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By GOOSE LINDSAY
After a lackluster performance at Oneida in week zero, the Rockwood Tigers put it all together Friday night with a 25-6 victory over visiting Midway.
"I thought we played together tonight," Tiger head coach John Webb said after the game. "We made four major mistakes in the first quarter, but we played well after that. I thought our execution was much better than last week."
One thing that helped the Tigers execution was a balanced offense. In last week's loss at Oneida, the Tigers completed just 4 of 18 passes and that left them one dimensional. Against Midway, Tiger QB Tyler Parsons completed 8 of 13 passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Five of those eight completions also went for first downs or touchdowns.
Rockwood's ground game was also tough as the Tigers ended the evening with 252 yards on 50 carries. Jeff Inman led the way with 17 carries for 85 yards while Josh Brock added 61 yards and one TD on nine carries.
"We were able to mix it up tonight," Webb said. "We were able to run it and Parsons did a much better job tonight of setting his feet and hitting open receivers."
Friday's game opened with both teams making mistakes.
Midway's first play from scrimmage ended with Rockwood's Chris Harness picking off a pass at the Tiger 35, but Rockwood's first possession didn't go any better as Midway's Steven Blasko recovered a Tiger fumble at the Midway 27.
Midway's second possession went much better as the Green Wave picked up four first downs and advanced inside the Tiger 20, but a motion penalty helped kill the drive as a fourth-and-four pass from the 15 fell incomplete.
Rockwood responded by driving past midfield again, but the Tigers would fumble again with Midway's Ray Robinson recovering at the Wave 49.
At this point, the offenses took over.
Midway scored quickly as Will Poe capped a four-play, 51-yard drive with a 38-yard scoring run. Midway's PAT was no good leaving the score 6-0 with 7:57 left in the first half.
Rockwood answered quickly as the Tigers used a big kick return from Josh Brock to set up an eight-play, 53-yard drive that ended in a 21-yard scoring run from Brock that tied the score at 6-6 with 4:13 left to play in he half.
Poe blocked Raby's extra point.
Rockwood, however, would find the end zone again before the half ended.
After a Midway punt, the Tigers drove 69 yards in seven plays for a touchdown. Jeff Inman got things going with a 25-yard run then Parsons completed three straight passes including a 20-yard toss to Matt Roberts for a touchdown.
Rockwood's two-point try failed, leaving the score 12-6 with 1:10 left in the half.
Midway threatened to score before the half as Thomas Viar connected with Poe for a 38-yard pass to the Tiger 18 with 2.1 seconds left in the half, but a last toss into the end zone fell incomplete.
"Getting those (touchdowns) were huge before halftime because we knew we were getting the ball to start the second half," Webb said. "Having the momentum there was big."
Rockwood took control of the game to start the second half as the Tigers put together a 10-play, 62-yard scoring drive capped by a three-yard scoring toss from Parsons to Roberts.
Raby added the PAT to make the score 19-6 with 6:36 left in the third quarter.
After a Midway punt, the Tigers continued to roll as they put together another long, time-consuming scoring drive. This time the Tigers drove 51 yards in 14 plays before Raby booted home a 31-yard field goal with 5:52 left in the game to make the score 22-6.
At this point the Green Wave needed to score and score quick, but their first play from scrimmage on their next possession ended in a fumble then the Tigers picked up a couple of first downs before Raby booted home a 29-yard field goal to make the score 25-6 with 3:14 to play.
Poe did return the ensuing kickoff 71 yards to the Tiger 13, but that drive ended in a Raby interception as the Tigers went on to the 19-point victory.
Midway drops to 1-1 on the season with the loss, but the Green Wave were in the same position last year after dropping an early game to the Tigers. Midway responded by winning 10 straight games, winning the Region 2-A title and advancing to the TSSAA Class A quarterfinals.
"I thought we had some chances tonight and didn't capitalize," Midway head coach Craig Moser said. "We'll kick ourselves tonight over this one, but tomorrow we'll start getting ready for Oakdale. Oakdale's a region game and that's the most important thing."
Rockwood also has a tough game on tap as the Tigers host Region 2-AA foe Sweetwater (2-0) in a key region contest.
"We need to go out and have another good week of practice," Webb said. "We'll see what they like to do and hopefully have good effort again Friday night."
Rushing- Pressley 7-26, Robinson 12-48, Poe 5-36 with 1 TD.
Passing- Pressley 3-7 for 10 yards, Viar 1-4 for 38 yards with one INT.
Receiving- Poe 2-47, Roberson 1-3, Robinson 1-(-2).
Rushing- Dyer 10-41, Brock 9-61 with 1 TD, Dierdorff 5-20, Inman 17-85, Parsons 5-13, Raby 2-36, Morgan 1-(-2), Team 1-(-2).
Passing- Parsons 8-13 for 75 yards with two TDs.
Receiving- Roberts 3-37 yards with two TDs, Brock 1-7, Raby 3-30, Beasley 1-1.