FULTON, Ill. -- Rockridge remembered the feeling when Fulton ended its season in the playoffs last year.
The Rockets got some measure of revenge Friday night.
Rockridge rallied from a 19-point deficit to stun Class 1A No. 4 Fulton 40-39 at Steamer Field.
“Going into tonight we remembered what that feeling was like last year and we really wanted to instill that in this game," senior Michael Griffin said. "Coming out of halftime, we knew we were down and we had to make a play. I think that was a great way of persevering through adversity.”
Nathan Parchert scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 35-yard scamper with one minute, 22 seconds remaining.
“That’s just the team we are,” said Parchert, who had 215 yards and two touchdowns in the game. “We’re going to scrap and claw and do our best to get back into it.”
Fulton had a chance to still grab the win, but Bryce Grant’s pass was intercepted by Griffin – with one hand in a cast – in the end zone to end the game.
“Going into the last play, we were thinking about all the work we’ve put in, all the stuff we’ve done preparing for these types of moments,” Griffin said. “All summer we worked hard, we’re a great group and I think right there we showed it paid off.”
Rockridge’s comeback was as equally impressive as the first half from Fulton’s Austin Schroeder. The senior running back had nine carries for 294 yards and four touchdowns in the first two quarters, scoring on runs of 54, 66, 76 and 87 yards to lead Fulton to a 33-14 halftime lead.
Rockridge bottled up Schroeder in the second half as he finished the night with 326 yards on 20 carries.
“I liked our game plan, everything was going well in the first half. Probably the worst thing that happened to us was we had a halftime,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said.
“We knew, we told the kids, ‘You’ve got to understand these guys are going to keep coming at us, they’re not going to have any give up, they’re a team that’s used to winning.’”
Rockridge showed that pedigree in the second half. The Rockets (4-0, 2-0) took their first drive of the second half 80 yards, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Riley Fetterer to cut the score to 33-20 with 6:06 left in the third.
Fetterer found Cody Bush on the Rockets’ next drive on a fourth-and-5 play to cut the lead to 33-26 with 9:03 left after the kick was blocked by Zack Simons.
Fetterer finished the game with 142 rushing yards and three touchdowns and 49 passing yards and a touchdown.
With Fulton’s lead suddenly cut to just one score, the Steamers (3-1, 1-1) turned once again to their go-to guy on the night. Grant hit Schroeder with a 35-yard screen pass for a touchdown to take a 39-26 lead.
But once again, Rockridge answered, driving 53 yards, capped by a 25-yard touchdown run by Fetterer to cut the lead to 39-33 with 4:58 remaining.
Fulton had a chance to salt the game away, but Grant’s pass was dropped on 4th down, giving Rockridge the ball back.
The Rockets made the most of their chance with Parchert’s score.
While Fulton tries to put this game behind it, Rockridge hopes the momentum can carry into next week's game against top-ranked Sterling Newman.
"It's going to fuel us," Parchert said. "It's gonna fuel us."