Rockets roll in home opener
After posting a 1-1 record on a two-week road to begin the season, the Forrest Rockets returned home to "The Rock" Friday night for a District 9-A match-up versus Community, and after allowing an early Viking touchdown, the Chapel Hill squad turned up the heat to win going away 35-14.
"You think you should be happy, but there was just so many mental mistakes we have to fix," said FHS head coach Joe Moos. "I am proud for what they did and for winning the game. We practice and put them in the game situations of what is going to happen and sometimes they do it and sometimes they don't. It's just aggravating because I care for them and want them to be the best they can be."
Forrest was on the short end of the turnover battle in their first two games, but scored twice in the first half after Unionville fumbles on a punt and a kickoff.
"Praise Jesus, how about that," said Moos.
The Rockets also added a special team's score on a Jacob Daughrity 70-yard punt return.
Community was handed great field position at the Rockets' 22-yard line for their second possession of the contest when Forrest fumbled a punt snap.
The Vikings drove the ball to the Forrest goal line where Austin Lees punched it in from 1-yard out and Quinn Frost added the extra point boot with 5:45 remaining in the first quarter.
"I just told the guys not to panic after they scored," said Moos. "Community is a lot better team than they used to be and we just had to play the ball that we try to play. We weren't frantic, I said just calm down and get back to what we wanted to do and that is what we did."
The Rockets could not manage any offense after the Community score, but the momentum turned in Forrest's favor when Cage Hargrove got a huge lick on Community's punt returner that knocked the ball loose and Dakota Zimmerman recovered the pigskin at the Vikings' 23-yard line.
Brooks Lamb scored on a quarterback run two plays later from the 20-yard line and Andrew Charles added the PAT to knot the game at 7 with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
The Forrest defense was buoyed by the touchdown and held the Vikings to a three-and-out.
The Community punt was a good one, travelling all the way to the Forrest 30-yard line where Daughrity caught the ball and electrified the Chapel Hill faithful when he beat several Vikings' special teamers' tackles before breaking up field to daylight for a 70-yard touchdown.
"I was kind of nervous at first, I was hearing coach Moos yelling get away, get away, so when I caught it I just followed my blockers and had to score," said Daughrity.
Charles' extra point try was true and the Rockets would never trail in the contest again.
Charles floated the ensuing kickoff into a Community hole where Brandon Beech fell on the football at the Vikings' 39-yard line.
After an incomplete pass on first down, Beech ran the ball three straight times where Forrest had a second down and one at the Community 20-yard as the first quarter time ran out with the Rockets leading 14-7.
Three plays into the second quarter, Lamb rambled twelve yards for his second touchdown of the game and Charles added the PAT to make it a 21-7 ballgame with 10:51 remaining in the first half.
Both squads punted on their next possessions, but with 4:14 left in the first half, Frost pitched to Darian Pride on an option play and the freshman took it to the house from 63-yards out.
Frost added the PAT to cut the Rockets' lead to 21-14.
Community had a chance to slice into the Rockets' lead even more when they fell on a Forrest first-down run fumble, but coughed it right back up to the home team one play later and the first half would end with Unionville trailing by a touchdown.
Forrest went three-and-out to begin the second half and Community had to punt after a short drive on their first touch.
The Rockets started inside their own 10-yard line on their second possession and pushed the ball up to the 39-yard line on two runs each by Richie Smith and Beech and a ten-yard scamper by Trevor Wellisley before facing a fourth and one at the 39-yard line.
Moos decided to go for it and a Lamb hard-count drew the Vikings offside and gave Forrest a first down at the 44.
Daughrity took a handoff from Lamb and followed his blockers through a hole before racing 56 yards for a touchdown.
Charles' fourth extra point try of the game was good, giving Forrest a 28-14 lead with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter.
Community was stymied by the Forrest defense on their next two possessions and the game went to the fourth quarter where the game was put on ice with 5:31 remaining when Beech busted into the end zone from three yards out to make it 35-14.
Community's last touch ended on downs and the Rockets went into the victory formation to run out the clock for the victory.
The Rockets (2-1) go on the road for the third time in four weeks as they take a long yellow bus ride up to Robertson County for a contest with White House-Heritage (1-2), while the Vikings (1-2) travel to McEwen (0-2), who had the week off.
Moos smiled and said, "You get one home game and then you got to go back to Egypt or Africa, this week it's China, but one thing about our kids is they are they are resilient and they bounced back and I am proud of them for that."
"I am beginning to hate the inside of a school bus," said Lamb. "The only good thing about going on the road is we stop and coach Moos feeds us."
The Rockets amassed 330 yards on the ground with Beech earning the century mark in rushing for the first time in his career, carrying the rock 18 times for 100 yards.
Daughrity rushed for 61 yards on just two carries, Smith toted the football 13 times for 58 yards and Wellisley garnered 56 yards on five carries.
"You have got to have guys to relieve you when you are always pounding it," said Beech. "When you are exhausted you have to have guys come in and I think we have the best backfield there is. Trevor really stepped up this week and did a great job after Dontay (Baugh) got hurt in that last game."
Lamb also ran five times for 55 and two touchdowns and went 4-11 for 30 yards in the air with no interceptions.
"In my opinion, that is the best Community team I have ever played from middle school to today," said Lamb. "They kind of shocked us when they scored first, so I have to give them a lot of credit, they were good and played a hard game."
Wide receiver Thaddeus Reyes turned in a nice performance, catching 3 balls for 28 yards and Daughrity snatched one pass for 2 yards.