ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford College Regents football team ended the 2012 season with a 47-20 loss to the Aurora University Spartans on senior day at Sam Greeley Field on Saturday. It was a slow start to the game for both teams as the Regents struggled to move the ball in their first three possessions which all resulted in punts. Aurora's first two drives ended with a turnover on downs in Rockford territory and an interception by junior free safety Jacob Arnold (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North). Aurora would eventually get on the board first with a 3-yard touchdown run with 6 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter.
Aurora's offense would carry that momentum into the 2nd quarter as they would find the endzone on their next 3 possessions to take a 27-0 lead into the half. Aurora then started the 3rd quarter with the ball and drove the length of the field for another score before the Regents offense would respond. On 4th and 2 from Aurora's 33 yard line, sophomore quarterback Jacob Gorsuch (Rockford, Ill./Jefferson) faked a hand off and rolled out to his left connecting with sophomore tight end Dane Kirk (Rochelle, Ill./Rochelle) for a 29 yard gain to the Aurora 4 yard line. This led to a 2 yard touchdown run by sophomore linebacker Seth Swinehart (Rockford, Ill./East). It was the second career rush attempt for the Regents middle linebacker who subbed in at running back once the Regents were inside the Aurora 5 yard line.
The Regents found the endzone twice in the 4th quarter to cut into the Spartan lead. The first touchdown was set up by a 88-yard kickoff return by junior wide receiver Delroy Russell (Richmond, Calif./Albany) who appeared to be on his way into the endzone, before tripping over a teammate at the Aurora 10-yard line. Gorsuch would then find Kirk in the back of the endzone on 4th down for the touchdown. After an Aurora fumble on the next possession, Rockford drove the field but the season appeared to end on an incomplete pass as time expired; However, a roughing the passer penalty would give the Regents one untimed down at the Aurora 2 yard line. Senior running back Isaiah Whack (Deltona, Fla./Deltona) would take the toss and bang his way into the endzone for a touchdown on the final carry of his career and of the 2012 season.
The Regents defense on Saturday was led by sophomore linebacker Trey Loggins (Gainesville, Ga./North Georgia Christian) as he finished with a game-high 10 tackles. Senior strong safety Andrew Hildebrand (Belvidere, Ill./North) finished with 7 tackles and a forced fumble in his final collegiate game.
The Regents finished the 2012 season with a 2-8 record, 1-6 NAC. It's the most wins for the Regents since 2008 when the Regents went 2-8, 2-5 NAC. The Regents picked up their first conference win since 2009 and their first home win since 2008. Junior running back Matthew Botello (Whittier, Calif./Pioneer) ended 2012 as the Regents leading rusher with 917 rushing yards which was 3rd best in the NAC. Botello also found the endzone three times during the 2012 season. Junior cornerback EJ Johnson (Bakersfield, Calif./Bakersfield) finished the season with a NAC high 7 interceptions which is also 1 shy of the Rockford single season record of 8 set by Tom Marcum in 2006.
The Regents football team should be in good shape heading into 2013 as they only lose 4 seniors from this year's team and expect to return their quarterback, leading rusher, leading receiver, and leading tackler from 2012.