Rios lifts Rockets to comeback one-point win
After the "One Drive" win over Moore County last week, the Forrest Rockets made their first road trip of the year to Westmoreland and came away with a heart wrenching 13-12 win via a Javier Rios 26-yard field goal with 1:49 remaining in the contest.
"I can't begin to explain how important Javier is to our football program," Forrest coach Brent Johns said. "Without him we don't win that game Friday night."
Rios added a 27-yard field goal early in fourth quarter and the Rockets only other score came on a Nick McClendon 8-yard TD run late in the third period.
Forrest (3-0, 1-0) may have been a little overconfident going into the game versus the Eagles, but quickly found out that they were in for a major tussle.
"It was huge for this team," Johns said. "We were feeling a little too good about ourselves after the first two weeks. I think Westmoreland showed us that we have a lot to work on if we are going to be a region contender this year."
The Rockets were held scoreless the first half and the once powerful ground game was halted by Westmoreland, who held Forrest to 98 yards on the ground.
"The Westmoreland defensive scheme and effort caused most of our troubles and secondly we didn't have a great night up front with our offensive line play and when we did our backs laid the ball on the ground," Johns pointed out. "It just wasn't our night offensively. We came in Sunday and went to work correcting those problems."
Forrest held a 7-6 lead after McClendon's third period touchdown and boosted its lead to 10-6 on Rios' first field goal.
"Nick McClendon made a great run to score our only touchdown," Johns said. "Looking back at that play on film, we didn't block it well at all and Westmoreland defended it well. Nick just made a cut and turned a bad play into a great play."
Westmoreland took a 12-10 lead when Tate Sloan hauled in a 71-yard TD pass from Blake Carter with 5:30 remaining in the contest, but the Rockets came up huge, stopping the two-point conversion.
Forrest got the ball back and a 41-yard strike from Layton Bennett to Parker Stuard put the Rockets in field goal position and Rios came through from the left hash for the game winner.
Final try denied
Westmoreland had one more chance to try to win the game, but two late sacks by the Forrest defense closed the door on the Eagles.
"I thought our defense played great all night with the exception of two plays," Johns said. "All of the credit there goes to coach (Eli) Stephenson, who does a fantastic job of preparing our kids defensively every week. No one works harder at it than he does."
Johns added, "The pressure on their quarterback late in the game was a result of Slayton Wild giving great effort when the game was on the line. When he decides to go hard he is really hard to block and Friday night he went hard on defense all night."
The Rockets and Westmoreland played the turnover game even as both squads had a fumble recovery and an interception with Jacob Jones coming up with the loose ball and Dylan Pendley's interception set up the McClendon touchdown run.
"We felt like after watching the film that Dylan Pendley had a good night on both sides of the ball," Johns stated. "He was always around the ball making tackles and his pick in the second half gave us the field position we needed to score our only touchdown of the game."
Forrest came out of the Sumner County battle with no injuries and faces off versus Page at 7 p.m. at Rudderville Friday night.
Ready to work
I think we will respond well," Johns said. "After our Sunday film session it was obvious what each unit and each player needs to work on to improve as a team. They came in Monday morning with a great attitude willing to get better and fix what needs to be fixed."
The Rockets have lost three straight games to the Patriots with a combined score of 64-58 via a one-point, two-point and three-point loss.
"Our kids know how much this Page game means to our program as a building block," Johns said. "We won't have to do much extra motivating this week."
Forrest 0 0 7 6-13
Westmoreland 0 6 0 6-12
Westmoreland-Tate Sloan 45 run, (PAT Blocked), 4:51
Forrest-Nick McClendon 8 run, (Javier Rios PAT), 1:49
Forrest-Rios 27-yard FG, 7:48
Westmoreland-Sloan 71 pass from Blake Carter, (PAT pass incomplete), 5:30
Forrest-Rios 26-yard FG
Total Yards-Forrest 149, Westmoreland 238
Rushing-Forrest 98, Westmoreland 161
Passing-Forrest 51, Westmoreland 77
Rushing-Slaton Wild 13-44, Dylan Pendley 1-19, Nick McClendon 6-16, Troy Turner 1-6, Jacob Jones 3-6, Parker Stuard 2-5, Anthony Kritz 1-4, Austin Porter 1-3, Layton Bennett 2-1, Wesley McCoy 4-(-6)
Passing-Layton Bennett 2-7-51-INT
Receiving-Parker Stuard 1-41, Anthony Kritz 1-10
Tackles-Billy Clanton 12, Jacob Jones 10 (Fumble recovery, 2 sacks), Nathan Trout 7, Jonathan Lykins 6, Nick McClendon 5, Josh Hill 5, Slayton Wild 3 (2 sacks), Michael Dyer 3, Troy Turner 3, Anthony Kritz 2, Wesley McCoy 2, Garrett Nevison 2, Justin Leonard 1, Dylan Pendley 1 (INT), Bryton Spitzley 1
Kicking-FG-Javier Rios 2-2, PAT-Javier Rios 1-1
Punting-Jacob Jones 3-111
Kickoffs-Austin Porter 1-21, Alex Patmore 1-0
Punts-Wesley McCoy 2-14, Michael Dyer 1-7
Turnovers-Forrest 2, Westmoreland 2
Penalties-Forrest 7-60, Westmoreland 7-52