Forrest falters in home opener

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
The Forrest Rockets football team, who went undefeated in 1968, were honored at halftime on the Murrey E. Holton Memorial Field.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Turnovers and untimely penalties can turn a win into a loss very quickly and that’s what happened to the Forrest Rockets, who fell 14-13 to Eagleville in Chapel Hill’s home opener Friday night at Murrey E. Holton Field.

“That was a really tough loss,” Forrest coach Eli Stephenson said. “Our main goal is to make the playoffs and we just didn’t meet our goal tonight. The kids came out and played four quarters.”

Forrest outgained Eagleville 328 to 185, but had potential scoring drives halted by two fumbles, an interception, and one stopped on downs at the Eagleville 4-yard line.

“Those were crucial penalties and turnovers and we have to get them fixed,” Stephenson said. “Eagleville is a really good football team, they came out focused and I think they had a chip on their shoulder from the Cornersville loss.”

Eagleville played flawless with no turnovers and zero penalty yardage.

With all those mistakes, Forrest (1-2, 0-1) still had a chance to send the game into overtime, but a back-breaking unsportsmanlike penalty cost them the contest when Wes McCoy was flagged for taunting after scoring on a 5-yard run with 6:37 left in the game.

“That was pretty bad, but we are going to fix that on Monday,” Stephenson said.

Dalton Colvin could not convert the extra point from 15 yards behind the normal spot and Eagleville (2-1, 1-0) went on to run out most of the clock.

Blaize Sweeney (14) gets blocks from Jacob Wright (left) and Billy Perryman (right) as he scores a touchdown in the second quarter for the Rockets.

Forrest had the only touchdown in the first half when they broke the deadlock on their first drive of the second quarter that covered 65 yards and was capped off by a Blaize Sweeney 9-yard touchdown run.

The Forrest defense played an outstanding game, especially in the first half as they forced the Eagles to punt on every offensive possession, taking a 7-0 lead to the locker room.

Max Kirby (5) trips up Eagleville receiver Avery Sparks (14) as Noah Hill (22) and Jeff Gross (29) come in to finish the play.

“Our defense did a good job coming out and holding them to fourteen points, we just have to score more on offense,” Stephenson said.

The Rockets still had the momentum to start second half as they forced a quick three-and-out and the offense had the ball in Eagleville territory before fumbling with 8:42 remaining in the third quarter.

The Eagles made them pay for their mistake as they drove 54 yards in just six plays with quarterback Ethan Cobb scoring on a 5-yard run and the successful PAT by Jonathon Vermillion tied the game at 7-7 with 6:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Forrest coughed it up again on its next possession and the Eagles took advantage of the miscue once again as they marched 58 yards and scored on another Cobb quarterback keeper with 19 seconds left in the third quarter. Vermillion’s PAT boot was true to make it a 14-7 contest.

The Forrest offensive line blocks the Eagleville defenders to give quarterback Josh Meglis a big pocket to throw from.

The Rockets began their next drive at the Eagleville 29-yard line and marched all the way down the field and scored on McCoy’s 5-yard touchdown run with 6:37 remaining in the game, but the mental blunder on the unsportsmanlike penalty cost them the tie as they trailed 14-13 with 6:37 left in the game.

Eagleville took possession after the kickoff and burned 4:25 off the clock as they drove all the way to Forrest 32-yard line where a fourth-down Cobb incompletion gave the Rockets one last chance to score.

The Rockets drove into Eagleville territory, but with 37 seconds remaining in the game, Trevor Griffin came up with an interception to seal the win for the Eagles, who host Lewis County (2-1, 1-0) this week.

Forrest travels to Summertown (2-1, 0-1) to face an Eagles’ squad that was blown out 37-0 Friday night by second-ranked Columbia Academy (3-0, 1-0).

“We just have to keep grinding every week and we just have to come back and get back to work on fundamentals,” Stephenson said. “Summertown was young last year, but they have returned all of their starters and they look a lot better this year.”

“We are the ones that have to play with a chip on our shoulder every week.”

Eagleville 0 0 14 0-14

Forrest 0 7 0 6-13

Scoring

Second Quarter

Forrest-Blaize Sweeney 9-yard run, Dalton Colvin PAT, 6:56.

Third Quarter

Eagleville-Ethan Cobb 5-yard run, Jonathon Vermillion PAT, 6:50.

Eagleville-Cobb 9-yard run, Vermillion PAT, 0:19.

Fourth Quarter

Forrest-Wes McCoy 5-yard run, PAT blocked, 6:37.

Total Yards: Eagleville 185, Forrest 328

Rushing: Eagleville 141, Forrest 220

Passing: Eagleville 44, Forrest 108

Turnovers: Eagleville 0, Forrest 3

Penalties: Eagleville 0, Forrest 6-55

Forrest Offense

Rushing: Wes McCoy 9-56-TD, Blaize Sweeney 11-51-TD, Joseph Whitaker 6-24, Nick McClendon 6-22, Jacob Wright 2-22, Josh Meglis 5-19, Cole Villazon 3-14, Aiden Freeman 2-12.

Passing: Meglis 6-13-108-INT.

Receiving: Spencer McCown 3-70, Villazon 1-15, Alex Patmore 1-13, Prior Haines 1-10.

Kicking

PAT: Dalton Colvin 1-2.

Punting: McCoy 2-91.

Returns

Kickoffs: Villazon 2-33, McClendon 1-10.

Punts: McCown 2-16.

Defense

Tackles: Jeff Gross 7, Noah Hill 7, Nick McClendon 4, Blaize Sweeney 4, Max Kirby 2, Sammy Williams 2, Joel Burton 1, Aiden Freeman 1, Prior Haines 1, Dowlen Hosford 1, Spencer McCown 1, Wes McCoy 1, Jayme Ozburn 1, Billy Perryman 1, Cole Villazon 1.