Forrest dominates Westmoreland
Forrest was ready, prepping all week for its first Region 4-A contest of the season against Westmorland, and the hard work paid off with a 35-7 thrashing of the Eagles at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill.
"It was a tough week of practice. We got back to being physical and it showed tonight," Forrest coach Matt Kriesky said. "They came out in an empty set and we hadn't seen it in any of their games or scrimmages this year, but we made the adjustments and shut them down."
The Forrest defense was again the shining star, winning the turnover battle 3-0, including back-to-back fumble recoveries in the first quarter that led to 14 points.
"We're going to have to play that hard-nosed defense, smash the football and eat the clock," Kriesky said. "That's our style of football."
Junior linebacker Billy Clanton came up huge for Forrest, collecting seven solo tackles and five assists while junior cornerback Anthony Kritz laid some heavy wood all night with eight tackles.
"We played lockdown in the secondary and the front line was just dominating tonight," said Kritz, who also intercepted a pass. "We've been preaching stripping the ball, hard hits and interceptions and we want to win that turnover battle every week."
Boone Sweeney left the Eagles bruised and battered with five tackles and a fourth down sack, and his senior classmate David Andrews had a fourth-down tackle in the backfield and caused one of Westmoreland's early fumbles.
Smashing to scores
Forrest played smash-mouth on the other side of the line of scrimmage, as nine ballcarriers combined for 270 yards on 45 attempts.
Joseph Williams led the way with 66 yards on 11 carries while Jacob Jones and Slayton Wild gained 55 yards each. Andrews had 43 yards on just four carries and threw for 44 yards with no interceptions.
"We just had to smash it in there and make sure we had people moving, people shifting and out-man them," Andrews said. "We have to have a good passing game to open up our running game. They go hand-in-hand."
Andrews' big hit on defense came on the Eagles first drive, and Kota Hartley recovered the fumble at the Westmoreland 32-yard line.
The Rockets needed just five plays to score, capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by Wild with 9:17 remaining in the quarter.
After a missed extra point, the Eagles put together a drive that was halted at the Forrest 23 when Sweeney came up with a loose ball.
Forrest followed the recovery with 12 straight running plays with the payoff coming on Scrappy Osborne's 2-yard TD run.
Joseph Williams added the two-point conversion, making it 14-0 with 24 seconds left in the first period.
The Eagles dug in, marching 66 yards on 11 plays with Dylan Todd scoring the first points this year on Forrest when he scored from a yard out. Blake Carter's conversion kick halved the deficit with 8:25 left in the first half.
The Eagles garnered great field position when the Rockets fumbled a punt snap, giving Westmoreland the ball at the Forrest 19. Four plays later, however, Andrews stopped Westmoreland quarterback Bayle Kirk in the backfield to end the threat.
The Rockets turned the stop into points when Andrews found Jones on a 10-yard scoring pass for a 21-7 halftime lead after Javier Rios added the extra point.
Sweeney's key sack came on a fourth-down play with 21 seconds left in the third quarter. Three plays into the final period, the Rockets put the game away on a 12-yard TD run by Williams.
Jones scored again on a 3-yard run with 4:14 left in the game to complete the rout.
"It's all to the line. If we didn't have such a good one, we wouldn't be as good as we are now," Jones said. "If we keep pounding and pounding and we get good pass blocking and hit that pass, we'll be good."
Forrest (3-0) hosts Page (2-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at "The Rock" in what should be a pivotal game for the Rockets, who lost a 23-22 overtime thriller at home last year to the Patriots.
"It's a good rivalry," Jones said. "Last year we should've won, but we had so many injuries. We're going to pound them like no other. We're going to go at them, at them, at them until they lay down and lay over."
Westmoreland 0 7 0 0 -- 7
Forrest 14 7 0 14 -- 35
F--Slayton Wild 8 run (kick failed), 9:17.
F--Scrappy Osborne 2 run (Joseph Williams run), 0.24.
W--Dylan Todd 1 run (Blake Carter kick), 8:25.
F--Jacob Jones 10 pass from David Andrews (Javier Rios kick), 0.13.
F--Joseph Williams 12 run (Rios kick), 11:03
F--Jones 21 run (Rios kick), 4:14.
Forrest rushing: Joseph Williams 11-66-1, Slayton Wild 11-55-1, Jacob Jones 5-55-1, David Andrews 4-43, Jake Elkins 5-28, Clay Watson 2-22, Scrappy Osborne 4-4-1, Jesse Pruitt 1-0, Dylan Pendley 1-(-4).
Passing: David Andrews 4-9-44
Receiving: Clay Watson 1-26, Jacob Jones 1-10-1, Lane LaPorte 1-4, Payton Sisk 1-4.
Forrest 314, Westmoreland 253.
Westmoreland 3, Forrest 0.
Forrest: Billy Clanton 12, Anthony Kritz 8, Boone Sweeney 6 (sack), Jacob Jones 5, Jesse Pruitt 5, Payton Sisk 5.