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Defense leads Tigers past Sweetwater

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By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor

The Rockwood Tigers opened the 2010 football season in style Friday night as John Webb's squad pitched a 23-0 shutout past visiting Sweetwater.

"I thought we gave really good effort tonight," Tiger head coach John Webb said. "We made a few mistakes that we're going to have to get corrected, but overall it was a good win."

Rockwood's defense was the story of Friday's game as the Tigers did a great job of containing Wildcat QB Gavyn Davis. In Sweetwater's 27-12 victory over Tellico Plains in week zero, Davis rushed for 127 yards while he completed 9 of 11 passes for 128 yards. He also accounted for three Wildcat touchdowns.

Friday night, however, Davis rushed for 45 yards on 15 carries while completing 4 of 9 passes for 27 yards. The Tigers also picked off Davis three times.

"We played our hearts out on that side of the ball," Webb said of his team's defense. "We knew coming in we'd have a tough time with Davis and all they could do on offense, but our guys really stepped up tonight."

Rockwood's defense set the tone early as the Tigers recovered a Sweetwater fumble at the Wildcat 22 yard line just two plays into the contest. The Tigers turned the turnover into points three plays later as Dillon Deardorff scored on a three-yard run. 

Jared Breazeale added the PAT to give the Tigers an early 7-0 lead.

QB Lucas Jolley set up the score with a 17-yard pass to TE Josh Boles.

Rockwood took control of the contest on their second possession as the Tigers drove 62 yards in only four plays to make the score 13-0.

Deardorff set up the score with a big 53-yard run then Boles capped the drive with a one yard plunge up the middle.

Breazeale's PAT was no good.

The rest of the half was a struggle for the Tigers offense. In their final four first half possessions, the Tigers picked up only two first downs while throwing an interception and losing a fumble.

The offensive miscues allowed the Wildcats to start three drives inside Rockwood territory, but the Tigers defense would not let their visitors from Monroe County cross the goal line. One of those drives ended in a three-and-out while a Collin Smith interception at the goal line ended a second drive, and a Lucas Jolley pick ended the third drive.

The field position battle turned in favor of Rockwood in the second half and that allowed the Tigers to slowly pull away.

The Tigers used a 38-yard kickoff return from Smith to start the third quarter and flip the field position. Rockwood didn't score on their first possession, but they kept the Wildcats backed up throughout the third quarter and the Tigers would add to their lead on their third possession.

Starting from their own 43, the Tigers put together a 13-play, 49-yard drive that ended in a 25-yard field goal from Breazeale that made the score 16-0 early in the fourth quarter.

Sweetwater tried to get back in the game quickly on their next possession as Davis threw deep, but he was intercepted by Jolley again then the Tiger offense delivered the knockout blow on their ensuing possession.

Starting from their own 45, the Tigers drove 55 yards in eight plays with the touchdown coming on a seven-yard pass from Jolley to Hayden Freels. Jolley also set up the score with a 38-yard pass from Jolley to Brendan Kirkland.

Breazeale added the PAT to make the score 23-0 late in the fourth quarter.

Rockwood out gained the Wildcats 226-160 in total yardage on the night. The Tigers ran the ball 33 times for 139 yards while Jolley completed 6 of 11 passes for 87 yards.

Rockwood now turns its attention to Friday night and a trip to Greenback (2-0) in the District 3-A opener for both teams.

"We haven't seen them yet, but they've put up a lot of points the last two weeks," Webb said. "We're going to have to play well if we want to go there and win."

Rockwood Statistics

Rushing- Smith 8-25, Deardorff 4-63 with 1 TD, Boles 13-46 with 1 TD, Campbell 4-15, Headrick 1-(-5), Breazeale 1-3, Jolley 2-(-8).

Passing- Jolley 6-11 for 87 yards with 1 TD., Boles 0-1 with 1 INT.

 Receiving- Kirkland 1-38, Deardorff 1-(-2), Freels 3-34 with 1 TD, Boles 1-17.