Rockets grounded in Alabama
Forrest knew the season-opening trip to Alabama was going to be a tough Week Zero test and it turned out to be true as Lauderdale County spotted the Rockets a one-touchdown lead before scoring 35 unanswered points to win 35-7.
"I did not have the guys prepared and ready to play this week, it is my fault and I will not let this happen again," said Forrest head coach Matt Kriesky. "These guys come to work every day and do everything we ask them to do, so I have to do a better job of getting them ready for Friday nights. We will get better this week and be ready to play a very athletic Cascade team."
Forrest also suffered a couple of key injuries in the contest as Slayton Wild and Dylan Booker left the field and their availability for the trip to Wartrace this week is uncertain.
"As of right now I am not sure of their status for Friday and we have to prepare like they are not going to be with us Friday night," said Kriesky. "We need someone to step up at both of those positions and do the things we ask them to do to help this football team win."
The Rockets jumped out in front 7-0, scoring midway through the second quarter when Jacob Jones hooked up with Clay Watson on a 38-yard pass and catch that was followed by a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Jones for the touchdown and the added extra point by Javier Rios.
Lauderdale County came right back to score, but missed the extra point to trail by a point before the turnover bug bit the Rockets when they fumbled the ball away and the Tigers took advantage when they drove in for the score and added a two-point conversion to take a 14-7 halftime lead.
"We only had one significant turnover and that was the fumble before halftime," said Kriesky. "Defensively, we have to be more aggressive and create turnovers."
The turning point of the game came in the third period when Lauderdale County faced a fourth down and one situation and they went to their ace, six foot eight tight end Zack Davis, who snared a 22-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Ethan Belue.
The Tigers would go to score another touchdown in the third period and added two more fourth quarter scores to win going away.
"Lauderdale is a good football team, but if I would have had these guys prepared to play four quarters then it would have been a lot better of a game," said Kriesky.
Jones, a sophomore making his Rocket debut at quarterback, threw the ball 13 times, while completing seven of the tosses for 113 yards and two interceptions.
"Jacob Jones had an outstanding night on both sides of the ball and we were very proud of Jacob and how he handled himself the entire game," said Kriesky. "I guarantee that he will continue to get better each week and do the necessary things to improve his play."
The Rockets will have to get better as a unit in a hurry as they travel to Cascade on Friday for a battle with their longtime arch rivals.
The Champions blasted Watertown 34-7 and will be looking to keep the Rockets down and garner their second consecutive win over Forrest.
After the battle in Wartrace, Forrest will get back on the yellow bus one more time when they travel to Lynchburg for the District 9-A opener versus Moore County.
"We are only worried about Cascade at the moment," said Kriesky. "We have to take it one week at a time and continue to get better each week."
The run-based Rockets gained just 85 yards on the ground with Austin Harmon leading the way with 65 yards with 44 coming on one play.
Harmon also led the team with six tackles on defense, while Boone Sweeney had four takedowns and Booker also had four tackles before leaving the game with a concussion.
Zach McClendon was penned in most of the night by the Tiger defense as the senior standout running back only managed 32 yards on 15 carries.
Harmon (8 yards), Logan Hollingsworth (14 yards), McClendon (20 yards), Jesse Pruitt (10 yards), Payton Sisk
(5 yards), Watson (38yards), and Wild (18yards) all had one catch in the contest.