Mercy! Mercy! Rockets rout Huntland
Anytime you go to Huntland and win it's big, but going down and mercy ruling the Hornets 35-0 is almost unheard for Forrest.
"I'm glad this one is over with. That's a good football team right there," Forrest coach Matt Kriesky said of the win, which had a running clock for nearly the entire final quarter. "I know maybe the scoreboard doesn't reflect that. Coach (Bob) Robertson and his staff do an excellent job."
On the line
Forrest dominated the line of scrimmage, running for 298 yards as 10 ballcarriers wore down the Hornets defense by the middle of third quarter.
"They started catching some cramps in the second half and we just kept pounding it at them and we never let up," Kriesky said. "I'm proud of the offensive line and the defensive line. Those guys are going to be the leaders of this team and they showed that tonight."
The Rockets also won the all-important turnover battle, intercepting three passes and recovering two fumbles.
"We had eight total turnovers last year here and tonight we forced five turnovers," Kriesky said. "We've preached turnovers all offseason and I think it showed tonight. Those guys wanted the football tonight."
Forrest got its first turnover on the game's third play when Jake Elkins recovered a fumble by DJ Taylor at the Huntland 43-yd. line. The Rockets, however, couldn't convert it into points when Javier Rios missed a field goal attempt.
On the Hornets ensuing series, Payton Sisk intercepted an Aaron Williams pass, but the Rockets couldn't turn that miscue into points either. Jacob Jones booted a beautiful coffin corner punt that bounced out of bounds at the Huntland 9-yard line leading to another defensive stop and a Huntland punt.
Forrest faced a second-and-11 early in the second quarter when quarterback David Andrews took off up the middle, carrying several Huntland defenders before picking up a first down. The run seemed to fire up the Rockets and their traveling fans.
Joseph Williams ran the ball on consecutive downs with the second touch resulting in a 4-yard touchdown to make it 6-0 with 6:25 remaining in the second quarter after the kick by Rios was blocked.
"I'll tell you, I feel very protected when I'm behind those guys," Williams said of his linemen. "They have my back and I have theirs and we wouldn't be able to do anything without them."
The Rockets forced a three-and-out on the Hornets next possession to take over with 3:36 left in the half.
On first down, Andrews pitched the ball to Jones, who tossed the halfback option pass to Sisk for a 30-yard gain. From there, the Rockets pounded the rock to the Huntland 2-yard line where senior Jesse Pruitt busted in for the TD.
Elkins added the two-point conversion run for a 14-0 edge at halftime.
Back on offense
Huntland stopped the Rockets to begin the second half, but Forrest got the ball back when Sisk came up with his second pick of the game and rumbled down to the Hornets' 30.
"This is a very difficult place to come down to and shut them out," Sisk said. "We played shutdown defense and left them with a goose egg. We just have to get ready for Moore County now and take it week by week."
Jones scooted into the end zone two plays later, making it a 21-0 contest after Rios added the conversion.
The Hornets mustered some offense on their next drive, but a Williams interception deep in Forrest territory thwarted the scoring attempt.
Scrappy Osborne scored on a 5-yard run with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter to put the Rockets up 28-0.
Wearing them out
Huntland was worn out and Tanner Kerr added insult to injury when he recovered a fumble late in the third period.
"We put in the work every morning and we've pushed ourselves to the point where we're sick so we can be in shape now," Forrest senior lineman Neyland Darnell said. "That's what we need as a team -- to be able to play four quarters -- and we may see a team where we have to play overtime, so that's when we see how we separate the men from the boys."
Kriesky went to the youngsters in the fourth quarter and freshman Bryton Spitzley came up with a 14-yard touchdown run with 10:20 left in the game to bring on a running clock.
Next: Moore Co.
The Rockets travel to Lynchburg Friday night for a battle with longtime rival Moore County, which opened with a 28-14 win against Cascade. Forrest blanked the Raiders 41-0 at Moore County last year and has won the last two meetings.
"It's always a tough place. They have a lot of guys coming back from last year," Kriesky said. "They're going to be a tough, physical team both offensively and defensively and I believe they're going to smash the football, and we have to be prepared to stop it like we did this week."
Forrest 0 14 14 7-35
Huntland 0 0 0 0-0
F -- Joseph Williams 2 run (kick blocked), 6:25
F -- Jesse Pruitt 2 run (Jake Elkins run), 0:53
F -- Jacob Jones 11 run (Javier Rios kick), 7:35
F -- Scrappy Osborne 9 run (Rios kick), 1:10.
F -- Bryton Spitzley 14 run (Rios kick), 10:20
First downs 11
Fumbles-Lost Forrest 0, Huntland 2-2
Rushing: Forrest, Slayton Wild 5-48, Troy Turner 3-41, Joseph Williams 9-39, Jacob Jones 5-38, Clay Watson 3-27, Jesse Pruitt 4-23, Jake Elkins 7-27, Bryton Spitzley 4-21, Scrappy Osborne 3-12, Josh Meglis 4-7.
Passing: Forrest, David Andrews 0-3-0; Jacob Jones 1-1-0.
Receiving: Forrest, Payton Sisk 1-30.
Tackles: Forrest, Sisk 7, Tanner Kerr 6, Anthony Kritz 5, Billy Clanton 4, Slayton Wild 4, David Andrews 3, Boone Sweeney 3, Jesse Pruitt 3, Jake Elkins 2, Austin Welty 2, Cobly Bluthardt 1, Neyland Darnell 1, Cody Donnelly 1, Kota Hartley 1, Dowlen Hosford 1, Jacob Jones 1, Zach Russell 1, Bryton Spitzley 1, Joseph Williams 1.
Interceptions: Sisk 2, Williams 1.
Fumbles Recovered: Elkins 1, Kerr 1.