Rockets rout Blue Devils 42-0
The Forrest Rockets capped a perfect Region 4-AA record Friday night with a 42-0 Senior Night romp over Jackson County at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill.
"It wasn't pretty. It is what it is," Forrest coach Matt Kriesky said. "There was a little distraction from senior night, but 42-0 -- I can't complain in the end."
The fifth-ranked Rockets (9-1, 7-0) earned the top seed in 4-AA and will host 3-AA fourth seed Bledsoe County (5-5, 4-3) at 7 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association's Class 2A playoffs.
"The kids are excited, the coaching staff is excited and we're ready to get started and get working and get going on the game plan," Kriesky said.
Forrest dominated the Blue Devils in every category, putting up 413 yards on offense, while limiting Jackson County to just 79 yards.
"We have a good 'ground-and-pound system' here at Forrest and we can also throw the ball when we need to," junior Slayton Wild said. "There isn't a group of guys that deserves this more than our seniors do. They've worked so hard and they've put our team on their shoulders this year and said, 'we are going to do great things.'"
Wild had a huge night with 132 yards on 15 carries and two pass receptions for 85 yards. He caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from David Andrews in the second quarter.
"We just wanted to come in and play smash-mouth football," Andrews said. "It took a little while, but then we really took it to them. It feels amazing to have a home game for the playoffs."
Andrews also had a big senior night, passing for 155 yards and two touchdowns, while coming up with a pair of interceptions on defense.
"David (Andrews) has gotten a whole lot better throwing the ball and he made some good throws tonight," Kriesky said. "He did a good job executing the offensive game plan and he did everything we asked him to do this week."
After a scoreless first quarter in which the Rockets turned the ball over on downs on their only two possessions, Forrest opened the second quarter with a 41-yard, five-play scoring drive, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run from Jake Elkins.
Javier Rios' first of six straight successful conversion kicks made it 7-0 with 9:40 left in the second quarter.
Both teams were forced to punt on their next possessions before the Rockets made it 14-0 on the Andrews-to-Wild touchdown pass with 2:09 left in the first half. Jackson County's final scoring effort of the first half was thwarted by Andrews' first interception as time expired.
Turning it over
Both teams had to punt on the first two possessions of the second half before Andrews picked off Jackson County quarterback Colby Long at the Blue Devils' 30-yard line with 7:14 left in the third quarter. Seven plays later, Joseph Williams scored on a 4-yard run.
The turnover bug hit the Blue Devils again deep in their own territory, this time on a fumble recovery by Jacob Jones at the Jackson 30. On the next snap, Andrews found Payton Sisk behind the Blue Devils' secondary for a touchdown, essentially putting the game away at 28-0 with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
"Going up to the line, you could see them all up in the box, so I could see just who to hit," Andrews said.
The Blue Devils were forced to punt early in the fourth quarter and the Rockets took advantage again, using just two plays to score with Dylan Pendley taking the ball in from 22 yards for a 35-0 cushion and a running clock under the TSSAA mercy rule.
A Jones interception set up Forrest's final score when Elkins scored on a 5-yard scamper with 8:10 left. Jackson County held the ball for the next five minutes, but failed to score and the game ended as Andrews and the Rockets went into the victory formation and ran out the clock.
"It doesn't matter who we play now, when you get to the playoffs everybody is good," Wild said. "We're going to face all good teams all the way to the state championship game, so whoever we play, we'll just prepare for them the best we can and go to work Friday night."
Other Region 3-AA vs. 4-AA games
Region 4-AA fourth place Eagleville (5-5, 4-3) at Region 3-AA first place Boyd Buchanan (10-0, 7-0).
Region 4-AA third place Westmoreland (5-5, 5-2) at Region 3-AA second place Marion County (9-1, 6-1).
Region 3-AA third place Tyner (7-3, 5-2) at Region 4-AA second place Watertown (8-2, 6-1).
Jackson County 0 0 0 0-0
Forrest 0 14 14 14-42
F -- Jake Elkins 12 run (Javier Rios kick), 9:40.
F -- Slayton Wild 75 pass from David Andrews (Rios kick), 2:09.
F -- Joseph Williams 4 run (Rios kick), 3:45.
F -- Payton Sisk 30 pass from Andrews (Rios kick), 1:51.
F -- Dylan Pendley 23 run (Rios kick), 11:15.
F -- Elkins 5 run (Rios kick), 8:10.
Total Yards-Jackson County 79, Forrest 413.
Rushing-Jackson County 35, Forrest 258.
Passing-Jackson County 44, Forrest 155.
Rushing-Slayton Wild 15-132, Jake Elkins 12-61-2TD, Dylan Pendley 2-19-TD, Joseph Williams 5-18-TD, Jacob Jones 4-15, David Andrews 4-8, Troy Turner 2-7, Scrappy Osborne 1-3, Bryton Spitzley 1-0, Clay Watson 1 (-1), Justin Leonard 1-(-4).
Passing-David Andrews 6-10-155 (2TD, INT.).
Receiving-Slayton Wild 2-82-TD, Payton Sisk 1-30-TD, Billy Clanton 1-25, Jake Elkins 1-13, Austin Welty 1-5.
Turnovers-Jackson County 4, Forrest 1.
Intercepted by-David Andrews 2, Jacob Jones 1.
Fumbles recovered by-Jacob Jones 1.
Tackles-Billy Clanton 6, Jesse Pruitt 4 (sack), Jacob Jones 3, Zach Russell 3, Boone Sweeney 3 (sack), Clay Watson 3, Troy Turner 2, Neyland Darnell 2, Tanner Kerr 2, Payton Sisk 2, Michael Dyer 1, Austin Geetings 1, Anthony Kritz 1, Dylan Pendley 1, Billy Perryman 1, Javier Rios 1, Bryton Spitzley 1, Slayton Wild 1, Joseph Williams 1, Colby Bluthardt 1.