Huntland no match for hot Rockets
It was cold, misty, and muddy in Huntland Friday night, but that did stop the red-hot Forrest Rockets from taking care of business in their quest for a coveted post-season playoff spot, dominating the Hornets 40-7.
Forrest head coach Kyle Stacey said after the game, "In the past we have struggled with those big games, but right now I feel like our kids are peaking at the right time and playing with a lot of confidence. They are practicing well and still have a lot of enthusiasm about themselves. It shows me that this team is really gelling together and coming together at the right time."
On defense, Forrest smothered Huntland's offense, allowing just 127 total yards.
Defensive coordinator's Brian Coleman's 11-man wrecking crew has held seven of their eight opponents this year to single digit scoring nights, allowing a stingy 8.5 points per game.
The torn-up, muddied tract could not slow down a balanced Rocket offensive unit that featured a 235-yard ground attack and an efficient aerial assault for 106 more yards.
Tailback Levell Quezaire continued his great season, slicing the Hornet defense for 118 yards and a score, leaving the talented senior just 94 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark for the campaign.
Sophomore sensation Zach Ray (468 yards) once again complimented Quezaire with 71 yards and scored his 8th touchdown of the season.
FHS quarterback junior Dane Leonard had four completions in seven attempts, but three of the sophomore's tosses went for touchdowns.
Playmaking Taylor Abrigo had TD receptions of 29 and 35 yards and senior Casey Franklin hauled in his first touchdown of the year from 31 yards out.
Offensive coordinator Jimmy Henson's unit has averaged 27.5 points per game on the year and has scored 132 points in its last four ballgames.
Forrest took the opening kick-off and ran five plays before they had to punt.
The Hornets went nowhere, gaining just two yards on three plays.
Ray returned the Huntland punt to the Hornet 37-yard line where the Forrest offense went to work.
Quezaire went for 8 yards on first down and scored an apparent touchdown on second down, but the play was called back on a holding penalty on the Rockets.
On the next play, Leonard found Abrigo loose in the secondary for a 35-yard score. Angel Reyes booted the extra point through the uprights for a 78-0 Rocket lead with 6:12 left in the period.
The Rocket 'D' stymied Huntland again on another three and out.
Forrest moved the ball on their next series, eating up the first quarter clock, but some penalties stopped the drive and Forrest punted the ball away.
For the third series in a row, the Rockets defense allowed nothing and Huntland had to punt.
Ray had a nice punt return to the Huntland 34-yard line and two plays later, Leonard found a wide-open Franklin at the Hornet goal line for a touchdown.
Reyes' extra point was good; giving FHS a 14-0 lead with 9:24 left in the first half.
The Hornets had no answers for the Forrest defense and went three and out for the fourth consecutive time.
Abrigo returned the punt for a score, but the play was called back on a hold.
Another long Abrigo score was called back by penalty on the same drive and Forrest gave up the ball on downs with 3:01 left in the half.
The biggest play of the game took place three plays into Huntland's next possession when Logan Scott picked off a Clay Robertson pass, deep in Hornet territory at the 27-yard line.
Quezaire did all the work on the ground on four plays, bouncing off a Hornet tackler and backing into the end zone for a touchdown from seven yards out with 38.9 seconds left in the half.
Huntland got the ball to begin the third quarter, but ran into a brick wall defense and went three and done again.
Forrest fumbled the ball back to Huntland, but could not move an inch, going three and out for an incredible sixth straight time in the ballgame.
Abrigo had a 23-yard punt return into Huntland territory to the 38-yard line and scored two plays later on a 35-yard toss from Leonard, putting the game away at 27-0.
Stacey began free substitutions at this point and Huntland finally got something going on offense, driving the ball to the Forrest 40 yard before the Rockets stopped them on downs with just 3.9 second left in the third quarter.
The Rockets took the Huntland punt at their own 42-yard line and on the first play, backup QB Brooks Lamb handed the ball to Ray, who scooted through the Hornet defense and down the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown.
Richie Smith scored the Rockets' final touchdown on a nine yard run with 9:12 left in the game, making it 40-0.
Huntland did not want to be shut out on their home field and called timeout with just a few seconds left in the game before Zach Womack scored on a 3-yard TD, making the final score 40-7.
Forrest (7-1, 3-1) travels to Unionville Friday night to take on winless Community (0-8, 0-5).
Stacey and the Rockets will not take the Vikings for granted, saying, "Community has had a tough year. I remember going over there two years ago when they were having a tough year too and they gave us a pretty good game. We just have to keep our guard up against that and go out and play ball and take care of business."