Fired-up Rockets shoot down Eagleville 21-7
The Forrest coaching staff wore Eagleville T-shirts to practice all week and it lit a white hot fire under the Rockets, who travelled to their nearby foes on Friday and came away with a hard-fought 21-7 victory.
"This is a huge win for our program, this is these seniors first time to defeat Eagleville in their high school career," said Forrest head coach Matt Kriesky. "I'm just so proud of all the guys, I think everybody did a great job this week from the coaches and the players, but we can only enjoy it this weekend."
On offense, it was the Zach McClendon show once again as the senior Class 2-A Mr. Football frontrunner picked up 178 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while catching three passes from quarterback Jacob Jones for 69 yards and a score.
"Zach is a great senior leader that we have, he wants the ball and he wants to be on defense and doesn't want to come off the field and that's what you want from your seniors," said Kriesky. "We are proud of the way he played tonight and you can't ask anything better from a guy like that."
Through the first five game, McClendon has amassed 843 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 95 carries for a whopping 8.9 average per touch.
Out of the backfield, McClendon has caught five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, while making 14 tackles and one and half sacks from his linebacker position on defense.
The Rockets could not get much going to begin the ballgame as they punted and fumbled away the ball on their first two possessions, but the Forrest defense held the Eagles in check as well.
On their third drive of the game, Forrest started deep in Eagleville territory at the 16-yard line where McClendon took off for 15 yards on first down Chance Hargrove busted loose for 14 more yards.
Two plays later, a personal foul on Eagleville moved the football to the Eagles' 41-yard line where McClendon took it to the house for a touchdown.
Javier Rios' extra point boot was true, making it 7-0 Rockets with 4:13 remaining in the first quarter.
The Eagles put together a drive that went to the Forrest 43-yard line, but the Rockets held to force a punt that went into the end zone for a touchback on the first play of the second quarter.
Forrest came back with another drive and moved the ball to the Eagleville 25-yard line where they faced a big third down and one play that Hargrove converted with a tough run up the gut.
McClendon ran for a 12-yard touchdown two plays later and Rios added the extra point, making it 14-zip Rockets with 6:02 remaining in the first half.
After the ensuing kickoff, Eagleville had the ball at their own 21-yard line, but not for long as quarterback AJ Garza tossed a long bomb to Terrell Suggars for a 79-yard touchdown.
Will Vermillion added the extra point for the Eagles, who trailed 14-7 with 5:42 left in the first half.
The Rockets responded, going on the move again, this time to the Eagleville 25-yard line where a McClendon touchdown run was called back on a Rockets' holding penalty with 1:27 left in the half.
Up by 2 TDs
Two negative plays followed, pushing the Rockets back to the Eagleville 33-yard line where FHS faced a third down and sixteen, but Jones found McClendon wide open in the middle of the field for a catch and run touchdown, making it a 21-7 contest after the Rios extra point.
Rios has been almost perfect on the season, converting 21 out 22 extra point attempts, while going 1-1 on field goals.
Forrest took the two-touchdown lead to the locker room at halftime.
The Eagles received the second half kickoff and moved to the 45-yard line where they set up in punt formation after being stopped by the Rockets' defense, but the snap went to Garza, who ran the fake punt for a first down to the FHS 45-yard line.
The Rockets would not give in, stopping the Eagles who were forced to punt three plays later.
Caleb Wilkins came up with a tipped ball interception to give the ball back to the Eagles with 4:14 remaining in the third quarter and the home squad drove the ball all the way to Forrest 16-yard line where they would face a fourth down and nine play, three snaps in to the fourth quarter.
Rocket senior defensive end Logan Hollingsworth came through on the play, swatting Garza's pass that fell to the ground incomplete.
The Rockets went into the clock burning mode, playing keep away until the 5:09 mark of the fourth quarter where Jones punted the ball into the Eagleville end zone for a touchback.
The Rockets would come up with another big fourth down stop with 3:26 remaining in the contest and from there, Forrest ran out the clock for their first win over the Eagles (2-3, 0-2) since 2009.
Forrest (4-1, 2-0) hosts Page this week for Homecoming before a huge road trip to Huntland on October, 3.
"Homecoming is huge around here and we got to let the kids enjoy it, but we have a huge test Friday night," said Kriesky. "Page is a great football team, they spread it out and throw it all over the field, so we have to come out ready to play."
Jones went 3-6 for 69 yards and one interception in the air and ran the ball three times for seven yards.
"They were stacking the box in there and we were able to throw it a little bit and Jacob did an excellent job and is improving each week and getting better," said Kriesky. "For a sophomore we ask him to do a whole lot, offense, defense and special teams and he responds well, we are very proud of him."
Slayton Wild ran the ball five times for 46 yards, Hargrove had 41 yards on 10 touches, and Joseph (Cheese) Williams had a dozen yards on six carries for the Rockets, who amassed 353 yards of total offense in the contest, while holding the Eagles to 193 yards on the night.
"Our front seven did an excellent job, we gave up some out routes in the secondary that I am a little disappointed in, but we will get better at that and improve on that by next week," said Kriesky. "We just have to take it one game at a time and get ready for Page next week and move on from there."
On defense, Hargrove led the way with seven tackles, Logan Ray had six takedowns and a sack, and Boone Sweeney also had a half dozen tackles.
Hollingsworth (.5 sack), Anthony Kritz, Blake Leonard, and Wild all came up with four takedowns in the game.