Rockets run over Vikings for homecoming win
The Forrest Rockets did what needed to be done, beating Community 34-20 in a game that did not have any playoff implications attached to it, but there were plenty of reasons to win.
Attaining a homecoming night victory is always important to the Rockets, and they did that.
Gaining momentum for the final regular season match-up for the last playoff spot in Region 5A was important, and they did that.
Establishing the ground game for the second week in a row is what wins games in the playoffs, and they did that, gaining 303 yards.
Resting a few players with some nagging injuries and still winning, they did that.
Now it all comes down to one game.
The Rockets travel to Middle Tennessee Christian School on Halloween night to battle the Cougars in what Forrest head coach Kyle Stacey called "the first round of the playoffs."
Win and in, lose and go home, that is what Friday night is all about.
Stacey told his team after the contest, "It all boils down to next week, the season is on the line. Whoever wins goes to the playoffs. MTCS is a good team; they are not the same team we played last season. We have to take that kind attitude in practice all next week."
Hayden Cook covered a short kick-off by Community at the 50-yard line and the Rockets drove the remaining half of the field, all on the ground, scoring on a 34-yard run by quarterback Colin Henson. The PAT was blocked and Forrest led, 6-0.
Community took the ensuing kick-off to their own 46-yard line and on the first play, Henson stepped in front of a Justin Stallings pass for an interception.
The Rockets drove the ball to the Community 15-yard line where Henson ran in another touchdown, but as has happened all too much in the previous weeks, the play was called back on a penalty.
The penalty caused the drive to stall and the Rockets turned the ball over on downs as the first quarter ended.
Community came back on the next drive to tie the contest on a 63-yard scamper by Justin Crowell. The Rockets blocked the PAT to keep the game knotted at six.
The Rockets had another nice drive stopped on a block in the back penalty and were forced to punt. FHS punter Richard Hardin angled the ball out of bounds at the Community 13-yard line to keep the field position in the Rockets' favor.
The Vikings went three and out, punting the ball back to Forrest, who took over at their 46-yard line.
The Rockets fumbled on second down and Jarred Bennett recovered for the Vikings with 3:50 left in the half.
The Rocket defense stoned Community on four plays in the next possession to take over on downs at their own 37-yard line.
On first down, Henson tossed a perfect strike to Taylor Abrigo, covering 25 yards, down to the Viking ten. Henson raced in around the right end for the score and Levell Quezaire pounded in the two-point conversion for a 14-6 Rocket lead with 2:24 left in the half.
The Rockets came up with the game changing play on Community's first play after the score when senior Jordan Branham got his first interception on a deflection to put the Rockets in business at the Viking 45-yard line.
On third down, Henson dropped back and found Abrigo for a 42-yard touchdown strike and a 20-6 lead.
Another Henson interception at the 50-yard line ended the first half with Forrest in control.
The Rockets came out of the locker room for the halftime break on a mission and completed the task when Will McPherson hammered the Community return man, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Logan Wheeler at the 26-yard line.
Lightning struck Community once again in the form of another Henson to Abrigo touchdown pass on first down. Abrigo's PAT was good and Forrest had a commanding 27-6 lead.
Community still could not get anything going and turned the ball back over on downs to the Rockets with just under ten minutes to go.
The Rockets put the icing on the homecoming cake on a 30-yard Zach Ray run on a draw play with 6:48 left in the third quarter to lead 34-6.
Stacey began to rotate some subs, Community scored two late touchdowns, but it was to no avail with the final score being Forrest 34, Community 20.
"We found some weak areas to take advantage of in our option running game and scored some points on offense," said Stacey in the post game interview. "We also found a weak spot in their secondary and got some mismatches that we scored on."
"We are in position," Stacey said. "MTCS is a good football team and they can make school history by making the playoffs. I expect an all out war next Friday night."
Henson led the Rocket ground attack with 118 yards on 17 carries. Ray banged out 83 yards on 11 touches, Quezaire had 47 yards, Tyler Klaren went for 27 yards, and Abrigo had 22 yards on the ground and another 68 yards through the air from Henson.