Rockwood rallies past Hampton

Published 9:54 am Monday, November 5, 2018

Like trying to catch a greased hog, running and catching the pigskin at J.C. Campbell Stadium was equally challenging on Friday night in the opening round of the TSSAA 2A football playoffs.

The final outcome came on a point-after kick from a junior who had never played varsity football, and his kick was the difference as Rockwood took a 7-6 win.

“Two evenly matched teams, and it came down to a point-after kick from a kid who hadn’t played before,” Rockwood head coach John Webb said. “Our kids are resilient, and we had to be tonight because Hampton played as tough a game as you would expect. That last drive was the key. It enabled us to run the clock out and we are moving on, and that is all that matters.”

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Hampton and Rockwood played to a 0-0 first half with the Bulldogs gaining 73 ground yards and 29 yards passing while Rockwood had 81 yards rushing and zero yards passing.

Hampton had a pair of fumbles and dodged a bullet when Rockwood senior tailback Dylan Williams fumbled at the 1-yard line, and the ball went through the end zone for a touchback giving Hampton the ball at the 20-yard line.

The ‘Dogs stopped Rockwood short of a first down at the 5-yard line in the second period and drove to the Tigers 15-yard line where they tried a halfback pass that was sacked by LB Jonathan Gann for a 14-yard loss.

After stopping Rockwood on downs in its first possession of the third period, Hampton drove from their 18-yard line to the midfield stripe from where tailback Lane Potter crashed into the middle of the line and broke free on a 50-yard touchdown scamper.

The ‘Dogs went for two but the run was stuffed and Hampton settled for a 6-0 lead with 5:26 left in the third period. The Tigers responded quickly with a 65-yard drive on 13-plays capped off by a 1-yard run from quarterback Nate Brackett.

On the drive, Hampton had an offside penalty on fourth-and-5 from the 15-yard line giving Rockwood a first-and-goal. Woodall’s kick split the uprights and gave the Tigers the lead with 11:11 remaining in the game.

“In a game like this with two teams evenly matched you can’t have a mistake,” Bulldogs head coach Michael Lunsford said. “We played a pretty clean game for the most part. A couple of key situations where things don’t go your way, that’s just part of the game. I felt like if we could have got the ball back, we had an opportunity with Alex to throw the ball a little bit.”

Hampton took over at the 28-yard line and drove to the 41 where a run by Tubby Carden was thrown for a 3-yard loss. On third down senior quarterback Alex Hardin found freshman WR Conor Jones near midfield where he caught the ball momentarily.

A big hit from Williams dislodged the ball, and it fell incomplete, and the Bulldogs had to punt. Unfortunately, they were not able to stop the Tigers as Williams ran the ball eight of the next nine plays and the Tigers were able to run the clock out.

“Our linebackers are kind of small, and it gives them some trouble when they run the ball right at them,” Lunsford said. “Give them some time in the weight room, and it will be the difference.”

Williams led all rushers with 105 yards on 27 carries while Potter led Hampton with 79 yards on seven tries.

TSSAA Playoffs

Round One

Rockwood 0 0 0 7 – 7

Hampton 0 0 6 0 – 6

Scoring summary

Third Quarter

H – Potter 50 run (run failed) 5:26

Fourth Quarter

R – Brackett 1 run (Woodall kick) 11:11