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For the third time since 2004, the Rockwood Tigers are the Roane County football champions. John Webb’s squad accomplished the feat Friday night with a 26-15 victory over Midway.
“It was a little sloppy at times, but this is a good win for us,” Rockwood head coach John Webb said. “You’ve got to give it to Midway, they fought us tooth-and-nail tonight. They’ve got a really athletic team.”
Both teams got off to a bit of a shaky start as penalties and turnovers dominated the first half of the opening quarter.
Midway fumbled the ball away on their first possession, but Rockwood couldn’t take advantage thanks in part to an illegal forward pass penalty.
Then a penalty helped kill a Midway drive before Rockwood fumbled at the Green Wave 41.
Midway used a 46-yard run from Zack Qualls to move it to the Tiger 13, but the Green Wave would get no closer as Caleb Splawn came in to boot a 28-yard field goal.
The snap, however, was bobbled and Splawn’s kick was blocked by Jason Gaus. Gaus scooped up the loose ball and raced 81 yards for a Tiger TD.
Hunter Grant added the PAT to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 3:57 left in the opening quarter.
“That was a big momentum swing,” Webb said. “They had a bit of trouble on the snap and we were able to get to it.”
Rockwood’s momentum didn’t last long as Midway answered with a six-play, 66-yard scoring drive capped by a 42-yard touchdown pass from Shandon Lyle to Mason Woody with 1:04 left in the first quarter.
Midway’s two-point try was no good.
Midway added to their lead following a 10-play, 52-yard drive that ended in a 28-yard field goal from Splawn that made the score 9-7 in favor of the Green Wave with three minutes left in the half.
A 23-yard fourth down run by Lyle set up the field goal.
Rockwood’s offense had sputtered for much of the first half, but they would take the momentum into halftime following a six-play, 61-yard scoring drive that made the score 14-9 with 48.9 seconds left in the half.
Drake Long scored the touchdown on an eight-yard run.
Christian Domon set up the score with a 39-yard gallop.
Midway threatened before halftime thanks to a 37-yard pass from Lyle to Woody and a 16-yard completion to Jonathan Beason, but the halftime horn sounded with Midway on the Tiger 12.
Rockwood dominated play in the third quarter and added 12 points to their lead.
The Tigers opened the half with a nine-play, 56-yard scoring drive that ended in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jarrod Neerman to a leaping Malcolm Springs that made the score 20-9 with 7:53 left in the third quarter.
Rockwood’s PAT was no good.
Rockwood’s next drive was a 10-play, 57-yard scoring drive that ended in a one-yard run from Gaus to make the score 26-9 with 1:40 left in the period.
Long set up the score with a 34-yard run.
Midway has been a team that has made a ton of fourth quarter comebacks this season, but the first half of the final period would see one Green Wave drive end on a failed fake punt attempt while a second drive ended in a Hunter Grant interception.
Midway did make things interesting late as they drove 82 yards 12 plays with Lyle scoring on a six-yard run to make the score 26-15 with 2:17 left.
Rockwood fumbled on their next possession as thoughts started turning toward another fantastic finish for the Green Wave, but Midway turned the ball over on downs four plays later.
Rockwood ended the evening with 234 yards of total offense on the night. Long led the attack with 80 yards rushing and a TDs on 14 carries. Domon was next in line with 63 yards on eight attempts.
Neerman added 47 yards passing, completing four of seven attempts.
Midway ended the evening with 336 yards offense. The Green Wave ran the ball 27 times for 129 yards with Lyle (17-46, 1 TD) and Qualls (1-46) leading the way.
Lyle added 207 yards passing, completing 12 of 26 attempts. Woody had a big night receiving with 147 yards and a TD on seven receptions.
Rockwood’s victory sets up a battle for the District 3-A Championship Friday night when the 7-2 Tigers travel to Grace Christian (9-0) to take on the state’s No. 1 ranked team. A victory over the Rams would give the Tigers the regular season district title and a first round bye in the upcoming TSSAA Class 2A playoffs.
Midway is still in the playoffs despite the loss. The Green Wave (6-3) plays Greenback Friday night. A victory over the Cherokees could secure a first round home game for Joe Campbell’s squad.
Rushing- Lyle 17-46 with 1 TD, Longmire 7-33, Qualls 1-46, Woody 4-8, Team 1-(-4).
Passing- Lyle 12-26 for 207 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs.
Receiving- Beason 3-33, J. Woody 1-14, Schommer 1-13, M. Woody 7-147 with 1 TD.
Rushing- Long 15-80 with 1 TD, Neerman 2-2, Kilby 4-6, Gaus 14-42 with 1 TD, Ewing 2-2, Domon 8-63, Team 3-(-8).
Passing- Neerman 4-7 for 47 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, Long 0-1.
Receiving- Springs 3-38 with 1 TD, Domon 1-9.