Again, Warriors eliminate Rockets

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Forrest Senior Jacob Jones returns fumble 55-yards to the Marion County 15-yard line in the third quarter of the Rockets' 55-14 loss to the Warriors Friday night in a Class 2A semifinal matchup. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

For the second season in a row, the Marion County Warriors handed the Forrest Rockets a season ending loss on their home turf at Murrey E. Holton Memorial Field in Chapel Hill.

And for the second time, it wasn't close.

In a dominating performance, the Warriors outgained the Rockets on offense 435-to-181 and won in a landslide 55-14.

"That was not the way we wanted it to go tonight," Forrest coach Brent Johns said. "It was good a good start and at halftime we were still OK."

"When we had to start throwing the ball, it went downhill because we are just not made for that and then they made some picks and made it ugly."

High marks

In both losses, the points scored by Marion County were the most on the Rockets' defense in each of the past two seasons.

"They (Marion County) are good and we talk about it all the time that that is the level we want to get to," Johns said. "They are a senior-laden team and someday we will be."

Tennessee Titans 2016 Mr. Football Class 2A Lineman of the Year Award semifinalist Slayton Wild scores his final touchdown for the Rockets on Forrest's first drive of the game.

Forrest received the opening kickoff after Marion County deferred and drove 70 yards in just eight plays, highlighted by two big first down conversion passes by Layton Bennett to Slayton Wild for 11 yards and another strike to Parker Stuard for 26 yards that set up a Wild two-yard touchdown burst with 7:47 remaining in the first quarter.

The Rockets did not score again until a fourth quarter 7-yard touchdown run by Nick McClendon.

Silent period

In between those two scores, the Forrest offense was silent while the Warriors scored on their first three possessions and led 21-7 at the half.

The Rockets came up with a turnover on Marion County's first possession of the second half, but went three-and-out before Warriors' quarterback Isiah Sampson scored his second and third touchdowns of the game to finish off scoring drives, making it 35-7 at the end of the third quarter.

On the fourth play of the fourth quarter, Jacob Saylors raced 74 yards for a Warrior touchdown and with 10:22 remaining in the contest, Hunter Zeeman notched a pick-six to cap off the scoring for the 2015 Class 2A runners-up.

Parker Stuard (22) drags down a Marion County ball carrier.

Marion County (12-1) hosts Austin East (12-1) in the top half of the Class 2A semifinal bracket, while defending champion Trezevant (8-5) entertains Waverly Central (12-1) Friday night.

Trezevant, who beat Marion County 40-35 in the title contest last season, advanced with a 28-20 road win over Mitchell.

Record setters

The 2015-2016 Rockets set two school records this season as they posted eleven wins and broke through the second round playoff win roadblock with last week's 20-14 come from behind win over Tyner Academy.

"This guys have nothing to be ashamed of and I don't think they are ashamed of everything, I think they know and are proud of what they accomplished even with tonight's disappointment," Johns said. "Its gonna hurt for a whole, but as time passes they can look back at 11-2 and realize that was the greatest season in Rockets football history."

Luke Cunningham (23) gets his hand in to knock loose the ball at the last second, preventing a Marion County touchdown.

2017 brings the first year of a four-year TSSA realignment period that has Forrest remaining in the Class 2A classification as a member of Region 5 along with Eagleville, Community, Columbia Academy, Summertown, Lewis County and Loretto.

Marion County 7 14 14 20-55

Forrest 7 0 0 7-14

Scoring plays

First quarter

Forrest-Slayton Wild 2 run, (Javier Rios PAT), 7:47

Marion County-Isiah Sampson 4 run, (Houston McElroy PAT), 5:01

Second quarter

Marion County-Jacob Saylors 12 pass from Sampson, (McElroy PAT), 10:46

Marion County-Hunter Zeeman 8 run, (McElroy PAT), 6:15

Third quarter

Marion County-Sampson 1 run, (McElroy PAT), 8:25

Marion County-Sampson 4 run, (McElroy PAT), 7:03

Fourth quarter

Marion County-Saylors 74 run, (PAT NG), 10:30

Marion County-Zeeman 15 interception return, (McElroy PAT), 10:22

Marion County-Brett Nelson 6 run, (McElroy PAT), 9:00

Forrest-Nick McClendon 7 run, (Rios PAT), 4:00

Total Offense-Marion County 435, Forrest 181

Rushing-Marion County 371, Forrest 44

Passing-Marion County 64, Forrest 137

Turnovers-Marion County 2, Forrest 4

Penalties-Marion County 5-37, Forrest 5-52

First downs-Marion County 20, Forrest 9

Forrest Offense

Rushing-Nick McClendon 8-31-TD, Slayton Wild 5-21-TD, Jacob Jones 5-21, Troy Turner 5-6, Wesley McCoy 2-(-2), Layton Bennett 4-(-33)

Passing-Josh Meglis 3-4-75-INT, Layton Bennett 5-11-62-INT, Jacob Jones 1-0-INT

Receiving-Kagan Warren 1-55, Parker Stuard 1-26, Nick McClendon 1-15, Slayton Wild 1-13, William Rorabaugh 1-5, Luke Cunningham 2-0, Spencer Gray 1-(-1)


Tackles-Billy Clanton 7, Nathan Trout 6, Jacob Jones 4 (fumble recovery), Garrett Nevison 4 (fumble recovery), Zach Russell 4, Troy Turner 3, Slayton Wild 2, Michael Dyer 2, Wesley McCoy 2, Dylan Pendley 2, Parker Stuard 2, Luke Cunningham 1, Josh Hill 1, Jonathan Lykins 1, Cole Villazon 1, Nick McClendon 1, Bryton Spitzley 1, Gavin Adams 1


PAT-Javier Rios 2-2

Punting-Jacob Jones 4-142

Kickoff returns-Jacob Jones 3-56, Dylan Pendley 1-28