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The Rockwood Tigers were hoping to bring home the District 3-A Championship Friday night by upsetting No. 1 ranked Grace Christian Academy, but the Rams had a different idea as they downed John Webb’s squad 35-14.
Entering the contest, the 10-0 Rams had one each of their previous five district contests by 36 points or more, but Rockwood gave them quite a battle in the early going.
The Rams opened the game on offense and drove inside the Tigers 10 yard line before Rockwood’s Drake Long picked off a pass in the end zone.
Grace also put together a solid drive on their second possession, but they ran out of downs at the Tiger 26 yard line.
The Rams broke through on their third possession as they capped a three-play, 68-yard drive with a one-yard run to take a 7-0 lead with 2:26 left in the first quarter.
Rockwood failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, but the Tigers picked up a pair of first downs and drove to the Rams 22 before running out of downs on their third possession of the evening.
Grace added to their lead on their next possession as they drove 78 yards in six plays with the scoring play coming on a 21-yard pass that made the score 14-0.
The Rams’ next possession was a nine-play, 80-yard drive that made the score 21-0. The score came on a 15-yard run.
Rockwood did put together one solid drive in the second quarter, but they would not score. An 18-yard run from QB Jarrod Neerman and a 13-yard run by Long pushed the ball inside the Rams 40 before Rockwood was forced to punt.
Rockwood’s defense came up with the first big play of the second half when Tristan Ewing picked off a pass at the Ram 26, but Rockwood couldn’t take advantage as they turned the ball over on downs four plays later.
Grace then put the game away with a 79-yard drive that made the score 28-0.
The Tigers avoided the shutout early in the fourth quarter when Neerman tossed a 46-yard scoring pass to Long.
Rockwood’s PAT was no good, leaving the score 28-6.
Grace came back with a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive to take a 35-6 lead with seven minutes left to play.
Rockwood closed the scoring with a 13-play, 85-yard drive that ended in a 33-yard pass from Neerman to Hunter Grant.
Neerman passed to Malcolm Springs for the two-point conversion to make the final score 35-14.
Rockwood ended the evening with 262 yards of offense. Long rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries while Neerman threw for 88 yards and two TDs through the air.
Rockwood (7-3) now turns its attention to Friday’s TSSAA Class 2A playoffs and a road game against Silverdale Baptist Academy (9-1). The winner of Friday’s game will play at Hampton on Friday, Nov. 15.
Grace Christian received a first round bye and will play the winner of Friday’s game between Tellico Plains and Oneida.
Rushing- Long 20-95, Neerman 7-25, Domon 3-9, Ewing 3-8, Kilby 5-20, Gaus 6-19, Team 1-(-2).
Passing- Neerman 3-11 for 88 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT.
Receiving- Grant 2-41 with 1 TD, Long 1-46 with 1 TD.