Welcome to the new Ben Rogers.
If opponents had checked out the book on the Sequoyah senior quarterback prior to his Chiefs' crucial Region 7AAAA battle against visiting Cass on Friday night, the scouting report would read pretty plain and simple: Drop-back pocket passer.
But that was then, and this is now.
Breaking off a pair of 50-plus yard runs, including a 68-yard touchdown sprint midway through the fourth quarter, Rogers rushed for a career-high 113 yards, threw for 76 more, and even stepped over to the defensive side of the ball to make a couple of key stops, as Sequoyah held off a late rally by the Colonels for a 31-28 victory in Hickory Flat.
"I thought Ben played phenomenal," Sequoyah coach James Teter said of his quarterback, who had just 17 total yards of rushing over his previous 13 games. "We've been practicing some things to get him even more involved in the game, with defense being one of them, and while I feel like he played well in our first three games, he really stepped it up tonight."
"I feel like I'm capable of running the ball every game. It's just not something we've needed or I've been asked to do," said Rogers, whose previous game-high rushing total was the 36 he posted against rival Creekview in the Chiefs' season opener last month. "But it felt good tonight."
With Sequoyah (2-2, 2-2 region) clinging to a 24-21 advantage in the early stages of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs' defense forced the Colonels (2-2, 2-2) to punt away their third-straight possession, giving Rogers and the Sequoyah offense the ball on their own 22.
Senior fullback Timmy Swaney quickly got the drive started with a 10-yard blast up the middle. Rogers then did the rest.
Taking the snap and optioning right, the Chiefs' senior signal caller faked the pitch and cut back to the middle, where he found a running lane that led him 68 yards into the end zone, giving Sequoyah a 31-21 lead following a Shawn Wortham extra point kick with 7:26 left to play.
But while the Chiefs held the momentum, Cass's fight was far from over.
Starting the ensuing possession on its own 38, the Colonels marched 62 yards in 11 plays and used up just 3:13 off the clock before pulling back to within three, 31-28, on a 22-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback Elijah Windom to senior receiver Jay Stephens.
The Cass defense then stepped up to deliver a three-and-out stand on Sequoyah's next series, giving Windom and the Colonels offense one last shot, starting from their own 22 with 1:53 remaining.
A sack by Chiefs' senior Jordan Basone backed Cass up four yards on first down, before Windom found senior Jordan Wright on a 20-yard competition. But after Basone brought down Stephens from behind in the middle of the field on a 3-yard reception, Windom had to spike the ball to stop the clock on second down. His deep pass attempt to Wright on third down went incomplete thanks to blanket coverage by Sequoyah senior defensive back Carter Bragg, forcing fourth-and-7 from the 41, where he was dropped at the line of scrimmage by Chiefs' junior Mitchell Smith to end the rally.
"This is huge win for us," said Teter, whose Chiefs lost to Creekview and Johns Creek before knocking off Northwest Whitfield on Sept. 10. "We challenged the kids after the Johns Creek loss about how they were going to respond as far as practice, game prep and everything else, and they've handled it very well.
"We've had two great weeks of practice, and as long as we can continue to do what we've done the last two weeks, we'll be fine."
"It was mistakes that killed us, and at critical times, too," Cass coach Rick Casko said after his team committed three first half turnovers and had a mix-up on its defensive set that led to a 53-yard run by Rogers on the first play of the second half -- setting up a Sequoyah touchdown run two plays later. "You can't make the type of mistakes we did tonight and win football games.
"But I will say this for our kids, they fought all the way and played hard from start to finish. Now we just have to go back to work and get ready for next week."
Complementing Rogers' outing for the Chiefs, Swaney rushed for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17 touches, while junior Obie Myers had 58 total yards and a rushing touchdown.
Windom highlighted the Colonels' outing by completing 20 passes to eight different receivers for 256 yards and four scores. Stephens hauled in six passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns, senior Tarris Batiste had six grabs for 49 yards and a score, and Wright caught two balls for 76 yards and a touchdown.
Looking to get back in the win column, Cass travels to South Forsyth (2-1) on Sept. 24 for a 7:30 p.m. start.
1 2 3 4 F
CAS 0 14 7 7 28
SEQ 7 7 10 7 31
SEQ -- Obie Myers 11-yd run (Shawn Wortham kick), 0:00
CAS -- Jay Stephens 18-yd pass from Elijah Windom (Guadalupe Rangel kick), 6:41
SEQ: Timmy Swaney 3-yd run (Wortham kick), 4:51
CAS -- Jordan Wright 56-yd pass from Windom 56 pass Jordan Wright (Rangel kick), 4:30
SEQ -- Swaney 6-yd run (Wortham kick), 10:36
CAS -- Tarris Batiste 21-yd pass from Windom (Rangel kick), 8:48
SEQ -- Wortham 22-yd FG, 4:14
SEQ -- Ben Rogers 68-yd run (Wortham kick), 7:26
CAS -- Stephens 22-yd pass from Windom (Rangel kick), 4:13
Plays 69 60
First downs 16 18
Rushes-yds 24-61 42-259
Passing yds 256 76
Comp-Att-Int 20-40-1 3-11-0
Total yds 317 335
Penalties 6-28 6-55
Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-2
Punts-yds 5-164 6-193
Rushing -- Cass: Michael Saunders 8-24, Jay Stephens 3-18, Elijah Windom 9-14, Tarris Batiste 1-4, Kelin Wells 1-3, Tony Mitchell 1-(-1), Ronnie Lafollette 1-(-1); Sequoyah: Ben Rogers 6-113-1, Timmy Swaney 17-100-2, Obie Myers 8-23-1, Stuart Glassic 7-12, Josh Adamson 4-11.
Passing -- Cass: Windom 20-40-256-4-1; Sequoyah: Rogers 3-11-76-0-0.
Receiving -- Cass: Stephens 6-86-2, Jordan Wright 2-76-1, Batiste 6-49-1, Saunders 2-23, Jozell Payne 1-17, Mitchell 2-6, Chad Taylor 1-0, Lafollette 1-(-1); Sequoyah: Myers 1-35, Glassic 1-27, Brandon Alexander 1-14.