Gutsy move falls short for Rockets

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The 2014 Forrest Homecoming Court and senior football players from left are, John Blanchett, Presley Morrison (freshman attendant), Logan Ray, Cannon Curtis, Cassie Whitworth (junior attendant), Logan Wright, Dylan Booker, Logan Hollingsworth, Homecoming Queen Brianna Jones, Zach McClendon, Blake Leonard, Chance Hargrove, Hannah Evans (senior attendant), Tanner Roberson, Nick Tahmassebi, Taylor Patin (sophomore attendant), and Austin Harmon. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The 2A Forrest Rockets and 4A Page Patriots battled to a 16-16 regulation tie at the newly dedicated Murrey E. Holton Memorial Field in Chapel Hill on Friday night, but the Rockets fell 23-22 in overtime after Forrest unsuccessfully attempted to win their Homecoming game by going for a two-point conversion after their extra period touchdown.

"I lost the game for the kids, I made some costly calls in the game, and put them in bad situations," said Forrest head coach Matt Kriesky. "They played their guts out and I am proud of each and every one of them. We had kids go down left and right, we had kids step up, and there is nothing we can ask, they did everything we asked them to do."

Ground vs. air

It was the tale of two different offenses as both teams stayed true to form with the Rockets pounding the rock in the ground game for 320 yards, while the pass happy Patriots slung the ball around "The Rock" for 352 yards in the contest.

Forrest running back Zach McClendon continued his stellar senior campaign, rushing the ball 33 times for 250 yards and three touchdowns.

The Murrey E. Holton family receives the replica of the plaque that will stand forever on the field honored in his name.

Page quarterback Michael Magochy lit up the Forrest secondary as he completed 21 out of 34 passes in the game, including touchdown passes to Trevor Johnson, Seth Filaroski, and Matt Fornero.

Hot tempers

The game was rough from the start and tempers flared several times during the game as the TSSAA referees whistled 14 unsportsmanlike penalties in the contest.

On four occasions the penalties offset as both teams were whistled, while Page had five other major fouls called on them and Forrest had one lone unsportsmanlike flag.

"Our kids took this game personal, they wanted to make a statement across the mid-state that we can compete with a 4A school and I think we showed everyone that we can compete," said Kriesky. "Page knows they had to earn this victory and it wasn't a cake walk like most people thought it would be."

There was no scoring in the first quarter as Forrest could not really move the ball at all, while Page did manage to put together a couple drives, but had to punt twice and were unsuccessful on a 50-yard field goal attempt by Brent Cimaglia.

Rockets take lead

The Forrest student section was out in full force for the Homecoming game Friday night in Chapel Hill.

Forrest got things cranked up, beginning the second quarter with a second down and five from their own 31-yard line where they went on an 11-play drive that was capped off by a McClendon touchdown on a fourth and goal from the Page one-yard line.

Javier Rios booted the extra point, giving the Rockets a 7-0 lead with 6:19 remaining in the first half.

Page would come back to threaten on their ensuing possession, marching all the way to the Forrest four-yard line where they were stopped cold on fourth down with 3:13 left in the first half.

Forrest was forced to punt from deep in their own territory on their next possession and the Patriots took over after the punt in great field position at the Rockets' 31-yard line.

Hafltime tie

With 57 seconds remaining in the first half, Magochy found Johnson from 29-yards out for a touchdown and Cimaglia added the extra point boot as the game went to the halftime break tied at 7-7.

Forrest got the ball to begin the second half and drove all the way inside the Page five-yard line, but had to settle for a Javier Rios field goal and a 10-7 lead with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter.

The Forrest defense had Page pinned at their own 29-yard line, facing a second down and 26, but Magochy found Filaroski behind the Rocket secondary for a 71-yard touchdown strike with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter.

The extra point was no good, but the Patriots led 13-10.

Back on top

A celebration penalty on Filaroski after the touchdown and an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Page bench moved the ensuing kickoff back to the Patriots' 12-yard line and the Rockets got decent field position when they covered the kick at their own 39-yard line.

The Rockets looked like they would give the ball back to Page, setting up for a punt with 49 seconds left in the third quarter, but a fake punt run by Anthony Kritz for a first down kept the drive alive.

Forrest's Zach McClendon (6) runs for one of his three touchdowns in the contest.

Three plays into the fourth quarter, McClendon busted through the Page defense for a six-yard touchdown.

Page blocked Rios' extra point boot and the Rockets led 16-13 with 10:13 remaining in regulation.

Even score

The Rockets held on defense and got the ball back with 8:25 remaining in the contest.

There was nowhere to go for Forrest as Page stopped them cold and forced a punt.

Page drove to the Forrest 10-yard line where they were forced to go for the game tying field by Cimaglia, who booted the ball through the uprights from 27-yards out, knotting the game at 16 with 2:53 left in the game.

The Rockets got the ball back and marched for the go-ahead score, but the drive was halted when Magochy intercepted a pass in the Forrest end zone with 59 seconds remaining in the game.

Page did not take a knee as they passed their way down to the Forrest 21-yard line where Cimaglia attempted a 37-yard field to try to win the game, but the kick sailed right as time expired and the contest went to overtime.

Quick strike

The Rockets won the overtime toss and elected to play defense, but on the first snap, Magochy found Fornero on a fade pattern for a touchdown and Cimaglia added the extra point, making it 23-16.

It was the Rockets turn now and they gave the ball to McClendon on first down and their horse carried half the Page defense into the end zone for a touchdown, making it 23-21.

After a timeout, Kriesky decided to roll the dice and go for the two-point conversion to end the game and the ensuing handoff went to McClendon again, but he was corralled by Page on the sweep and the game ended.

This week

Forrest (4-2, 2-0) travels to Huntland this week to take on the Hornets (4-1, 1-0) in District 9-A battle with game time set for 7 p.m.

"We will start working on Huntland tomorrow morning," said Kriesky. "We got Huntland and then Community before fall break, they are two district games and we want both of them."