LAGRANGE — Keystone couldn’t make the most of its chances against Bay on Friday night.
The Wildcats contained the Rockets for the first half, but Bay eventually found its rhythm on the ground to the tune of 248 rushing yards in a 27-6 non-conference win.
“All the little things add up,” Keystone coach Don Griswold said. “Over the course of a game against a quality opponent, you add up all those little things and in the end it turns into a 21-point loss. Anybody who was here knew it was a competitive game. Each team played good. I’m proud of my team.”
In the first half it was Bay which seemed to get in its own way, committing eight penalties for 75 yards while the Wildcats had none. Bay’s lone score came because it was set up on its own 47-yard line thanks to a botched snap on a Keystone punt — the first of three special teams miscues.
The Rockets capitalized with a 53-yard drive capped by Logan LaMere’s 8-yard touchdown pass to running back Joe Galati.
Keystone responded with a 65-yard drive fueled by a healthy dose of running back Dylan Naylor. The junior accounted for 52 yards on the drive — all on the ground — and capped it with a 2-yard score. But Keystone still trailed by one because of a missed extra point.
Naylor finished with 146 yards on 24 carries and added three receptions for 17 more.
“The offensive line was making their blocks while opening up gaps for me to run though,” Naylor said. “They were doing everything tonight.”
The Wildcats opening drive of the second half lasted three plays and they were forced to punt from their own 25-yard line. Another bad snap gave the Rockets the ball at the Keystone 21.
Bay punched it in seven plays later on LaMere’s quarterback sneak on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Bay missed the extra point.
“We have three returning starters and just have to work through these things,” Griswold said of the miscues in the kicking game. “We just have to do these things on Friday night. People underestimate the stress and the difficulty. It’s not automatic.”
Bay’s running attack also kicked it into gear. Galati brought the power, finishing with 79 yards on 12 carries, while Andrew Veverka burned Keystone with his speed for 106 yards on 15 carries.
The commitment to the run produced a big fourth quarter for the Rockets, who capped a drive that started with 4:45 left in the third with a 5-yard touchdown pass from LaMere to tight end Francis Sherman. The drive took 6:46 off the clock.
Keegan Kevesdy punctuated the win with a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“We need to fix the little things,” Naylor said. “We were tackling high, missed some blocks, missed some reads. We’ll fix it.”