Rockets’ season ends at Waverley
The Forrest Rockets performed well for the first half before falling 63-32 at Waverley in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs Friday night.
“The guys took the loss hard as always,” Forrest coach Brent Johns said. “They played hard all night and they did everything they could to give us our best chance to win.”
Trailing 28-20 at the end of the first half, the third-ranked Tigers pulled away with a 35-point second half to end Chapel Hill’s season.
“It’s really hard,” Johns said. “Playoff football is fun and the deeper you go the more fun it gets.”
Forrest (4-7) suffered its first losing season since 2005 when they finished with a 5-6 record.
The Rockets turned the ball over three times versus the Tigers and finished the season with 16 giveaways and were hurt all season by untimely penalties that accumulated throughout the season.
Forrest was flagged 48 times for 518 yards in the 2017 campaign and the miscues were on top of the list for Johns to work on for next year.
“Turnovers and penalties both seemed to happen at the worst times,” Johns said. “Overall team discipline will be another key factor which should help with the penalties and turnovers.”
The Rocket defense turned in an overall good performance as they took the ball away 18 times for a plus two turnover margin.
During the period between 2005 and this season, the Rockets turned in a stellar 85-39 mark with nine playoff appearances, three postseason wins and back-to-back region titles in 2015 and 2016.
Sophomore Nick McClendon posted his ninth 110-yard game of the season as he led the Rockets with 101 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown.
For the season, McClendon ran for 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Rockets bring back a lot of talent next season as they try a resurgence and put this season behind them.
“We will have to start by finding and developing offensive tackles and also more depth on the offensive line,” Johns said. “I would like to thank this senior class for many great memories and for showing the younger guys that when you get knocked down its ok to get back up and keep trying hard.”
Waverley (9-1) hosts Lewis County (10-1) this week in round two.
Forrest 6 14 8 8-32
Waverley 7 21 21 14-63
Forrest-413, Waverley 548
Rushing-Forrest 270, Waverley 227
Passing-Forrest 143, Waverley 321
Turnovers-Forrest 3, Waverley 2
Rushing-Nick McClendon 17-101-TD, Troy Turner 11-84-TD, Layton Bennett 5-79-TD, Drew Carlisle 4-18, Josh Meglis 3-5, Blaize Sweeney 1-0, Parker Stuard 3-(-3), Wes McCoy 5-(-14)
Passing-Layton Bennett 4-7-83-2TD, Josh Meglis 3-8-60-INT
Receiving-Nick McClendon 2-56-TD, Troy Turner 1-22, Pryor Haines 1-21, Blaize Sweeney 1-20-TD, Spencer McCown 1-17, Colby Bluthardt 1-7
Kickoffs-Troy Turner 4-70, Joseph Whitaker 1-37, Nick McClendon 2-24
PAT-Carson Baker 1-1
Tackles-Blaize Sweeney 8, Austin Geeting 6, Drew Carlisle 6, Troy Turner 5 (2 Fumble Recoveries, TD), Parker Stuard 4, Pryor Haines 2, Nick McClendon 2 (SACK), Spencer McCown 2, Cole Villazon 2, Gauge Anderson 1, Dalton Colvin 1, Josh Hill 1 (SACK)