FMS Rockets rock Liberty

Friday, August 21, 2015
Nick McClendon gets a good stiff arm on a Liberty defender before breaking a long run.

'Whack' and 'Wham' and plenty of defensive bam was the story of the night for the FMS Rockets, who blasted Liberty 37-20 Thursday at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill.

Whack---Nick McClendon and Wham---Blaize Sweeney, along with plenty of bam from Tate Garvin, Mason Walls, Sammy Williams, Cody Patin and Ryan Dyer wore out the Patriots.

Sweeney rushed for 136 yards on 9 carries and scored three touchdowns in the game and caught two passes for 30 yards.

McClendon wasn't far behind, carrying the rock 8 times for 107 yards, while scoring two TDs and a pair of PAT runs.

QB's night

Forrest quarterback Joel Burton rolls out before delivering a pass to Blaize Sweeney in the first half.

McClendon also caught one pass for six yards from Forrest quarterback Joel Burton, who had a big night, completing four-out-of-five passes for 43 yards and one interception.

"Joel had a great game for us and I completely trust him and believe in him," FMS coach Chris Benne said. "As a quarterback he doesn't get much of the spotlight in our offense, but without him our offense doesn't go, so it's good he is getting the credit he deserves tonight."

Photos by Anthony S. Puca The FMS Rockets run out before their game versus Liberty at Chapel Hill Thursday night.

Sweeney and McClendon also played hard-nosed defense as the Rockets spent much of the evening in the Liberty backfield with Walls leading the sacking department with three, including a blocked punt.

"Ryan Dyer is a very special player up front for us and Sam Williams and Cody Patin and Tate Garvin are also special guys up front and they are doing a great job getting in the backfield and causing disruptions," Benne said. "That really helps out Blaize Sweeney and Nick McClendon at linebacker."

Defense

Garvin also blocked a punt and had two sacks, while McClendon had a fumble recovery and a sack.

Williams also had a sack and spent a lot of time wreaking havoc in the Patriots backfield and Carson Blackwell came up with an interception for Forrest.

The Rockets won the opening coin flip, but deferred to the second half and moments later the FMS coaching staff learned a valuable lesson when Liberty standout Kion Johnson ran back the kickoff 72 yards for a touchdown.

Johnson, who scored five touchdowns last week would not touch the ball in the return game the rest of the game, but still put up some big numbers, rushing for 119 yards and a score, while catching three passes for 29 yards, including a touchdown reception.

A host of Rocket defenders meet for a sack in the Liberty backfield.

"He (Johnson) is a great player and had an incredible game, everything he did seemed to be working for him," Benne said. "He was a great test for our guys, what can you say, he is just a special player."

Fast start

FMS answered quickly, scoring on the third play of its opening drive when McClendon scampered 32-yards to pay dirt and Cole Villazon added the 2-point conversion run, giving the Rockets the lead for good.

Liberty had the ball at Forrest 40-yard line when the FMS sack crew kicked it in as Walls, Garvin and McClendon took down Pats quarterback Austin McBee on second and third down before Garvin blocked the fourth down punt.

McClendon would score again from 17-yards out early in the second quarter and Dalton Colvin booted the PAT, making it a 15-6 ballgame.

The Patriots used the next 3 minutes and 15 seconds to move the ball in to Forrest territory where they were thwarted again and Walls blocked a punt, setting up another FMS touchdown moments later when Sweeney bashed in to the end zone from a yard out.

Blaize Sweeney rumbles down the sideline for a long run in the Rockets' 37-20 win over Liberty Thursday night at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill.

Colvin's extra point boot was true and the Rockets led 21-6 with 23 seconds remaining in the first half.

Patriot threat

A short kickoff gave Liberty the football at the FMS 48-yard line and on first down, McBee tossed the ball to Johnson on a reverse and the Patriot star ran all the way for a touchdown, but the extra point run was no good, making it 21-12 at the half.

After the second half kickoff, Forrest drove the ball all the way to the Liberty 15-yard line, but an interception in the end zone by Jordan Cude ended the FMS scoring opportunity.

Blackwell came up with his interception to halt Liberty and one play in to the fourth quarter, Sweeney dashed for a touchdown from 32-yards out.

With 3:39 remaining in the contest, Johnson hauled in an 11-yard TD pass from Wright, who also added the 2-pt. conversion run.

Liberty recovered the ensuing on sides kick, but were unable to score and the game ended on a Burton sack.

Next: Westwood

The Rockets (3-0) travel to Westwood on Thursday with kickoff slated for 6:30 p.m.

"We are rolling, we have a good streak going right now and our guys will be focused for Westwood next week," Benne said. "It's going to be a tough game, but we will be ready for it."

Liberty 6 6 0 8-20

Forrest 8 13 8 8-37

First Quarter

L -- Kion Johnson 82 Kick Return (run failed), 7:49.

F--Nick McClendon 32 Run (Cole Villazon run), 6:04.

Second Quarter

F -- Nick McClendon 17 run (Dalton Colvin), 6:49.

F -- Blaize Sweeney 1 run (kick failed), 0:23.

L-Kion Johnson 48 Run (run failed), 0:06.

Third Quarter

F -- Blaize Sweeney 37 Run (Nick McClendon run), 12:14.

Fourth Quarter

F -- Blaize Sweeney 32 Run (Cole Villazon run), 7:50.

L -- Kion Johnson 11 pass from Mason Wright (Mason Wright run), 3:39.