The Forrest Rockets pulled off one of their biggest wins in school history in dramatic fashion Friday night in Wartrace, shocking the Cascade Champions 23-20 in overtime.
Junior quarterback Brooks Lamb ran in the walk-off touchdown from 10-yards out for Forrest after Jared Carcuff's 23-yard field goal gave Cascade a 20-17 lead in the first possession of overtime.
The Rockets trailed for much of the contest, falling behind by ten points twice at 10-0 at the end of the first quarter and 17-7 early in the third quarter before storming back in to tie with five minutes remaining in the game.
Forrest had a chance to win the contest with just over a minute to go in the fourth quarter, but an Angel Reyes field goal attempt sailed right of the crossbar.
Forrest received the opening kickoff to start the game, but had to punt after three plays and the hometown Champions opened the scoring with a ten-play drive that covered 79 yards, capped off by a Carcuff 16-yard touchdown strike to Carson Tarpley.
The Rockets could not muster any offense and were forced to punt the ball away again after the Cascade touchdown.
A Jakiel Hughes 58-yard jaunt on first down gave Cascade the ball at the Rocket 12-yard line, but the Forrest defense held and the Champions had to settle for a 25-yard Carcuff field goal.
A Richie Smith first down run for Forrest ended the first quarter, and with 10:53 left in the first half, the Rockets faced a big fourth down and one yard to go at their own 40-yard line.
Stacey called timeout to think it over, but it was not for long as Lamb delivered on a quarterback sneak for the first down, and the Forrest offense continued the march towards the Cascade goal line. Zach Ray finally lit the scoreboard for the Rockets with a 10-yard touchdown run and an Angel Reyes extra point made it a 10-7 ballgame.
After the Forrest score, Cascade methodically marched the football towards the Rockets' endzone, but a big defensive stand changed the course of the first half, and probably the game.
On a second down and four, senior linebacker Ronald Osborn stoned Hughes in the hole for no gain before a Carcuff incompletion set up a fourth down play from the 17-yard line.
Deciding not to go for the field goal, Carcuff dropped back to pass and was under heavy pressure before being sacked by Tyler McClendon, giving the ball to Forrest on downs.
The Rockets would let the clock run out, trailing by just three points at the half.
Cascade came out after the break and went 80 yards, while burning seven and a half minutes off the clock before Carcuff scored on a one-yard run to make it a ten-point game again at 17-7.
The Rockets answered the call quickly, scoring six plays later on a 55-yard hookup from Lamb to Jacob Daughrity.
Reyes extra point was true and the Rockets were back in the game at 17-14 with 1:47 remaining in the third quarter.
An unsportsmanlike penalty on Carcuff on the extra point stoked the Rockets and their fans and that fire in their belly was still burning when Logan Wheeler delivered a big hit on a second down run by Hughes.
Lamb said about the penalty, "Momentum is a big thing and we got a big swing down here on the PAT when Angel (Reyes) got hit. Everybody cares about him so much and we got so excited after that play and we really went after it from there."
Two plays later, the Champions punted, but a 61-yard laser by Carcuff forced the Rockets to start at their own 20-yard line.
The Rockets drove the ball to the Cascade 34-yard line before Daughrity picked up a Forrest fumble and rumbled to the 25-yard line and a first down.
A facemask penalty on the Daughrity run against Cascade gave the Rockets the ball at the ten.
The Champions bowed up on defense and held the Rockets on three straight plays short of the goal line before Reyes tied the contest at 17 when he drilled a 28-yard field goal with 5:18 remaining in the game.
Cascade got the football and began to drive, but once again, it was Daughrity coming through for the Rockets' defense when he picked off a Carcuff pass at the Champions' 46-yard line.
The Rockets kept the ball on the ground and drove to the Cascade 24-yard line where Reyes came out for the attempted go-ahead field goal try with 1:15 left in the game.
The usually reliable Reyes pushed the kick wide right, giving Cascade the ball with the game still knotted at 17.
The Champions could not mount a game winning drive and the contest went to overtime.
Forrest won the overtime toss and elected to play defense first.
After three plays, Carcuff put Cascade up 20-17 with a 23-yard field goal.
Forrest took its turn on offense from the 10-yard line, and after a first down incompletion, Lamb took off on the quarterback option and ran around the right corner, nearly untouched in to the end zone for the game winner.
"Our entire team stepped up tonight," said Lamb. "We were not going to settle for a field goal in overtime. We thought about it, talked about, but our team decided we were going to go for the touchdown, win or lose and it ended up paying off for us."
Lamb led the Rockets in rushing with 90 yards on 18 carries and passed for 80 yards as he went 3-8 in the pocket.
Ray ran for 61 yards on 10 attempts, Brandon Beech rushed for 33 yards on seven touches, and Smith had 21 yards on five carries.
Smith had one catch for 8 yards, Daughrity had the 55-yard touchdown reception, and Brandon Anderson had one big third down catch for 17 yards.
For Cascade, Carcuff threw for 100 yards and ran for 26, while Hughes had a huge game on the ground, running for 207 yards on 30 carries.
Forrest (7-2, 4-1) can clinch second place in the final district standings and a bye in the first round with a win versus Moore County (6-3, 3-2) this Friday night under the lights at 7:00 p.m. in Lynchburg.
"The playoffs are coming up and we are really starting to click at the right time," said Lamb. "Just like every week, we have to have the best week of practice this week with no let up and go to Moore County and hopefully get that win and then we will be in great shape for the playoffs."