A 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior perhaps played the biggest role in Friday night’s Hoosier Conference showdown between Class 2A powers No. 3 Tipton and No. 7 Rensselaer.
But not in the way most people would expect. It was the leg of Luke Robertson that helped the Bombers to a mild 9-7 upset over the visiting Blue Devils.
Robertson’s 41-yard field goal accounted for the only points of the first half. His two first-half kickoffs and punts also helped the hosts win the field position battle.
“Their kicking game won that football game to be honest,” Tipton coach Aaron Tolle said. “They had the field goal to start off, consistently punted the ball deep and put a couple of kickoffs in the end zone which means we had to drive 80 yards which is a big deal in high school football.”
Robertson’s kickoff to start the game resulted in a touchback. Rensselaer then forced Tipton into a three-and-out and the Bombers began their first drive at their own 48. Six plays later, Robertson split the uprights with that 41-yard boot that would have been good from 50. An 18-yard pass from Dylan Wright to Avery Walker set up the kick that put the hosts up 3-0 with 6:42 remaining in the first quarter.
“Starting the game off with the touchback, our defense digging in and kicking the field goal to put points on the board was big,” Rensselaer coach Chris Meeks said. “Converting a 40-plus yard field goal and getting up 3-0 was really important.”
The first half became a defensive battle. Tipton had just 61 yards of offense and four first downs in the half and two of those first downs came with time running out.
Rensselaer had 75 yards of offense and three first downs in the first 24 minutes.
“I thought whoever won the line of scrimmage would win the game,” Tolle said. “They teed off on our running game to their credit. Both defenses were outstanding tonight. We need to find more offense, but that said we were only one play away from winning it.”