Rockets dealt 16-14 setback by Eagleville
For the second year in a row, the Eagleville Eagles dealt the Forrest Rockets a big blow on a quest to the top of the District 9A standings with the latest setback coming at the "Rock" in Chapel Hill Friday night as the Rockets fell by two points 16-14.
The Rockets (4-2, 1-1) were undefeated at 3-0 last season when they travelled to Eagleville and lost 14-10, but this time the tables were turned with the Eagles (7-0, 3-0) coming in unblemished.
The Rockets had an early chance to take charge, moving the ball for four plays on their opening drive before Andrew Jernigan picked off a Brooks Lamb pass and ran to the Rocket 30-yard line before being tackled.
Eagleville capitalized on the turnover when Nathan Jernigan went into the Forrest end zone three minutes later from the five-yard line for a 7-0 Eagleville lead.
The Rockets could not get anything going on their next drive and had to punt after five plays.
Things became bleak for the hometown Rockets when the Eagles proceeded to march on a twelve play, 78-yard drive that ended with Andrew Jernigan catching a pass from big brother Nathan from 19-yards out with 11:35 remaining in the first half.
The extra point kick was wide left and the Rockets trailed 13-0.
The Rockets buckled up their chinstraps and embarked on a long drive of their own that took over seven minutes and covered 74 yards with senior Zach Ray capping the effort with a two-yard touchdown run.
Angel Reyes converted the extra point to cut the Eagleville lead to 13-7.
What many Forrest fans thought was the turning point of the game took place after the Rockets stopped Eagleville on their next drive and forced a punt that Ray fielded and returned 80 yards for an apparent touchdown.
Out of nowhere, a yellow hankie fell to ground and it was holding against the Rockets, negating the Ray return.
Forrest would not score on that last drive of the first half and trailed by the six-point margin at halftime.
The game entered the fourth quarter with the same score as the defenses took control of the third period as neither allowed any points.
The clock kept on ticking on the Rockets and Eagleville added to its lead on a 41-yard field goal by Lee Blakemore with 10:28 remaining in the game, giving the Eagles a 16-7 lead.
The turnover bug bit Forrest hard on the next series when they fumbled after driving deep into Eagleville territory at the 15-yard line.
Forrest forced a three and out to stay in the game, and on the next play, the Rockets used some razzle-dazzle on the halfback option pass for a 61-yard touchdown from Ray to Jacob Daughrity with just under three minutes to go in the game.
The Rockets elected to go with an onside kick, but Eagleville fell on the ball and ran out the game clock to end the battle of the close rivals.
The Rockets' back-to back losses to the Eagles was preceded by four straight wins, dating back to 2006.
Forrest travels to winless MTCS (0-6, 0-3) Friday, while the undefeated and number eight ranked Eagles celebrate with a bye week.
Ray led the Rocket offense with 89 yards on the ground on 19 carries with one rushing touchdown, plus the 61-yard touchdown toss to Daughrity.
Brandon Beech had a nice game with 57 yards rushing on eight carries for Forrest and Lamb was 3-7 in the air for 32 yards and had one pass picked off.
Daughrity finished with two catches for 105 yards.
Nathan Jernigan ran for 149 yards on 25 carries and passed for 86 yards on eight throws.