Rocket misfires lead to fifth straight loss

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
The Rocket captains from left, Dillon Kydd (66), Colby Bluthardt (27), Austin Geeting (54), and Troy Turner (25) take the field along with head coach Brent Johns.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Are you sure there wasn’t a full moon shining over Chapel Hill Friday night?

It seemed like it in a weird game as the Rockets turned the ball over seven times and had two false start penalties deep in the opponent’s territory that prevented them from scoring, yet they still had a chance to upset region leading Lewis County (7-0, 4-0).

“Same old story,” Forrest coach Brent Johns said. “It would be hard to beat anybody with seven turnovers, especially the first place team in the region.”

Austin Geeting (54) and Blaize Sweeney (14) sack Lewis County quarterback Denton Webb in the first quarter.

But in the end, the Rockets’ misfires were just too much to overcome as the seventh-ranked Wildcats escaped Murrey E. Holton Field with a 21-7 win, extending Forrest’s losing streak to five games.

“We could not have asked for anymore effort,’ Johns said. “They are going to be fine, the schedule gets a little easier from here on out, so we will be fine.”

“We thought we needed to take some chances and we took some chances, but it just didn’t work out.”

The Rocket defense turned in another strong performance in Forrest’s 21-7 loss to Lewis County Friday night.

The Rockets (1-6, 1-3) still have some work to do to qualify for the postseason and that begins Friday night when Forrest hosts Loretto (2-4, 0-2) for senior night in the regular season home finale.

“We need the two, we need to beat Loretto and Community to make the playoffs and we will start next week and try to beat Loretto,” Johns said.

The contest started inconspicuously as Forrest received the opening kickoff, but had to punt after a three-and-out, but so did Lewis County on its first possession.

Then the ping pong of turnovers began, beginning with the first of five interceptions on the night for Forrest’s junior signal caller Josh Meglis.

Forrest got the ball right back when Blaize Sweeney recovered a Panthers’ fumble on the next play.

Five snaps into Forrest’s drive after the fumble recovery, Denton Webb intercepted a Meglis toss at the Lewis County 47-yard line with 5:38 remaining in the first quarter.

The Panthers broke through just over a minute later when Webb dashed to the end zone from 12 yards out and Drezdin Brown, who went 3-for-3 on the night in PAT kicks, booted the extra point to make it 7-0.

Forrest put together a nice drive after the Lewis County score, moving the ball to the Panthers’ 36-yard line before coughing it up again.

The Rockets’ defense was up to the task as they forced a Lewis County punt early in the second quarter, but once again miscues highlighted the next three series on a Forrest fumble and interception, bookending a Lewis County interception.

“I’m really proud of them, we put a game plan in and they come out and execute it every week for us,” Forrest defensive coordinator Eli Stephenson said. “We just have to come out and play fundamental football, that’s all I really know how to do is to come out and play ball and play hard.”

When the dust cleared, Lewis County punted again as Stephenson’s defense held firm.

The Rockets finally got things going in their next series as they started at their own 31-yard line and put together a drive that went to the Panthers’ 16-yard line before a sack and an interception ended the Forrest scoring threat.

The first half ended and on the second half kickoff, Bryton Spitzley recovered a fumble to give the Rockets’ new life at the Lewis County 19-yard line.

This time the Rockets would surely score as they drove the ball to the Panthers’ 1-yard line before a false start penalty was followed by four straight Lewis County tackles to squash the drive.

The Panthers subsequently drove 89 yards for a touchdown with the big play coming on a Tig Nash long run to the Forrest 18-yard line.

Denton Webb finished off he scoring drive with a 12-yard TD run and the Panthers led 14-0 with 3:39 remaining in the third quarter.

Brown booted a touchback and the Rockets started on their own 20-yard line and drove to near midfield where they faced a fourth-and-two play on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Forrest’s Nick McClendon (6), who had 22 carries for 150 yards scores the only touchdown of the game for the Rockets as he runs through a gigantic hole.

Troy Turner converted the first down and five plays later, Nick McClendon found the end zone from 17 yards out and Dalton Colvin followed with the extra point to cut the Lewis County lead in half at 14-7 with 9:33 remaining in the contest.

The fate of the game looked like it would change in the Rockets’ favor when Spencer McCown intercepted a Lewis County pass, but it was not to be a Forrest was forced into a three-and-out.

Lewis County responded with a backbreaking drive and made it 21-7 on a Dawson Potts 2-yard touchdown run 5:15 left in the contest.

The Rockets proceeded to drive to the Lewis County one-yard line before another false start was followed by an interception off a tipped ball in the end zone and from there, the Panthers ran out the clock.

Lewis County 7 0 7 7-21

Forrest 0 0 0 7-7

Scoring

First Quarter

Lewis County-Denton Webb 12-yard run, Drezdin Brown PAT, 4:23

Third Quarter

Lewis County-Webb 3-yard run, Brown PAT, 3:39

Fourth Quarter

Forrest-Nick McClendon 17-yard run, Dalton Colvin PAT, 9:33

Lewis County-Dawson Potts 2-yard run, Brown PAT, 5:15

Total Yards-Lewis County 270, Forrest 273

Rushing-Lewis County 270, Forrest 235

Passing-Lewis County 6

Turnovers-Lewis County 4, Forrest 7

Penalties-Lewis County 2-25, Forrest 7-65

Forrest Offense

Rushing-Nick McClendon 22-150-TD, Troy Turner 8-58, Drew Carlisle 3-21, Blaize Sweeney 2-18, Wes McCoy 5-9, Parker Stuard 1-(-3), Layton Bennett 3-(-7)

Passing-Layton Bennett 0-10, Josh Meglis 3-8-38-5INT

Receiving-Blaize Sweeney 1-18, Colby Bluthardt 1-12, Gauge Anderson 1-8

Forrest Defense

Tackles-Drew Carlisle 9, Blaize Sweeney 8 (FUM REC, .5 SACK), Parker Stuard 4, Troy Turner 4, Austin Geeting 3 (.5 SACK), Nick McClendon 3, Wes McCoy 2, Pryor Haines 1, Spencer McCown 1 (INT), Bryton Spitzley 1 (2 FUM REC)

Returns

Kickoffs-Troy Turner 3-49

Kicking

PAT-Dalton Colvin 1-1

Punting-Wes McCoy 2-72