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By TANK JOHNSON
A dominating third quarter lifted Rockwood to an impressive 24-13 win over Coalfield Friday night, giving the Tigers a much-needed boost heading in more district play.
Rockwood improved to 3-2 overall and remained at 1-1 in district play, with Grace Christian on the schedule this coming Friday, a team that is ineligible for post-season competition.
After clawing to a 15-7 lead at the half, Rockwood came out in the third and played vintage John Webb football. The head coach of the Tigers is known for liking to pound the football down opponent’s throats with a strong running game.
The opening drive of the second half was just that, but oddly enough, despite that possession resulting in a turnover on the Coalfield one-yard line, it was the turning point of the game.
Rockwood ran 12 plays and ate up close to seven minutes of the clock, using the hard running of Everett Campbell, Collin Smith and Josh Boles. But just as it looked like the Tigers would punch in a score to cap the drive, the Yellow Jackets forced a turnover, taking over on their own one-yard line with 5:33 left in the third.
On the very next play, however, Rockwood’s Smith and Jared Breazeale stuffed the Coalfield runner in the end zone, giving the Tigers a safety and a 17-7 lead.
Rockwood then took the free kick and marched the ball against Coalfield again, using seven plays to cover 59 yards. Quarterback Lucas Jolley pushed in from close range and after Breazeale nailed the extra point, Rockwood was in command, leading 24-7 with 2:21 left in the third.
Coalfield ended the third quarter by allowing the Tigers to pick off a pass, as Rockwood’s Cameron Webster smoothly stepped in front of a pass as the third-quarter horn sounded.
Rockwood held the football 9:43 in the third and gained well over 100 yards, while the Yellow Jackets had the football 2:17 and gained 20 yards.
The game, which was already running long, experienced another delay as the fourth started when a Coalfield player had to be taken to the hospital with what was reported as being severe dehydration.
Rockwood let a gritty Coalfield team hang around in the fourth, giving up a touchdown with 2:08 left to play, cutting the Tiger lead to 24-13. The Yellow Jackets then recovered an onside kick, but a sack by Rockwood’s Hayden Freels all but sealed the deal.
Freels was a defensive leader for the Tigers, finishing with 11 tackles and a pair of sacks.
Rockwood built the 15-7 halftime lead thanks to a score in the first quarter after a short, five-play, 50-yard drive.
Jolley rolled left, then threw back to an open Dillon Deardorff, who had a Tiger envoy for a 26-yard touchdown pass. Breazeale tacked on the extra point and the Tigers led 7-0 with 6:43 left in the first.
Coalfield came back to tie the game at 7-7 when running back Allen Seiber busted up the middle for a 32-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds left in the first. Seiber was effective all night for the Jackets, finishing with more than 100 yards.
Rockwood moved into scoring position again midway through the fourth quarter. Deardorff again capped the drive for the Tigers, who moved ahead 15-7 with 4:21 left in the half after the extra point was botch, but Rockwood was able to hit an open Boles for a two-point effort.
Rockwood got balance all night long, led by Smith’s 84 yards on seven carries. Boles finished the night with 54 on the ground on nine carries, followed by Deardorff’s 48 yards on six carries. Fullback Everett Campbell had 37 yards on six carries and was also a force on defense.
Jolley was very efficient at quarterback going 7-of-10 for 72 yards and a touchdown. He also picked up 16 yards on eight carries.