Rockets one win from perfection

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Layton Bennett drops back before completing a 60-yard pass to Nick McClendon. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets took a major step towards perfection Friday night as they came away with a relatively easy 39-14 win at Eagleville.

"That was huge," Mr. Football hopeful Slayton Wild said. "We have worked hard for this and we deserve it."

Forrest (9-0, 6-0) needs a win at Jackson County (7-2, 5-1) this week to complete its first regular season undefeated slate since 1980.

Tough opponent

"Jackson County is a great team and much improved from last year," Wild said. "They play hard and they don't give up and it will be a tough ballgame for us on the road. We have to come to work Monday and go over there and get this region championship."

Eagleville briefly upset on its mind, holding a 7-6 lead after the first quarter before the Rockets scored 33 unanswered points.

"We took control of the line of scrimmage right off the bat," Forrest coach Brent Johns said. "I don't feel like they ever slowed us up on offense all night, I could run whatever we wanted."

Chapel Hill played error free football, winning the turnover battle 2-0 as Michael Dyer came up with a pair of drive killing interceptions with both turning into points for Forrest.

'Dyer was there'

"Dyer was there, Dyer was there," Johns exclaimed. "We have been telling him all year you are going to eventually pick it and he came up with two huge ones."

The Rockets rushed for 402 yards in the contest as 12 players ran the rock with Slayton Wild leading the way with 50 yards on seven touches, including a two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter after Dyer's first interception.

Wild also caught a 21-yard TD pass from Layton Bennett on the Rockets' first drive of the second half after the Forrest defense stopped Eagleville on downs.

Eagleville won the coin toss and deferred, kicking the ball to Forrest to begin the contest and the Rockets made them pay, but it wasn't easy as a pair of penalties put them in a first-and-22 hole.

Troy Turner sheds the last Eagleville defender on the way to a first quarter touchdown run Friday night.

A pass interference call on Eagleville gave them 15 yards back and from there, Forrest needed just five more plays, capped off by a Troy Turner 18-yard touchdown run.

The Javier Rios PAT kick was blocked and the Rockets led 6-0 with 7:29 left in the first quarter.

Brief Eagle hope

The Eagles responded with a six-plus minute drive that covered 78 yards and was finished by an Ethan Cobb three-yard touchdown pass to Avery Sparks with 53.2 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Jonathon Vermillion booted a successful PAT, giving the Eagles a breath of hope that quickly disappeared.

After the Eagleville kickoff, another penalty on the Rockets made it first-and-15, but luck was on the Rockets' side on the next play when Bennett tossed a pass to Dyer that was tipped and Nick McClendon picked it out of the air and rumbled to the Eagleville nine-yard line.

Jacob Jones (21) runs behind a wall of Forrest blockers for a first quarter touchdown.

Two plays later, Jacob Jones scored on a five-yard run.

Chasing a point

The Rockets tried to get back the lost point from their opening score, trying for the two-point conversion, but a Bennett pass fell incomplete and Forrest led 12-7 with 11:52 left in the first half.

A Billy Clanton third-down quarterback sack foiled Eagleville's next drive and the Rockets added to their lead six plays later when Wild busted into the end zone from two yards out.

The big play of the drive was an 11-yard run by former Eagle Parker Stuard that set up Wild's TD.

Dyer came up with his first pick moments later and the Rockets made it 25-7 with 2:20 remaining in the first half as Bennett carried the offense, beginning with a scramble play that resulted in a 70-yard run after the catch by Luke Cunningham before Bennett scored on a quarterback keeper.

Luke Cunningham (23) and Jacob Jones come up to put a big hit on an Eagleville running back in the Rockets' 39-14 win.

Great moves

"That (Cunningham's catch and run) reminded me of some of my old Marshall County players back in the day," Johns said. "I haven't seen moves like that in a long time."

Dyer intercepted Cobb on Eagleville's next drive to end the first half.

"We did what we always do, we fly to the football," Dyer said. "He (Cobb) doesn't look his receiver off, so when he was looking at me I knew it was coming."

Slayton Wild (8) and Nathan Trout (71) jump in an attempt to block an Ethan Cobb pass that was off the mark.

The Rockets stopped the Eagles' initial second half drive when Cobb was stuffed by the Forrest defense on a fourth down play at midfield.

Forrest took advantage of the short field, scoring on a Bennett 21-yard hitch pass to Wild with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter, making it a 32-7 contest.

Final TD

After two unsuccessful drives by both teams, Forrest garnered its last points of the game with 8:31 remaining when Scrappy Osborne finished off an 11-play drive with a one-yard TD burst.

Eagleville scored a garbage time TD on an 80-yard run by Antonio Turrentine on the first touch after the Osborne touchdown to cap off the scoring, sending the Rockets to Gainesboro where they have a chance for their first unbeaten season in 36 years.

"Long road trips have not been kind to us the last two years," Johns said. "We played poorly at Westmoreland this year and at East Robertson last year, so we have to figure out how to play good and win on a long road trip."

Forrest 6 19 7 7-39

Eagleville 7 0 0 7-14

Scoring plays

First quarter

Forrest-Troy Turner 18 run, PAT blocked, 7:29

Eagleville-Avery Sparks 3 pass from Ethan Cobb, Jonathon Vermillion PAT, 0:53

Second quarter

Forrest-Jacob Jones 5 run, PAT pass failed, 11:52

Forrest-Slayton Wild 4 run, PAT run failed, 6:26

Forrest-Layton Bennett 1 run, Javier Rios PAT, 2:20

Third quarter

Forrest-Wild 21 pass from Bennett, Rios PAT, 5:10

Fourth quarter

Forrest-Scrappy Osborne 1 run, Rios PAT, 8:31

Eagleville- Antonio Turrentine 80 run, Vermillion PAT, 8:12

Total Offense-Forrest 402, Eagleville 297

Passing-Forrest 151, Eagleville 106

Rushing-Forrest 251, Eagleville 191

Penalties-Forrest 5-45, Eagleville 2-20

Turnovers-Forrest 0, Eagleville 2

First downs-Forrest 20, Eagleville 14

Forrest Offense

Passing-Layton Bennett 3-6-151-TD, Josh Meglis 0-1-0, Jacob Jones 0-1-0

Receiving-Luke Cunningham 1-70, Nick McClendon 1-60, Slayton Wild 1-21-TD

Rushing-Slayton Wild 7-50-TD, Scrappy Osborne 11-48-TD, Jacob Jones 6-46-TD, Troy Turner 7-31-TD, Dylan Pendley 3-23, Parker Stuard 2-23, Wesley McCoy 5-22, Joel Burton 3-6, Nick McClendon 1-4, Layton Bennett 1-1, Blaize Sweeney 1-0, Josh Meglis 3-(-3)

Defense

Tackles-Nathan Trout 7, Michael Dyer 6 (2INT), Billy Clanton 5 (sack), Jacob Jones 5, Troy Turner 5, Dylan Pendley 3, Luke Cunningham 2, Wesley McCoy 2, Garrett Nevison 2, Bryton Spitzley 2, Slayton Wild 2, Hank Eddins 1, Noah Hill 1, Jonathan Lykins 1, Jayme Ozburn 1, Blaize Sweeney 1, Jacob Wright 1

Kicking

PAT-Javier Rios 3-4

Kickoffs-Javier Rios (5 touchbacks)

Punting-Jacob jones 1-40

Kick returns-Dylan Pendley 1-0, Luke Cunningham 1-0