Forrest playoff game moved to Thursday

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Senior quarterback David Andrews will lead the Rockets tomorrow night when they take on Bledsoe County in the first round of the TSSAA playoffs at Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets' first-round Class 2A playoff game versus Bledsoe County has been moved to tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill.

"We have had a good week of practice so far preparing for a good Bledsoe County team," Forrest coach Matt Kriesky said.

This will be the sixth season in a row that Forrest has been in the playoffs and the second year in a row that the Rockets will host an opening round contest.

Chapel Hill lost 35-30 to Decatur County Riverside last year after beating the Panthers 23-20 at "The Rock" in 2013.

Forrest's recent second round appearances have both resulted in losses at Mt. Pleasant in 2012 and at Riverside in 2011.

Since a first round 7-6 road win over Mt. Pleasant in 1992, the Rockets did not advance past the first round in eight appearances until a 35-0 home victory over Houston County in 2011.

Forrest has an overall 7-24 playoff record since 1969 and they have never advanced past the second round.

Bledsoe County sports a 5-15 playoff record and has not won a post-season game since 2011 when they beat Meigs County 44-25.

The Forrest Rockets run out versus Jackson County last week when they secured an unbeaten region record in the regular season.

Thursday's night game will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

Kriesky is not in the looking back mode as he gets the squad ready for the battle, but the second year coach is also proud of his team's accomplishments so far.

"First off all, I have a great coaching staff and they are the reason we have been so successful this year," Kriesky said. "These guys go above and beyond each week preparing these young men. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a great group of coaches and hopefully we will be able to accomplish our goals that we have set out for this year."

The Rockets (9-1, 7-0) are the number one seed from Region 4-AA and well-prepared, coming into the contest off six straight wins, all coming by more than 10 points.

That in no way means Forrest will overlook anyone after what happened at home last season.

"We have to be ready to play four quarters of football and not overlook a very tough Bledsoe County team," Kriesky said. "Bledsoe County is peaking at the right time of year and we have to be ready for a physical battle Friday night."

Dylan Pendley runs for a 23-yard TD last week versus Jackson County.

Physical is Forrest's mantra, highlighted by the fact that the Rockets can run the football with the best teams in their class and can play defense as well as all.

Kriesky is sticking to the game plan that has worked the entire season for fifth-ranked Forrest, which has scored the most of points in the region (399), while allowing the least (105).

"We will continue to try to move the football on offensive and let our lineman open up holes for our backs," Kriesky said. "Defensively they are a heavy run team so we will have to tackle well and have good pursuit angles to the football."

The Forrest defense has been superb this season, leading the region in points allowed with 105.

Forrest has rushed for 3,046 yards for the season with junior Slayton Wild leading the ground attack with 663 yards on 85 carries and eight touchdowns.

Senior Jake Elkins is next with 578 yards on 84 touches and leads the team with nine rushing touchdowns.

Jacob Jones has 399 yards (6TD), Joseph Williams has rushed for 399 and six scores, while Clay Watson rounds out the top five with 204 yards and two TDs.

Forrest junior Billy Clanton is a dangerous player on both sides of the ball, leading the team with 61 tackles from his linebacker position and Clanton has the ability to make big plays at tight end.

Don't overlook senior quarterback David Andrews, who has been an efficient signal caller this season, throwing for 369 yards and six touchdowns, while tossing just one interception.

Peyton Sisk is Andrews' favorite target, catching six passes for 165 yards and three scores, while Wild has one TD catch, Michael Dyer two, and Jones and Jesse Pruitt have one TD reception each.

Andrews, the starting safety, can deliver a big on hit on defense, leading Forrest with four interceptions.