FMS Rockets drop season opener

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
FMS running back Joseph Williams (26) breaks a tackle on his way to a first quarter touchdown that gave the Rockets a 6-0 lead. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The FMS Rockets opened up the 2011 football season in Marshall County Thursday night in Chapel Hill versus the MTCS Cougars and it all looked good early on as Bart Joyce's squad took an early 8-0 lead before several costly turnovers spoiled the fun in a 38-14 loss.

"Turnovers killed us," said Joyce after the game. "We had two picks and two fumbles in bad parts of the field and they took it in for scores and we just could not recover from that."

Forrest's Tyler Adcock took the opening kickoff and rambled up to the FMS 49-yard line before Joyce called eighth grade running back Joseph Williams' number for four consecutive plays and it paid off as Williams gained 39 yards on the four touches.

The Rockets had the ball on the twelve, and after a first down loss of one yard, Williams rumbled to the nine yard line, and then into the endzone on the next play for a touchdown.

Joyce kept the pigskin in Williams' hands for the two-point conversion that was good and the Rockets led 8-0.

"That was a great first drive," said Joyce. "The linemen were firing off and making some holes and looked good. After that we got flat, I don't know what happened."

MTCS's Joseph Peck took the ensuing Forrest kickoff to the 31-yard line where the Cougar offense took over.

Peck hauled in a first down pass from Jackson Sullivan for an eighteen-yard gain to the 47 and then Peck ran five more yards to the 42-yard line.

On second down, Sullivan tried another pass to Peck, but Payton Sisk broke it up.

MTCS fumbled on the next play, but Trey Hickey fell on the ball to keep the Cougars' drive alive.

Rocket defensive lineman Landen Jones (21) sacks MTCS quarterback Jackson Sullivan (7) on a fourth down and eight play in the first quarter Thursday night in Chapel Hill in FMS' season opener.

The Cougars elected to go for it on fourth and eight from the 45-yard line, but Landen Jones busted through the line, sacking Sullivan and the Rockets took over on downs.

The Rockets could not muster a first down on their next drive and gave it up on downs as the second quarter began.

The Rocket defense stopped the Cougars on three downs and lined up for the punt before Sullivan found Peck wide open on the fake punt pass for a 28-yard gain.

The Cougars faced another fourth down situation at the FMS 27-yard line and this time Sullivan's pass was on the mark to Peck over the middle.

Peck took it to paydirt and converted the two-point conversion, tying the game at eight with 3:35 remaining in the first half.

FMS's next drive saw them in great field position at their own 38-yard line before disaster struck when Brayden Melton sacked the FMS quarterback and stole the ball.

Melton took the rock to the endzone for a touchdown and Sullivan found Taylor McCrary for a successful two-point conversion as the Cougars took a 16-8 lead with 2:33 left in the half.

Adcock handled the MTCS kickoff and ran the ball to the 27-yard line.

One play later, McCrary picked off a pass for the Cougars, and one play after the interception, Sullivan hooked up with Peck for a touchdown.

The two-point conversion try was no good as MTCS led 22-8.

Forrest was trying to get some points on the board before the half ended, calling timeout with 49.6 seconds left before the Rockets shot themselves in the foot with a crucial fumble at their own 22-yard line that was recovered by Hickey.

Two plays later, Melton scored and Sullivan found Parker Phillips for two more points to extend the Cougar lead to 30-8.

Williams kept the Rockets' hopes alive when he ran back the ensuing kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown, but the conversion was no good and the half ended with the Cougars leading 30-14.

On the first drive of the second half, MTCS held on to the ball for almost the entire third quarter, leaving FMS with just two plays as the fourth quarter began.

"They put together a good drive, played good clock management, and they kept the ball and drove it down the field," said Joyce. "We just couldn't get that big third down stop and that is what we needed."

Forrest could not muster any offense on the drive and gave the ball over on downs.

The Rockets also stopped MTCS on downs, but they chewed up much of the fourth quarter and there was time for one more FMS drive.

The Rockets, behind some good running Kain Harrison and Sisk took the ball all the way to the MTCS ten-yard line before the game ended.

"We go visit a good Cascade ballclub next week," said Joyce. "We have to get prepared. We have to get back to practice, forget about this, and learn from our mistakes."