Rockets maul Vikings 34-7

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Dylan Booker (27) heads through the fog, mist, mud, and rain on his way for a fourth-quarter touchdown for the Rockets, who beat Community 34-7 in Chapel Hill Friday night. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets, coming off back-to-back losses, easily handled Community 34-7 on a soggy playing surface at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill Friday night.

"It feels really good, these past two weeks have been tough on the kids," said Forrest head coach Matt Kriesky. "But they finally got everything back together and we started playing our football again this week."

Forrest righted the ship Murrey's way, running the football on every offensive play as they piled up 381 yards on the ground with Zach McClendon once again leading the way with 190 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns.

The plan

"That was our plan all week, we looked at the forecast all week and knew it could be nasty," said Kriesky.

Chance Hargrove also went over the century mark in the contest, gaining 104 yards on 11 carries and one score.

The Forrest defense was in a stingy mood, giving up just 134 of total offense to Unionville in the game and the Vikings did not score until garbage time with 3:29 remaining.

Logan Hollingsworth and Jesse Pruitt returned to the lineup after missing the Huntland game and the pair paid immediate dividends in solidifying the defensive unit as Hollingsworth led the team in tackles versus Community with six, while Pruitt was one behind with five takedowns and Logan Ray and Blake Leonard had four tackles apiece.

Boone Sweeney (62) drags down Community running back Jacob Kupczyk (44).

Strong 'D'

Forrest allowed the Vikings to rush for only 35 yards on 24 carries in the contest and held Community to under 100 yards passing.

The Rockets took the opening kick and made a statement in the mud, driving 52 yards on 11 consecutive running plays with McClendon finishing off the ground assault with an 8-yard TD run.

Javier Rios kicked the extra point through the uprights, making it 7-0 with 5:56 remaining in the first quarter.

The Rocket forced a Community punt with 2:28 left in the first quarter, but gave it right back on a fumble two plays later inside the Forrest 40-yard line.

Big halt

The Vikings tried to cash in on the Forrest turnover, driving all the way to 15-yard line where Dylan Booker came up with a huge fourth down stop for the Rockets.

Chance Hargrove (5), who rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, picks up a big gain in the second half.

The Booker stop fired up the Rockets again as they marched 85 yards in four minutes and two seconds with Hargrove putting the finishing touch on the drive with a 14-yard touchdown run.

Rios' kick was good again, giving Forrest a 14-0 lead with 4:41 remaining in the first half.

The Rockets' stood tall on defense, forcing another Community punt.

McClendon took the Zach Greenwood punt to the house, but the play was called back on a Forrest holding penalty.

Sudden end

Starting at the midfield stripe, the Rockets pounded the rock and it looked like McClendon would score on a remarkable run as he dragged a mess of Unionville bodies down to the three yard line before the soggy pigskin came loose and Community recovered.

The first half would end seconds later and the Vikings received the second half kickoff, but went nowhere and were forced to punt again.

Forrest freshman quarterback Layton Bennett, filling in for the injured Jacob Jones and David Andrews, kept handing the ball to McClendon and Hargrove as the duo drove the ball down the field until McClendon busted a 20-yard TD run and Rios added the extra point, making it 21-zip with 5:38 remaining in the third quarter.

"Layton Bennett came in and did an outstanding job executing our offense and we are extremely proud of him and the future is bright with him," said Kriesky. "He is a great young kid, he came in this summer and learned the offense and he has gotten better all week and we needed him tonight and he stepped up and did great things for us."

Zach McClendon (6), seen here running for one of his three touchdowns, continued his stellar senior season, rushing for 190 yards on 21 carries versus the Vikings.

Back to end zone

Community tried to go the passing game, but three consecutive incompletions ended the drive and Forrest got the ball back at the Vikings' 42-yard line.

McClendon broke loose for a 24-yard gain to the 18-yard line and Hollingsworth took his only handoff of the night and rumbled to the four before McClendon went in for the score, officially signaling the rout was on at 28-0.

Booker would score the last Forrest touchdown on a three-yard run at the outset of the fourth quarter, but Rios missed the extra point, staving off the mercy rule as the Rockets held a 34-0 lead.

Healing time

Tyler Broiles scored late for the Vikings (0-7, 0-3), but Forrest (5-3, 3-1) cruised to the 27-point win and will have a bye week to heal up before they host undefeated Middle Tennessee Christian (7-0, 4-0) on October, 24.

"We are going to have to get these guys healed up and get ready for a huge district game at home versus MTCS here in two weeks," said Kriesky. "It's going to be a huge game, they will come in possibly at 8-0 or 7-1 and feeling pretty good about themselves this year, so we have to get everything together and take care of business in two weeks."