Rockets repeat Hornet stomp

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
The Rockets run out for their season opener Friday night at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets ignored the hype of not being able to stop Huntland standout running back DJ Taylor, pounding the Wake Forrest signee on the way to their second consecutive 35-0 win over the Hornets.

The Forrest defense held Taylor to 73 yards rushing on 16 carries and forced him to fumble three times in the season opener at Murrey E. Holton Memorial Field in Chapel Hill.

Fumble factory

"We have turnover Tuesday every week in practice where we stress turning the ball over and if the defense takes the ball way at any point, they get to take water and rest and I think that mentality of toughness carried over to the game tonight," Forrest coach Brent Johns said. "I really feel bad for him, he is a great back, a great player and a competitor, who didn't have a lot of great blocking up front for him."

Johns, who garnered his first career win as a head coach said about his experience, "I kept myself so busy today and so many people needed so many things from me, I really didn't have time to think about it."

Meanwhile, the Forrest offense was superb as 10 ball carriers combined for 300 rushing yards and junior quarterback Layton Bennett had an error free solid contest, going 4-for-5 with a pair of touchdown tosses.

Huge gain

Sophomore tailback Wesley McCoy led the Rockets in the ground game and it was on one run, an electrifying 69-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.

McCoy's run charged up the Rockets, who would go on to score three more touchdowns before halftime to take a commanding 28-0 lead to the locker room.

Forrest's Slayton Wild (8) runs over Huntland's Noah Norwood for a big gain.

Senior swingman Slayton Wild had a big night, rushing for 62 bruising yards on seven carries and Wild also caught a 12-yard TD pass from Bennett in which he barreled a Huntland defender at the goal line to score with eight seconds remaining in the first half.

Huntland received the opening kickoff and Taylor toted the rock six times in a drive that ate up most of the first quarter before Josh "Tank" Hill stopped Alex Simmons in his tracks on a fourth down play at the Forrest 38-yard line with 4:47 remaining in the period.

Early troubles

Huntland turned the tables in the Rockets first offensive possession, stopping Forrest on a fourth down play.

The Hornets had to punt after three plays on their next touch and the first quarter ended with Forrest on the Huntland 25-yard line.

Two plays into the second quarter, McCoy busted loose on a sweep and raced for a 69-yard score and the Rockets led 7-0 after the first of five Javier Rios successful PAT kicks.

Taylor fumbled seven plays into the next drive and Wild came up with the pigskin at the Forrest 43-yard line.

Bennett found McClendon on a six-yard pass to open the drive before the Rockets went backwards, facing a third and 13 before Wild took a handoff and busted up the middle, running over two Huntland defenders for a first down at the Hornets' 25-yard line.

Straight to score

Freshman Nick McClendon races in for a 25-yard TD in the Rockets' huge 28-point second quarter.

McClendon wasted little time, taking the handoff and running nearly untouched into the end zone for a 14-0 Forrest lead with 6:16 remaining in the first half.

Taylor fumbled again on the second play after the Forrest touchdown with Nathan Trout recovering the drop at the Huntland 36-yard line.

Michael Dyer heads to the end zone for a touchdown after catching a pass from Layton Bennett.

The Taylor turnover was devastating as the Rockets scored on the next play as Bennett found a wide open Michael Dyer for the score, making it 21-zip.

Huntland tried to come back, putting together a solid drive, but a fumbled snap on a third down play forced the Hornets to punt the ball away with just over two minutes left in the first half.

McClendon picked up six yards on a first down run before senior Jacob Jones busted loose for a 40-yard run down to the Huntland 23-yard line.

Rockets rule

After another first down moved the ball to the 12-yard line, Bennett tried to run it in but was stopped in his tracks, forcing a Forrest timeout with eight ticks left in the first half.

Johns called for a pass and Bennett found Wild near the goal line where he ran over the last line of Huntland's defense for the backbreaking score.

The Hornets desperately needed to stop Forrest on the first drive of the second half, but it was not to be as the Rockers marched just over 40 yards for the put away score via a Jones 7-yard TD run.

Senior linebacker Billy Clanton (16) and the Forrest defense shut down the Hornets.

Taylor's third fumble of the night on Huntland's next drive essentially ended the game as both teams went to their reserves and in the fourth quarter, the clock ran as the mercy rules took effect on the Hornets.

Huntland had a chance to break the goose egg as they made it all the way to the Forrest 14-yard line before a Bryton Spitzley fourth down stop secured the shutout win for the Rockets.

Coming up

Forrest entertains Moore County Friday night and Huntland returns home where they take on Fayetteville. The Raiders got shellacked 32-12 by Cascade at home on opening night, while Fayetteville spanked FRA 21-3.

"It's not Forrest versus Moore County, it's Chapel Hill versus Lynchburg and it goes way way back and it means a whole bunch to the people in this town and to the people over there," Johns said. "I'm sure if you go to town over there in Lynchburg this week, it's Lynchburg versus Chapel Hill, they don't know what Forrest is."

Box score

Huntland 0 0 0 0-0

Forrest 0 28 7 0-35

Scoring plays

Second quarter

Forrest: Wesley McCoy 69 run, Javier Rios PAT, 10:58

Forrest: Nick McClendon 25 run, Rios PAT, 6:16

Forrest: Michael Dyer 12 pass from Layton Bennett, Rios PAT, 5:13

Forrest: Slayton Wild 12 pass from Bennett, Rios PAT, .08

Third quarter

Forrest: Jacob Jones 7 run, Rios PAT

Forrest offense: Rushing 31-300 yards, Passing 4-54-0

Rushing: Wesley McCoy 1-69-TD, Slayton Wild 7-62, Jacob Jones 5-52-TD, Scrappy Osborne 5-45, Nick McClendon 5-42-TD, Justin Leonard 2-12, Austin Porter 2-12, Troy Turner 1-8, Dylan Pendley 1-6, Blaize Sweeney 2-(-8)

Passing: Layton Bennett 3-4-54 yards, 2TD, 0 interceptions

Receiving: Michael Dyer 1-36-TD, Slayton Wild 1-12-TD, Nick McClendon 1-6

Forrest defense: Rushing 47-146 yards, Passing 4-54

Turnovers: Forrest 0, Huntland 3

Penalties: Forrest 2-10, Huntland 4-40

Tackles: Wes McCoy 6, Nick McClendon 6, Dylan Pendley 5, Josh Hill 4, Troy Turner 4, Anthony Kritz 3, Jacob Jones 3, Scrappy Osborne 3, Jonathan Lykins 3 (.5 sack), Austin Porter 3, Bryton Spitzley 2 (.5 sack), Garrett Nevison 2, Parker Stuard 2, Cole Villazon 2, Blaize Sweeney 1, Nathan Trout 1, William Rorabaugh 1, Hank Eddins 1, Austin Geeting 1, Pryor Haines 1, Alex Patmore 1


PAT: Javier Rios 5-5

Touchbacks: Javier Rios 1-5

Punt returns: Jacob Jones 1-39

Kickoff returns: Dylan Pendley 1-0


Rushing: DJ Taylor 16-73, Alex Simmons 17-54, Cameron Reed 11-42, Brandon Yarbrough 3-(-23)

Receiving: DJ Taylor 1-8