Rockets grab milestone win
The torturing caused by three straight losses to Page is over for Forrest as the Rockets travelled to Rudderville Friday and came away with a solid 21-14 win over the Patriots.
"This is the one we have been looking for four years now," Forrest coach Brent Johns said. "This bunch of seniors has had three heart break losses to Page and they came over here and got it done tonight."
Forrest (4-0, 2-0) never trailed in the contest that went down to the wire versus the Class 4A Patriots (1-2, 1-0), who amassed 242 yards passing in the game as Jacob Van Landingham threw for 242 and two touchdowns.
Kritz is hero
But in the two most crucial defensive situations in the game, Forrest senior cornerback Anthony Kritz came away with a pair of circus catch interceptions that if he didn't execute, would have been game tying touchdowns for Page.
"I felt like I was in a zone tonight, I was just ball hawking and it was amazing," Kritz said. "Everybody on this defense is so amazing---the line, the linebackers and the DB's as well, so it just feels so amazing to put all that hard work in and it come out great like this."
Those two turnovers were the difference in the game as the Rockets did not give the ball away on offense.
Meanwhile, the sixth-ranked Rockets ground attack was in full gear as eight runners touched the rock in a 300 yard rushing effort that included Forrest's two biggest offensive plays with Troy Turner opening the scoring with a 51-yard first quarter touchdown run and senior Jacob Jones' 73 yard scamper from deep in Rocket territory set up Chapel Hill's final score of the game late in the fourth quarter.
Jones led the rushing attack with 108 yards on eight carries, while Turner had 79 yards on seven touches, Nick McClendon went 53 yards on 15 tough carries, Slayton Wild had 42 yards on nine carries and Wesley McCoy came up with 16 yards on five carries, but one of those touches resulted in a late second quarter eight-yard TD run that put Forrest in front for good.
Forrest quarterback Layton Bennett had another solid game behind center, executing the offensive game plan with efficiency and confidence the entire night.
"I'm just pumped, I give it all to my line," Bennett said. "We blocked our hearts out tonight, we ran the ball down their throat and they couldn't stop us. They beat us the past three or four years, so it finally feels good to break that."
Bennett ended up with 55 yards passing, competing three throws and he ran for the final Rocket score on a quarterback sneak after Jones' long run.
The Rockets received the opening kickoff and drove deep into Page territory before giving up the ball on downs, but the Pats went three-and-out and had to punt.
On the third play of the drive, Turner busted through the line and out-raced the Page defense 51-yards to the end zone for a touchdown.
"Troy's speed is a difference," Johns said. "We pound them with Wild, Jones and McCoy at running back and then we bring Troy in and call a home run play and once he gets past them, he's gone, nobody is going to catch him."
Last week's hero, Javier Rios, who go a perfect 3-for-3 in the PAT department booted the extra point to put the Rockets in front 7-0 with 3:04 remaining in the first quarter.
The Patriots fought back, driving all the way to Forrest one-yard line on their next possession before Van Landingham was tackled in the backfield on a fourth down snap, giving the ball back to the Rockets.
Forrest did not move the ball and punted back to Page, who took over at their own 41-yard line.
The Patriots needed only four plays to score with the big blow coming on a Van Landingham 40-yard pass play down to the Forrest 14-yard line.
Two plays later, Bubba Johnson scored for the Pats and Brent Cimaglia added the PAT, making it 7-7 with 7:26 remaining in the first half.
Forrest started its next drive at their own 19-yard line, but on second down Jones broke free and scampered all the way to Page eight-yard line before being tackled.
"We came in here and we knew it was going to be a battle all night long," Jones said. "We got ahead early, stayed ahead and just pounded the ball, that's what we know how to do and we executed perfectly tonight."
Wesley McCoy punched it in from there as the Rockets took a 14-7 lead with 5:56 left in the first half.
In the three previous losses to Page, Forrest had never held a halftime lead and it looked like the Patriots would knot up the contest this time too, driving all the way to FHS 26-yard line where Van Landingham dropped back and tossed a pass to the back of the end zone where Kritz made a spectacular catch for the interception.
Forrest took the seven-point lead to the half and then came up with a huge defensive stop on the Patriots to begin the second half when Kritz repeated his circus performance with another pretty grab in the Page end zone to kill the drive.
Forrest took over and went into game killing mode, taking the ball inside the Page 50-yard line where they faced a third-and-eight play with 3:22 left in the game.
Bennett dropped back and found Wild, would made a great catch in double coverage at the Page 15-yard line.
Three plays later, Bennett scored on the sneak and the Rockets held a comfortable 21-7 lead with 1:56 remaining in the game.
It was not a comfortable enough lead when Van Landingham found a wide-open Andrew Metkler on the next play as the Rockets blew the coverage for a 63-yard touchdown strike.
"Our defense was awesome tonight, all the credit goes to coach (Eli) Stephenson," Johns said. "We had that one busted play all night."
Everyone in the house knew the onside kick was coming, but Michael Dyer made a nice play on a high bounce and the Rockets took over and ran out the clock for the win.
"This is what we do all the hard work for, coming over here and playing a Williamson County game in the Williamson County atmosphere, that's what we want, that's what we are trying to get to," Johns said. "This a game that coach Coleman and coach Kriesky felt that if we could ever win this game and I felt it too that, it would be a stepping stone for pout program to take it to the next level because that are a 4A team that is equal to a second round 2A playoff game and we came over here and did it tonight."
Forrest packs up their bags again this week as they travel to Community (0-3, 0-2) where they will take on a much-improved Vikings squad.
Forrest 7 7 0 7-21
Page 0 7 0 7-14
Forrest-Troy Turner 51 run, Javier Rios PAT, 3:04
Page-Donald Johnson 5 run, Brent Cimaglia PAT, 7:26
Forrest-Wesley McCoy 8 run, Rios PAT, 5:56
Layton Bennett, 2 run, Rios PAT, 1:54
Page-Andrew Metkler 63 pass from Jacob Van Landingham, 1:36
Total Offense-Forrest 355, Page 362
Rushing-Forrest 300, Page 120
Passing-Forrest 55, Page 242
Penalties-Forrest 5-45, Page 5-45
Turnovers-Forrest 0, Page 2
Rushing-Jacob Jones 8-108, Troy Turner 7-79-TD, Nick McClendon 15-53, Slayton Wild 9-49, Wesley McCoy 5-16-TD, Dylan Pendley 1-2, Layton Bennett 1-3-TD, Parker Stuard 1-(-1)
Passing-Layton Bennett 3-6-55
Receiving-Slayton Wild 1-30, Nick McClendon 1-20, Michael Dyer 1-5
Tackles-Jacob Jones 8, Nathan Trout 7, Billy Clanton 4, Dylan Pendley 4, Garrett Nevison 4 (sack), Nick McClendon 4, Josh Hill 3, Troy Turner 3, Slayton Wild 3, Anthony Kritz (2INT), Jonathan Lykins 3 (sack), Michael Dyer 2, Wesley McCoy 2, Luke Cunningham 1, Blaize Sweeney 1, Justin Leonard 1, Bryton Spitzley 1, Parker Stuard 1, Austin Porter 1
Kicking-Javier Rios PAT 3-3
Punting-Jacob Jones 2-71, Javier Rios 1-39
Kickoffs-Slayton Wild 2-43, Michael Dyer 1-0
Punts-Dylan Pendley 1-0