FMS Rockets fall in DRVC title game

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Cason Warner (4) gets ready to bulldoze Montez Pullen on a first down run in the second half.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After going undefeated in 2015 and winning the Duck River Valley Conference (DRVC) title, Forrest Middle School has been in an all-out battle with Fayetteville Middle School for the last two seasons.

The two squads have been the class of the DRVC over the two campaigns with the Rockets only four losses coming at the hands of the Tigers, who came into Monday night’s DRVC title game at Fayetteville riding a 17-game unbeaten streak.

The Rockets had a game plan, stop Fayetteville’s standout running back Graham Pace.

It didn’t happen as Pace run for 224 yards, including touchdown runs of 78 and 50 yards as the Tigers prevailed 22-12.

“We said all week long our goal was to stop number seven (Pace), we were there and just didn’t make the plays,” FMS coach Corey Searcy said. “Our guys fought hard all year long.”

Pace was named the DRVC MVP after the game.

Hunter Bennett (9) rears back and guns a TD pass to John Dippold in the first quarter.

Things looked very good for FMS early as they held Pace in check for almost the entirety of the first half and led 6-0 after a first quarter 34-yard touchdown strike from Hunter Bennet to John Dippold.

The FMS defense stopped the Tigers on downs on their first two possessions and forced a punt on the third with 3:53 to play in the second quarter.

Starting at their own 7-yard line, the Rockets didn’t go very far, but used over three minutes off the clock in the ground game before punting the ball away with 36 seconds left in the first half.

John Dippold (1) manages to stay on his feet and score on a touchdown pass from Hunter Bennett in the first quarter of the DRVC title game at Fayetteville Monday night.

Fayetteville went backwards after an incomplete pass and two penalties, facing a first-and-35 play when Pace took a handoff, broke to the outside and raced down the home sideline for a 78-yard touchdown with 15 seconds left in the first half. The PAT run was no good and the two teams went to the locker room tied at 6.

The Rockets received the second half kickoff and started at their own 26-yard line where they proceeded to hand the ball off 10 consecutive times and scored on a Warner 11-yard run with 1:47 left in the third quarter.

A short kickoff gave Fayetteville the ball at the midfield stripe and on the first play of the drive, Pace took it to the house and added the 2-point conversion run to make it 14-12 contest.

Forrest gave the ball back on downs after being stopped on a fourth-and-two play at the Fayetteville 40-yard line with 7:18 remaining in the game.

“It’s just so frustrating that we had so many plays that were just right there on the brink of breaking and for whatever reason, just didn’t happen,” Searcy said.

Five plays later, Antonio Ibarra bashed it in the end zone from two yards out and Pace added another PAT run to extend the Fayetteville lead to 22-12 with 4:04 left.

The Rockets tried to comeback as Bennett went to work in the air, moving the Rockets near midfield before being stopped short of the first down marker on a fourth down pass.

“I thought we had a good game plan coming in on both sides of the ball and we made some adjustments during the game, we shifted some in and out and had them where we wanted them, but just didn’t execute,” Searcy said. “The kids, they fought hard, and I don’t fault their effort one bit. We just have to keep working towards the future.”

The Tigers ran three running plays and tried a fourth down pass that was incomplete, giving the ball back to Forrest one last time, but the Rockets could not muster a score and the game ended when Bennett was sacked as time ran out.

“We said we were not leaving here without the gold ball and it’s hard, but again this team is 14-4 the last two years and only one team has been able to beat us,” Searcy said. “Congrats to them, they are a good ball team.”

Forrest selections to the All-DRVC Team from right are, John Dippold, Tayton Swift, Jeremiah Beasley, Layne Strasser, and Cason Warner.

Warner, Dippold, Tayton Swift, Jeremiah Beasley, and Layne Strasser were named to the DRVC All-Conference Team after the game.

FMS 6 0 6 0-12

Fayetteville 0 6 8 8-22


First Quarter

FMS-John Dippold 34-yard pass from Hunter Bennett, PAT run NG, 4:06

Second Quarter-Graham Pace 78-yard run, PAT run NG, 0:15

Third Quarter

FMS-Cason Warner 11-yard run, PAT pass NG, 1:47

Fayetteville-Pace 50-yard run, Pace PAT run, 1:29

Fourth Quarter

Fayetteville-Antonio Ibarra 2-yard run, Pace PAT run, 4:09

Total Yards-FMS 227, Fayetteville 236

Rushing-FMS 154, Fayetteville 236

Passing-FMS 73, Fayetteville 0

Forrest Offense

Rushing-Cason Warner 25-130-TD, John Dippold 6-15, Hunter Bennett 2-8, Tayton Swift 1-8, Jeremiah Beasley 1-(-7)

Passing-Hunter Bennett 7-12-73-TD

Receiving-John Dippold 3-44-TD, Jeremiah Beasley 2-18, Christian Hammond 1-8, Cason Warner 1-3

Fayetteville Offense

Rushing-Graham Pace 22-224-2TD, Nathan Sysencom 1-10, Antonio Ibarra 1-2-TD

Passing-Samuel Holdmeyer 0-4-0