FMS Rockets hand Community defeat

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Hunter Pendley breaks a tackle and runs for a 43-yard touchdown in the Rockets' first drive of the second half, putting FMS in the lead for good. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Community Middle School Vikings invaded Chapel Hill Thursday night and almost pulled off a win over the FMS Rockets, but a big second half propelled Forrest to a hard fought 26-22 win.

"All the credit goes to Community, they played really hard and are a very physical football team," FMS coach Corey Searcy said. "We told our guys all week that they are the best team in the conference overall---things just haven't worked out for them, but they played well."

The Rockets (4-1) received the opening kickoff and scored in a hurry behind a Cason Warner 40-yard run followed by a Max Kirby 15-yard TD pass to Christian Hammond.

The FMS defense bent, but did not break on Community's first offensive series, forcing a punt.

Vikings take lead

The Rockets fumbled the ball away on its next possession and the Vikings capitalized two plays later on some trickery when CJ Rivera tossed a 44-yard halfback option pass to Will Reed.

Rivera, who would be a thorn in the Rockets' side until the final whistle, ran in the 2-pt. conversion for an 8-7 Community lead with 3:31 remaining in the first half.

The Rockets tried to drive, but a fourth down pass fell incomplete and the first half ended with the Vikings holding the precarious one-point lead.

Community was mired with penalties on its initial second half possession and had to punt from near the goal line to the Rockets, who took over at the CMS 43-yard line.

FMS goes ahead

FMS grabbed the lead on the next play when Hunter Pendley took off on a 43-yard run down the home sidelines for a touchdown and Baker added the PAT, giving the Rockets a 14-8 lead with 4:38 left in the third quarter.

Forrest forced a crucial three-and-out on defense and after a poor punt gave them great field position at the Vikings' 43-yard line, Pendley took off again on a 20-yard scamper before Warner finished off the scoring drive with a TD run.

Baker's PAT attempt was blocked, but the Rockets still held a 12-point lead at 20-8 with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter.

Big play

Community dug in on its next drive, starting at the Forrest 32-yard line, but stalled shortly afterwards and faced a fourth-and-twelve with 7:54 remaining in the contest.

Rivera tossed another halfback option pass to Reed covering 18-yards for a first down and five plays later, Rivera punched it in for a TD, but the 2-pt. pass was incomplete, making it 20-14 with 4:26 left in the contest.

Joseph Whittaker takes off for the goal line in the Rockets' 26-22 win Thursday night.

FMS recovered an onside kick at the Community 49-yard line and Pendley ran the down to the 15-yard line, leading to a Joseph Whittaker 2-yard TD run that gave the Rockets a 26-14 lead with 1:57 left in the game.

Rivera returned the ensuing FMS kickoff for a 78-yard touchdown and added a 2-pt. conversion run, slicing the FMS lead to 26-22.

Final chance

Community tried the onside kick again and this time Forrest fumbled and the Vikings had one last try to win the game with 1:41 left in the battle.

They went backwards on the first two plays, but Rivera hit his third option pass of the game moments later to Reed down to the FMS 28-yard line.

"It was tough to defend, we knew number 23 was the ball player for them and we knew he was going to get the ball," Searcy said. "He was just an athlete, we had guys in position, but he threw it where his guy could catch it. He's a good ball player, a very good ball player."

Rivera caught a pass from Riker Reed for 10 yards on the next play and gained two more yards before a Community timeout with 12 seconds left in the game.

Game's end

Cason Warner (4), Cole Perryman (12) and Noah Hill (52) meet in the CMS backfield to disrupt a Community offensive play Thursday night at Murrey E. Holton Memorial Field in Chapel Hill.

It was not to be as Warner busted through and sacked the Community quarterback to end the game.

"We challenged them in the huddle, put our guys in a position to make a play and they did it," Searcy said. "It was a great team win for our guys, it was a bit of a nail biter, but we will take it any way we can get it."

The Rockets have a bye week before entertaining Eagleville for Homecoming on Thursday, September 22.

"We have a few injuries we have to get healed up," Searcy said. "We have in our final push, three more games and if we win out, it will be Fayetteville again, so every game from here on out is a playoff game."

Community 0 8 0 14-22

Forrest 7 0 13 6-26

Scoring Plays

First quarter

Forrest-Christian Hammond 15 yard pass from Max Kirby, Carson Baker PAT, 3:45

Second quarter

Community-Will Reed 44 pass from CJ Rivera, Rivera 2-pt. run, 0.20

Third quarter

Forrest-Hunter Pendley 43 run, Baker PAT, 4:38

Forrest-Cason Warner 29 run, Baker PAT, 2:44

Fourth quarter

Community-Rivera 1 run, 2-pt. pass incomplete, 4:26

Forrest-Joseph Whittaker 1 run, PAT blocked, 1:57

Community-Rivera 73 kickoff return, Rivera 2-pt. run, 1:44

Total Offense-Forrest 252, Community 188

Turnovers-Forrest 1, Community 0

Penalties-Forrest 4-30, Community 6-35

Forrest Offense

Passing-Max Kirby 2-7-29-TD

Receiving-Christian Hammond 2-29-TD

Rushing-Hunter Pendley 5-107-TD, Cason Warner 6-66-TD, Joseph Whittaker 12-50-TD, Max Kirby 3-0


Tackles-Jamon Moates 10, Max Kirby 7, Cason Warner 5 (sack), Joseph Whittaker 5, Hunter Pendley 3, Christian Hammond 2, Cain Moses 2, Jared Osborne 2, Blake Burnham 1, Justin Gillespie 1, Noah Hill 1, Jonah Reid 1, Layne Strasser 1


PAT-Carson Baker 2-4