Rockets bounce back at Summertown

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Jeff Gross heads to the end zone for the only touchdown of the contest after catching a Josh Meglis pass in the second quarter.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

It was muggy and buggy Friday night at Summertown as the Forrest Rockets squared off with the Eagles in a Region 5-2A matchup that went down to the wire with Chapel Hill coming out on top 7-0.

“It was our first region win, so it’s always good to get that win,” Forrest coach Eli Stephenson said.

The only score of the game came with 10:44 remaining in the second quarter when Josh Meglis tossed a 13-yard pass to Jeff Gross for the touchdown. Dalton Colvin’s PAT was good.

The Rockets (2-2, 1-1) played ball control on the wet turf, rushing for 254 yards on 45 rushing attempts with Nick McClendon leading the way with 125 yards on 19 carries.

“Nick did a great job of hitting the holes and finishing runs,” Stephenson said. “Our offensive line was able to control the line of scrimmage and create running lanes for our backs.”

Blaize Sweeney had 71 yards on nine rushes, Jacob Wright notched 32 yards on three carries, and Wes McCoy toted the rock eight times for 29 yards.

Forrest defensive lineman Jayme Ozburn (75) jumps in an attempt to block a Summertown pass.

The Rockets’ defense stymied the Eagles all night, holding the home squad to just 113 total yards in the contest, including a measly 27 yards on the ground.

“We need to keep doing that every week, holding teams to three-and-outs,” sophomore linebacker Noah Hill said about holding Summertown to seven points. “We wanted to keep it simple and keep it easy and work on our fundamentals.”

Although the Rockets had five penalties for 50 yards, none of the yellow flags were on the players of the unsportsmanlike variety that have caused Forrest problems in the past.

“We have been working on keeping our composure all year from the offseason to now,” Stephenson said. “We finally got some calls to go our way.”

Forrest forced Summertown to punt on both of its first quarter possessions and the Rockets coughed up the wet ball at the Summertown 1-yard line on their first possession.

On the Rockets’ second drive, the scoreless first quarter ended with Chapel Hill facing a fourth-and-one at the Eagles’ 29-yard line.

Nick McClendon busts threw the line for a big gain in Forrest’s win at Summertown.

McClendon banged for the first down on the first touch of the second quarter and five plays later, Gross scored his first career touchdown when he caught a short in-pattern and ran over a Summertown defender near the goal line.

“We had a nice drive going and we were able to finish with a TD catch by Gross,” Stephenson said.

The Rockets’ defense held again to force another Summertown punt, but the Eagles got the ball back a short time later when Kevin Perry fell on a loose ball at the Eagles’ 43-yard line with 5:51 remaining in the first half.

Forrest stuffed the Eagles and forced another punt, leading to the Rockets running out the remainder of the first half clock to lead 7-0 at the intermission.

“Our defense has played well all year,” Stephenson said. “The kids did a great job of executing the game plan.”

The Rockets went three-and-out to start the second half and Summertown received the ensuing punt and mounted a potential scoring drive.

The Eagles drove to the Forrest 15-yard line, but a loose football was recovered by Tate Garvin to thwart the Summertown scoring threat with 2:55 left in the third quarter.

Forrest took over and the third quarter ended with the Rockets picking up a first down at the Summertown 34-yard line via an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Eagles.

The drive stalled out at the 17-yard line and the Rockets were stymied when they attempted a fake field goal with 8:28 remaining in the contest.

The Eagles took over, but a McClendon sack on first down put Summertown in a deep hole and they were forced to punt again.

Wes McCoy runs over a Summertown tackler in the Rockets’ 7-0 win over the Eagles Friday night.

Forrest returned the punt to the Summertown 41-yard line and then the game got crazy as tempers flared with the Eagles getting flagged for three personal fouls and a Rocket fan got one over the next several minutes before things calmed down.

With 2:37 remaining in the contest, Colvin attempted a field that was no good, giving the ball back to Summertown for the last time.

McClendon sacked Summertown quarterback Gavin Knight on first down and on fourth down, Joel Burton brought down Knight again to give the ball back to Forrest.

“With two minutes left in the game and it was third down, so I had to come up big,” McClendon said. “It was fun out there, they were chippy and we took it, got right back in the huddle and then took it right at them.”

Sweeney picked up four yards on first down before the Rockets went into the victory formation to end the game.

The Rockets return home this Friday as they host third-ranked Columbia Academy with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

“We looking forward to the opportunity to play them,” Stephenson said. “CA is sound in all three phrases of their game.”

“I expect us to come out for four quarters and play physical and disciplined football this week and I know the home crowd and student section will be there in full force to support the Rockets.”

Forrest 0 7 0 0-7

Summertown 0 0 0 0-0

Scoring Plays

Second Quarter

Forrest-Jeff Gross 13-yard pass from Josh Meglis, Dalton Colvin PAT, 10:44.

Total Offense: Forrest 267, Summertown 113

Rushing: Forrest 254, Summertown 27

Passing: Forrest 13, Summertown 79

Turnovers: Forrest 2, Summertown 1

Penalties: Forrest 5-50, Summertown 3-15

Forrest Offense

Rushing: Nick McClendon 19-125, Blaize Sweeney 9-71, Jacob Wright 3-32, Wes McCoy 8-29, Joseph Whitaker 2-6, Cole Villazon 1-(-1), Josh Meglis 3-(-8).

Passing: Meglis 1-4-13-TD.

Receiving: Jeff Gross 1-13-TD.

Kicking

PAT: Dalton Colvin 1-1.

FG: Colvin 0-1.

Punting: McCoy 1-32.

Returns

Kickoffs: Villazon 1-12.

Punts: Villazon 3-5, Gross 1-1.

Defense

Tackles: Blaize Sweeney 10, Jeff Gross 6, Noah Hill 4, Billy Perryman 3, Sammy Williams 3 (SACK), Mick McClendon 2 (2 SACKS), Alex Patmore 2, Gauge Anderson 1, Tate Garvin 1 (FUM REC), Dowlen Hosford 1, Max Kirby 1, Jayme Ozburn 1, Cole Villazon 1.