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Two old rivals locked horns again Thursday night as the Rockwood Middle School Tigers ran their season record to 2-1 with a 24-14 victory over Harriman (0-2).
Despite the loss, Harriman head coach Baron Tapp is pleased with how his team performed.
“We’re a young football team; we lost eight starters from last year,” he said. “They fought the whole time tonight and I’m proud of them for that. Tonight was a big improvement from our first game and we’ve got to keep improving.
Harriman’s youth was apparent early as each of their first two drives stalled thanks in large part to penalties near midfield.
“Young teams make mistakes, especially early in the year,” Tapp said. “We’ll get better though. We got better as the game went on tonight and we’ll get better as the season goes on if we keep fighting.”
Rockwood, on the other hand, was efficient on their first two drives, as each resulted in touchdowns.
The Tigers first drive of the night was a seven-play, 57-yard drive that ended in a 10-yard scoring run from Brett Nelson. Tajh Bazel set up the score with a 26-yard run.
Ryan McCain added the two-point conversion to make the score 8-0 with two minutes left in the opening period.
Rockwood needed only three plays to cover 52 yards and score again on their next possession. Nelson started the drive with a 39-yard run and McCain ended the drive with a one-yard dive.
McCain also added the conversion run to make the score 16-0 with 7:16 left in the first half.
On the verge of a first half knockout, the Blue Devils responded with a long drive that ate away most of the first half clock.
Harriman drove 57 yards in 13 plays with Sheldon Anderson tossing a 12-yard scoring pass to Mark Treece on fourth-and-three. Anderson converted another first down earlier in the drive on a nine-yard run.
Anderson hit Nathen Arrowood on the conversion to make the score 16-8 with 28.8 seconds left in the first half.
Harriman took the momentum into the locker room at halftime, but Rockwood wrestled it away quickly in the second half as Nelson took the first snap of the third period 50 yards for a touchdown.
McCain again added the two-pointer to give the Tigers a 24-8 lead with 7:30 left in the third quarter.
The game went to the fourth quarter at 24-8, but Harriman did threaten the end zone early in the final period. The Blue Devils drove to the Tigers 23 before turning the ball over on downs.
Rockwood pretty much ran the clock out from there, but the Blue Devils did score on the last play of the evening when Anderson hit Arrowood in stride for a 48-yard score to make the final score 24-14. Bazel added 57 yards on six carries.
Rockwood ended the evening with 231 yards offense on 25 plays. Nelson led the way with 153 yards and two TDs on 10 carries.
Harriman had 177 yards offense. Arrowood led the way on the ground with 74 yards on 21 carries while Anderson added 66 yards and 2 TDs through the air.
Rockwood and Harriman both played another set of county rivalry games this week. Harriman took on Midway on Tuesday while Rockwood battles Cherokee on Thursday.
Rushing- McCain 6-19 with 1 TD, Nelson 10-153 with 2 TDs, Ashburn 2-2, Bazel 6-57.
Passing- McCain 0-1.
Rushing- Arrowood 21-74, Cocka 7-18, Plemons 1-2, Anderson 3-22.
Passing- Anderson 3-5 for 66 yards with 2 TDs, Arrowood 2-3 for -5 yards.
Receiving- Arrowood 1-48 with 1 TD, Anderson 1-(-1), Cocka 2-2, Treece 1-12 with 1 TD.