Mt. Pleasant aerial assault grounds Rockets

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Senior Byron McCulloch (32) sacks Mt. Pleasant freshman quarterback Walter Crawford (10) and knocks the ball loose for a Dakota Zimmerman fumble recovery. Photos by

The Forrest gridiron season ended in a tough 26-21 loss at Mt. Pleasant Friday night as the Tigers defended their home field, scoring a late touchdown to offset a Rockets' comeback that gave them an early fourth quarter lead.

Forrest head coach Joe Moos said after the game, "We played our game in spurts, we pounded them sometimes and then we gave up some big plays. Our kids were in position; they just had some great athletes."

The difference in the ballgame was a Mt. Pleasant aerial assault led by freshman quarterback Walter Crawford, who completed 20 out of 31 passes for 213 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Forrest's Thaddeus Reyes (4) picks off a Walter Crawford pass in the first quarter and returns it 60 yards, setting up the Rockets' first touchdown.

On the contrary, Forrest had zero passing yards, but stayed in the game thanks to a stout running attack that amassed 269 yards to just 71 by the Tigers.

Moos said about the disparage in the passing game, "You have got to play to the strengths of your team and whatever your strengths are you have to rely heavily on that. What got us to here this year was more of running right at you then it was passing, so we went with what we knew and said here it comes."

Crawford started his air attack from the outset of the contest, heaving a 41-yard long bomb to DaVonte' Webster on the second play from scrimmage and six plays later, Corey Webster ran it in from five yards out to open the scoring.

Forrest's Brandon Beech (3) scores the go-ahead touchdown with 10:21 remaining in the contest, but it would not hold up as Mt. Pleasant came back to win 26-21, ending the Rockets' season.

The Tigers' two-point conversion try failed as the Rockets trailed 6-0 with 9:22 left in the first quarter.

Mt. Pleasant tricked the Rockets and recovered an onside kick, but on the next play, Thaddeus Reyes picked off Crawford and returned it 60 yards to the Tigers' 30-yard line.

Three plays later, Richie Smith rumbled into the end zone from 21 yards out and Andrew Charles kicked the extra point to give the Rockets a 7-6 lead.

Rocket QB Brooks Lamb (14) races 21-yards for a first quarter touchdown.

The Tigers recovered a dink kickoff attempt at the Forrest 39-yard line and capitalized on the great field position by scoring six plays later on a 8-yard touchdown toss by Crawford to Webster.

Once again, Mt. Pleasant was not able to convert the two-point conversion and their lead was 12-7 with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter.

Bad went to worse for the Rockets when Webster converted a pick-six to make it an 18-7 ballgame just moments later.

Forrest had the ball at the Mt. Pleasant 14-yard line as the first quarter ended and at the 10:35 mark of quarter number two, Brandon Beech scored from five yards out to make it 18-13 and Charles' successful point after touchdown cut the Mt. Pleasant lead to four points.

There would be no more first half offense by either squad as the Tigers took the 18-14 margin to the locker room.

Forrest punted on their first two possessions of the third quarter and the Tigers punted on their first opportunity, but threatened on their second possession as they drove the ball all the way to Rockets' 4-yard line before an incomplete fourth down pass in the end zone ended the drive.

The Rockets mounted a clutch 96-yard, 14-play scoring drive and took the lead on a Beech 3-yard run and Charles' PAT made it 21-18 with 10:21 remaining in the contest.

After another short kickoff gave Mt. Pleasant great field position at the FHS 46-yard line, Crawford went back to the air, completing three out of his next four passes as the Tigers drove all the way to Forrest 3-yard line.

Two plays later, Josh Russell rambled into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.

Crawford threw to Deminico Owens for the two-point conversion and the Rockets were in a 26-21 hole with 7:58 remaining in the contest.

The Rockets drove the ball all the way to the Mt. Pleasant 35-yard line before three straight running plays made it fourth and eight from the 33-yard line.

"We invite them in the box," said Moos. "When everybody does their job it looks great, but if you have somebody miss their assignment or fall down then there they are in the hole."

On the fourth down play, FHS QB Brooks Lamb rolled to his left, but was sacked by Russell at the 41-yard line, snuffing out the potential go-ahead drive.

The Tigers managed to run out the clock for the win to advance to round two at Adamsville, while the Rockets' season ended at 6-5.

"The kids played hard, I am proud of them for what they did and they should be proud of themselves too," said Moos.

Jacob Daughrity led the Rockets' ground game with 86 yards on 13 carries, Beech rushed for 69 yards and two touchdowns on 16 touches and Smith netted 60 yards on 15 carries, while Lamb carried the rock nine times for 54 yards and scored a touchdown.