason, and these guys are great athletes at East,” Parker coach Clayton Kreger said.
Roh spread the ball around to several receivers in both the slot and toward the sideline. Jevan Boyton, a 6-6 target, got the bulk of Roh’s 318 passing yards, making 11 receptions for 187 yards.
Roh now has more than 900 passing yards this season.
“I just have to get more comfortable and trust the system,” Roh said. “At this point, I have to believe the coaches and ball out.”
East head coach Jeremy Thornton was unavailable after the game as he tended to an injured player.
Roh threw a first-quarter touchdown pass to Tyler Owen on a slant over the middle that tied it at 7.
Parker got off to a rolling start as it scored on its first two possessions. Quarterback Sam O’Leary hit Matthew Hartwig for a 21-yard TD pass on a play-action bootleg, and Garrett Sanwick muscled in a 3-yard run.
The Vikings struggled to get good field position after that and didn’t score until Zavala’s late field goal, which came after Parker chewed 5 minutes off the clock. Hartwig caught a jump ball at the 2-yard line on a third-and-long to set up the field goal.
“A lot of confidence in our O-line and our two tailbacks, and we were able to move the ball well,” Kreger said of the final drive of regulation.
But the Vikings couldn’t put it in the end zone at the end of the fourth quarter and failed on a fourth-down in overtime to do the same.
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Roh and the Purgolders pounced, giving them their second victory in a row.
“It’s just a big, big win,” Roh said.
Janesville Parker 14 0 0 3 0 — 17
Madison East 7 3 0 7 6 — 23
JP — Hartwig 21 pass from O’Leary (Zavala kick)
ME — Owen 7 pass from Roh (Link kick)
JP — Sanwick 3 run (Zavala kick)
ME — FG Link 27
ME — Jones 24 pass from Roh (Link kick)
JP — FG Zavala 21
ME — Jones 10 pass from Roh
First downs — JP 15, ME 17. Rushes-yards — JP 52-186, ME 24-76. Passing yards — JP 98, ME 318. Comp-Att-Int — JP 6-8-0, ME 24-30-1. Penalties-yards — JP 5-50, ME 12-90.
Rushing: JP, Anderson 29-100. ME, Clay 19-66.
Passing: JP, O’Leary 6-8-0-98. ME, Roh 24-30-1-318.
Receiving: JP, Conners 4-66. ME, Boyton 11-187.