Rogers High School captain Grayson Madland isn’t the kind of player who cares about individual accolades, but he had plenty Friday night.
Madland passed for 318 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for two more scores to lead the Rams in a 48-28 victory against the Bethel Braves at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
“My individual efforts don’t mean anything without my teammates,” Madland said. “It was a total team effort tonight. Those guys (receivers and offensive linemen) really stuck out their necks for me. That is how I was able to do what I did. It was a great team win.”
Rogers (4-3 overall) outscored Bethel 20-7 in the second half. It was quite a different story in the first 24 minutes, when the Braves (2-5) tallied 207 rushing yards and 21 points. But the Rams forced two punts and three turnovers after the break, and Bethel’s only second-half touchdown came on a Jeremiah Vasquez 45-yard interception return for a score.
“They knew they were going to be what changed the game for us,” Madland said of the Rams’ defense. “They stepped it up big time. Haden Cruz had two huge interceptions for us. Our defense just played awesome.”
Cruz, an outside linebacker, said it was just his second career start.
Rogers head coach Gene Bowen said adjustments paid dividends in the final two quarters.
“We basically went to a different alignment,” Bowen said. “We knew they struggled throwing the ball, so we brought more bodies into the box. We really wanted to cover some of the things they were trying to. We took away some of their traps. That was the biggest thing. It produced great results for us, especially in the third quarter, when we made some nice stops.”
Bowen said Madland turned in one of the best performances of his high-school career.
“Grayson is doing exactly what we knew he could do,” Bowen said. “He is a great player, great guy and a great leader. He has a strong arm and can make some plays with his feet, too.”
Rogers will face the Curtis Vikings on Friday night in University Place and will conclude its regular season with a showdown against the Puyallup Vikings on Nov. 1.
“We believe in the one-game-at-a-time, one-play-at-a-time way of thinking,” Bowen said. “Every game is a playoff game, and we’re going to treat it that way.
“Everybody wants to be a playoff team,” he said. “Next week, we are playing a great opponent (Curtis), and then we finish against Puyallup. They are lights-out on offense, and we’re going to have to be on our game the next two weeks. We’re looking forward to it.”