Rockets fight to the end, fall at Waverly

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Junior Nick McClendon (6) finished his junior season with 891 yards and nine touchdowns.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Although Forrest’s season ended with a 32-19 loss at Waverly in Friday night’s first-round Class 2A playoff game, a lot can be said about the Rockets’ effort and determination versus the top-seeded Tigers, who rode a six-game winning streak in to the contest.

“We came out focused and ready to play and we played from the first whistle to the last,” Forrest coach Eli Stephenson said. “The players left it all out on the field and that shows the leadership of the senior class.”

The Rockets were outgained in total yardage 425-to-177, buts thanks to a 2-0 advantage in the turnover category, Forrest was in the game until a pair of fourth quarter scores by the Tigers.

“We were able to limit the big play and won the turnover battle,” Stephenson said. “One of my main goals this year was to get better each week, win or lose, and I believe we did that.”

A pair of Blaize Sweeney first half touchdown runs had the Rockets down by just two points at the half 14-12 before a blocked punt by the Tigers in the third quarter led to a Waverly touchdown.

Waverly added another touchdown on the final play of the third quarter and Montez Bradley found pay dirt for the third time with 4:43 left in the game to make it 32-12.

Senior Josh Meglis (2) threw for 580 yards and five touchdowns this season for the Rockets, who won three out of their last four games to end the 2018 campaign.

The Rockets final score of the season came with 1:59 remaining in the contest when senior signal caller Josh Meglis hooked up with Cole Villazon from nine yards out.

Forrest ended the season with a 5-6 record, while the Tigers (8-3) host Columbia Academy (9-2) in Friday night’s second round action.

The Bulldogs beat Hickman County 24-6 at Columbia.

Meglis finished with a 7-for-19 passing night with 81 yards and TD, while Nick McClendon led the Rockets in rushing with 66 yards on 11 carries.

McClendon also had two fumble recoveries on defense and finished his junior season with 891 yards and nine touchdowns.

Sweeney had four carries for 23 yards and two scores and also had 10 tackles to lead the Rockets on defense.

Bradley finished with 171 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns, while quarterback Gavin Stanfield had a big night, passing for 168 yards and a score and rushing the rock 11 times for 51 yards and a touchdown.

Bradley has 1,206 yards and 25 touchdowns and Stanfield has 681 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Both players are seniors.

The Rockets graduate 12 seniors, but have a lot of returning talent to make another playoff run in 2019.

“It’s always tough to lose seniors because you spend so much time with these players,” Stephenson said. “I’m proud of these seniors, they came to work every day win or lose and I’m just thankful I got the opportunity to see them grow into great young men.”

Asked about the outlook for next season, Stephenson said, “We have a lot of players returning with a great deal of playing experience.”

Forrest 6 6 0 7-19

Waverly 7 7 12 6-32

Scoring Plays

Waverly-J.D. Dixon 47-yard pass from Gavin Stanfield, Sam Dellinger PAT, 9:02.

Forrest-Blaize Sweeney 7-yard run, PAT NG, 4:12.

Second Quarter

Waverly-Montez Bradley 1-yard run, Sam Dellinger PAT, 8:24.

Forrest-Blaize Sweeney 5-yard run, PAT RUN NG, 1:46.

Third Quarter

Waverly-Gavin Stanfield 16-yard run, PAT NG, 8:54.

Waverly-Montez Bradley 4-yard run, PAT NG, 0:00.

Fourth Quarter

Waverly-Montez Bradley, 2-yard run, PAT NG, 4:43.

Forrest-Cole Villazon 9-yard pass from Josh Meglis, Dalton Colvin PAT, 1:59.

Total Offense: Forrest 171, Waverly 425.

Rushing: Forrest 90, Waverly 248.

Passing: Forrest 81, Waverly 177.

Penalties: Forrest 6-25, Waverly 12-95.

Turnovers: Forrest 0, Waverly 2.

Forrest Offense

Rushing: Nick McClendon 11-66, Blaize Sweeney 4-23-2TD, Jacob Wright 7-7, Joseph Whitaker 3-(-2), Josh Meglis 1-(-4).

Passing: Josh Meglis 7-19-81-TD.

Receiving: Spencer McCown 2-47, Cole Villazon 4-32-TD, Nick McClendon 1-2.

Kicking

PAT: Dalton Colvin 1-1.

Punting: Joel Burton 5-96.

Defense

Tackles-Blaize Sweeney 10, Noah Hill 7, Jayme Ozburn 6, Pryor Haines 5, Max Kirby 4, Joel Burton 3, Jeff Gross 3, Nick McClendon 3 (2 FUM REC), Alex Patmore 3, Sammy Williams 2, Justin Leonard 1, Spencer McCown 1, Cole Villazon 1, Jacob Wright 1.