Unbeaten Rockets halt Indians 35-0

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
The 2016 seniors pose before the start of the game. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

There was no rust, no looking ahead and no competition for Forrest in Friday's senior night matchup at Murrey E. Holton Memorial Field versus East Robertson as the undefeated Rockets (8-0, 5-0) posted a 35-0 win shutout over the Cross Plains Indians (2-5, 1-3).

"We had a bad week of practice, we didn't practice well Monday and Tuesday and then the injury bug hit on Tuesday," Forrest coach Brent Johns said. "The goal was to get a win and we did that."

It was total domination for the Rockets, who put up 414 yards of total offense, while the Forrest defense continued its domination on the season, allowing just 126 yards to the Indians and one first down in the first half.

Defensive praise

"Our defense is just outstanding, people have no idea how easy it is to call plays when you have a defense like ours," Johns said. "I can take some chances and do some fun stuff on offense because I know we are going to stop them if we give the ball up."

The Rockets led 21-0 at the half and in the second half, Johns rested the majority of his starters and got a good look at some key reserves who could play important roles for Forrest down the stretch and into the playoffs.

"I thought we executed well tonight," Johns said. "The offensive line played well, the backs ran well and I think the quarterbacks played well and we caught the ball."

Lots of yardage

Eleven Forrest running backs had carries in the ground attack that gained 297 yards on 51 carries with Scrappy Osborne leading the way with 68 yards on nine carries, Troy Turner had seven touches for 51 yards and Slayton Wild saw limited duty and finished with 48 yards on six carries.

Wesley McCoy rushed for 40 yards on five carries and scored once, Parker Stuard had two touches for 234 yards with a pair of big first down runs, Nick McClendon ran the ball nine times for 33 yards and a touchdown, Jacob Jones also saw limited duty and had six touches for 24 yards and a trip to pay dirt and Gavin Adams had two carries with his second touch going for a touchdown that finished off the scoring for Chapel Hill.

Luke Cunningham hauls in a 30-yard TD pass from Layton Bennett in the second quarter of the Rockets' 35-0 win over East Robertson Friday night at Murrey E. Holton Memorial Field in Chapel Hill.

Senior receiver Luke Cunningham had another big night in his magical season, hauling in his fourth touchdown pass of the campaign via a 30-yard pass from Layton Bennett on a third-and-twenty-four with 30 seconds remaining in the first half that gave Forrest a three-touchdown lead.

"It's been an outstanding season, I just love football so much," Cunningham said. "They put me in there and they trust me, so I just try to convert. Even though they were 2-6, they can still come in here and beat us, so we just had to play hard and play how we knew how to."

Bennett finished with three completions on six attempts for 78 yards and no interceptions.

Straight to a score

Forrest won the opening coin toss and marched right down the field, putting together a solid 12-play drive that was capped off by a Jones five-yard TD run with 5:44 remaining in the first quarter.

"The last two weeks we have had two close games and it was a little hard trying to get focused this week," Bennett said. "The first two days of practice didn't go so well, but near the end of the week we came together and we came out here tonight were on fire and played a pretty good game if I can say so myself."

East Robertson was forced to punt after an unsuccessful first possession before the Rockets took a 14-0 lead, striking quickly on a six play series that produced six more points on a Bennett 16-yard hitch pass to McClendon, who left several Indians in his wake to the end zone.

Javier Rios' PAT was good for the second time in a row as the Rockets took the two-touchdown margin to the second quarter where they forced the Indians to punt again after a three-and-out.

East Robertson held on, stopping Forrest for the first time, but could not move the ball on the Rockets' defense and punted the ball right back after three more plays.

Out of reach

Wesley McCoy stiff arms a defender in the Rockets' 35-0 shutout win over the Indians.

The Rockets drove the ball all the way to the East Robertson eight-yard line where McCoy scored an apparent touchdown, but the play was called back on a false start and an added unsportsmanlike penalty on the Rockets that moved the ball back to a third-and-twenty-four where Bennett reared back and tossed a perfect strike to Cunningham in the end zone for a touchdown, essentially putting the game out of reach for the Indians, who secured their initial first down of the game with 12 seconds left in the first half.

East Robertson finally got some offense going to begin the second half, driving all the way to the Forrest 27-yard line where a fourth-down incomplete pass fell to the turf to end the scoring opportunity.

The Rockets' next drive looked like it would stall out after a bad snap turned into a second-and-twenty-three, but Bennett went to his favorite bailout once again, finding Cunningham at the East Robertson 27-yard for a first down.

"He (Cunningham) is very athletic and these past few games I have learned that if I throw it up to him, he will go get it," Bennett said. "He is just a good ball player."

On the next play, McCoy ran to pay dirt, but the PAT was no good, making it 27-0 with 4:58 remaining in the third period.

Handing it over

William Rorabaugh (24) jumps on a loose football for a fumble recovery in the third quarter.

After the ensuing kickoff, East Robertson fumbled on first down and William Rorabaugh recovered.

The Rockets returned the favor, fumbling the ball away moments later and East Robertson went on the move, driving then ball to the Forrest 34-yard line where they were stopped inches short of the fourth down marker with 10:41 remaining in the contest.

Josh Meglis came in for Bennett and tossed a strike to Kagan Warren that went for 40 yards to the East Robertson 28 yard line and four plays later, Adams pounded the ball over the goal line for a touchdown.

Turner added the two-point conversion run, making it 35-0 and initiating the 35-point mercy rule and the running clock with 8:37 left in the game.

The Indians tried to put together one last drive, but it was spoiled by another turnover when Stuard recovered a fumble at FHS 27-yard line and from there, the Rockets ran out the clock for the victory.

Parker Stuard comes up with a big 19-yard run for a first down to keep a scoring drive alive.

Bye week

Forrest gets to mend some bumps and bruises this week with a bye before travelling to Eagleville (2-4, 1-3) next Friday.

"The big one is at Eagleville next week, but the goal is 10-0," said Johns. "The bye week comes at a perfect time for us to heal up some of these bumps and bruises and get our kids back healthy again."

East Robertson 0 0 0 0-0

Forrest 14 7 6 8-35

Scoring Plays

First Quarter

Forrest-Jacob Jones 5 run, Javier Rios PAT, 5:44

Forrest-Nick McClendon 16 pass from Layton Bennett, Rios PAT, 0:33

Second Quarter

Forrest-Luke Cunningham 30 pass from Bennett, Rios PAT, 0:30

Third Quarter

Forrest-Wesley McCoy 27 run, PAT NG, 4:58

Fourth Quarter

Forrest-Gavin Adams 1 run, Troy Turner PAT run, 8:37

Total Offense-Forrest 414, East Robertson 140

Passing-Forrest 118, East Robertson 14

Rushing-Forrest 296, East Robertson 126

Turnovers-East Robertson 2, Forrest 1

Penalties-Forrest 5-55, East Robertson 4-30

Forrest Offense

Passing-Layton Bennett 3-6-78-2TD, Josh Meglis -1-2-40

Receiving-Luke Cunningham 2-62-TD, Kagan Warren 1-40, Nick McClendon 1-16-TD

Rushing-Scrappy Osborne 9-68, Troy Turner 7-51, Slayton Wild 6-48, Wesley McCoy 5-40-TD, Parker Stuard 2-34, Nick McClendon 9-33-TD, Jacob Jones 6-24-TD, Gavin Adams 2-1-TD, Layton Bennett 3-0, Josh Meglis 1-(-1), Blaize Sweeney 1-(-1)


Tackles-Billy Clanton 8, Luke Cunningham 4, Parker Stuard 4, Jacob Jones 4, Nick McClendon 4, Bryton Spitzley 3, Garrett Nevison 3, Michael Dyer 2, Cole Villazon 2, Troy Turner 2, Blaize Sweeney 1, Austin Geeting 1, Josh Hill 1, Jonathan Lykins 1, Spencer McCown 1, Scrappy Osborne 1, Gauge Anderson 1, Nathan Trout 1, Slayton Wild 1, Jacob Wright 1

Fumble recoveries-William Rorabaugh 1, Parker Stuard 1

Kickoff Returns-Jacob Jones 1-15, Slayton Wild 1-15


PAT-Javier Rios 3-4