Rockets jettison MTCS in homecoming win
The Forrest Rockets looked like a different team than the one that limped out of Eagleville last week as they bounced back with a convincing 34-6 homecoming win over MTCS (0-7, 0-3) Friday night at "The Rock" in Chapel Hill.
"It's always good to win on homecoming, no matter how or by how much, it's fun," said FHS senior quarterback Brooks Lamb. "It's important to get this win tonight because it's a district win and if we can win out, we can be sure to be in the playoffs."
Forrest (3-2, 2-1) ran over the Cougars, amassing 269 yards on the ground with Brandon Beech and Richie Smith both surpassing the 100-yard mark in the game.
Beech did not play last week, but returned to the lineup and released his pent up energy in a big way, going wild with a 120 yards on 10 carries and scored three touchdowns.
"I definitely have to give credit to my line, we worked hard all week and got the line better this week," said Beech. "We were more focused before the game and I think we came out and gave it our all today."
Smith was a bull, running over a slew of Cougar tacklers on his way to a 100 yards rushing on seven carries and one touchdown.
"Man, this felt great and it will bring back memories when we are all there on the sidelines watching our hometown doing the same thing we did in 2012," said Smith
Forrest won the all-important turnover battle, sporting a 3-1 edge with their only giveaway coming late in the game due to a fumble by the second team offense.
Thaddeus Reyes, Cage Hargrove and Joseph Williams each had an interception to account for the Rockets' three takeaways in the contest.
Reyes' picked off starting quarterback Brent Hofbauer on the Cougars' first possession and the turnover led to instant points with Beech scoring three plays later on a 14-yard run at the 9:10 mark of the first quarter.
The extra point by Andrew Charles was good for a 7-0 FHS lead.
MTCS held the ball for five minutes on their next touch, but turned the ball over on downs at the Forrest 30-yard line after three straight incomplete passes by Justin Winn, who relieved Hofbauer at QB.
The first quarter ended with the Rockets leading 7-0 and the Cougars had the ball, facing a third down and ten at the Forrest 41-yard line.
Two plays into the second quarter, Winn found freshman Trey Hickey for 35 yards down to the Forrest one and on the next play, Brayden Melton busted into the end zone for touchdown.
Thomas Goodwyn's PAT was no good as the Rockets held a one-point lead with 11:04 remaining in the first half.
Forrest turned up the heat in the rushing attack, scoring after five consecutive handoffs, including a Smith 17-yard rumble and four touches by Beech totaling 39 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run.
Charles' kick after touchdown was true again, giving the Rockets a 14-6 lead with 9:11 remaining in the first half.
MTCS put together another long drive, lasting almost six minutes before it was thwarted with Hargrove picking off Winn at the Rockets' 25-yard with just over four minutes to play in the first half.
A Beech long touchdown run on the first play after the turnover was called back on a holding penalty, but Forrest dug in as Lamb ran twice for 19 yards and completed a pair of passes to Jacob Daughrity and Reyes before Beech scored again from five yards out with 1:03 remaining in the first half.
Charles' PAT made it 21-6 and that was the score to begin the second half.
The Forrest defense came up huge once again, stopping the Cougars on the initial drive of the second half on a fourth down play at the FHS 36-yard line.
On the next play, Lamb went 64 yards for a score, but the run was negated on an illegal block in the back.
Forrest still had the ball at the Cougars' 28-yard line after the penalty and on the next play, Smith took the handoff, applied a devastating stiff arm on a Cougar defender and proceeded to rumble and bumble down to the MTCS 2-yard line.
The Smith run fired up the huge homecoming crowd and two plays later, Lamb busted into the end zone for a commanding 28-6 Forrest lead.
The Rocket defense bent, but did not break, taking the ball away on downs with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Lamb hooked up with Daughrity twice on the next drive, including a long pass and run after catch to the MTCS 6-yard line where Smith put the nail in the coffin with a touchdown run to make it 34-6.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, FHS head coach Moos inserted the second team offense and the game ended with Forrest winning by the 28-point margin.
Lamb ran for 49 yards on six carries and scored once and the senior signal caller threw for 124 aerial yards, completing seven out of ten attempts in the ballgame.
Daughrity was Lamb's main target, catching four balls for 104 yards and turned in a 32-yard punt return and a 28-yard kickoff return.
On defense, Byron McCulloch made 11 tackles, Logan Ray had nine takedowns, Zach Osborne had eight, Hargrove made 7, and Brandon Anderson had five.
The Rockets travel to Huntland this week before returning to the "The Rock" to entertain Cascade and Moore County to end the regular season.
"We are by no means overlooking Huntland," said Lamb. "We have to respect them and what they can do, but will really have to work this week and get ready for what will be a brand new season in the playoffs."