Rockets look solid in Mt. Pleasant scrimmage

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Sophomore defensive back Layne Bowman (23) comes up with a big interception for the Rockets versus Mt. Pleasant Thursday night at Chapel Hill.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

On Friday, August 17 high school football kicks off and as that date moves closer prep squads hone their skills mostly on the practice field, but when they get a chance to scrimmage the energy levels increase exponentially as witnessed Friday night when the Forrest Rockets hosted Mt. Pleasant in a scrimmage at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill.

“We had good practices this week and got better every day,” Forrest coach Eli Stephenson said. “They were really looking forward to coming out and playing another team.”

It seemed that both teams relished the opportunity to knock pads with someone other than their teammates.

“It got a little chippy there, but we were able to settle down and play our game,” Stephenson said.

Junior Blaize Sweeney (14), who has been moved to running back this season, drags four Mt. Pleasant defenders for every inch he can get.

The scrimmage was heated, but well-played as the Tigers won with two touchdowns to one for the Rockets, who scored on a late TD grab by Blaize Sweeney.

“They came out and were flying around, our defense was especially flying around to the ball,” Stephenson said. “Our offense was a little slow at first, but we picked it and kept moving the ball and moving the ball. That is what we were looking for and we finally put it in the end zone.”

Forrest had only player (Pryor Haines) not dress for the scrimmage and came out of the event with just a few normal football bumps and bruises.

Sophomore Noah Hill (64) fights off a Mt. Pleasant defender on his way to the quarterback.

“We got one guy (Haines) a little bit banged up, but the rest were healthy and we came out pretty healthy too,” Stephenson said. “I was very happy about that, you want to get work and come out healthy.”

Teams have been practicing in full pads since July 23 and have gone from early morning practices to the afternoon with the first full day of classes looming on Monday, August 6.

The Rockets host Spring Hill at “The Rock” for its final scrimmage Thursday night at 6 p.m. and next Friday night is the Forrest Jamboree.

Junior running back Nick McClendon (6) follows his blockers through a big hole versus the Tigers.

“We need to improve on coming out faster right out of the gate,” Stephenson said. “We need to start at the first whistle at kickoff until that last whistle blows.”

Forrest heads to Battle Ground Academy for the season opener on Friday, August 17 and then travel to Fayetteville in week two before hosting Eagleville in the Region 5-AA opener on August 31.

Forrest went 4-7 last season and got blown out 63-36 at Waverly in the first round of the playoffs.