Rockwood shuts out Wartburg Middle

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By The Staff

The Rockwood Middle School Tigers scored 30 points in the second half on the way to a 38-0 home win against Wartburg Middle Thursday evening.

Despite fast a start thanks to a 60-yard touchdown on a punt return by Tiger speedster Jaiden Hannibal, the first half was a defensive battle.

Both defenses stymied one another at every turn forcing quick series following the other.

“We knew coming in, it wasn’t going to be easy offensively,” Rockwood Coach Bryon Harvey said, “but give Wartburg credit, they took away some of our bread and butter plays.”

This continued into the second quarter. The second frame lasted much longer than regulation due to multiple issues.

“I feel like the boys came out with a chip on their shoulder,” Wartburg Coach Wayne Frazier said, “they really wanted to win this game.

“Both teams ground it out in that first half.

“We always know that Rockwood is going to give us a game, Coach Harvey does a good job.”

The teams continued to slug it out in the trenches. Rockwood and the Bulldogs were trying to find a rhythm but due to official timeouts and other issues that was tough to do.

“We just had a lot of miscues,” Frazier said.

Whatever adjustments needed were made in the locker room and the Tigers erupted out of the gate in the third quarter.

Rockwood mounted a seven-play 68-yard drive to open the half.

“We were able to go in at halftime and make some adjustments,” Harvey said, “and our kids put it together.”

It was capped when Gerald Hannibal ran off the left tackle. Once he was past the line of scrimmage, the back promptly zigged right across the field, through the defense for a 29-yard touchdown scamper. Following a successful conversion, the score was 16-0.

The drive was what was needed for the Tigers.

Wartburg couldn’t find an answer for Rockwood’s offensive attack and couldn’t mount a counter.

“We started off the game with a lot of hype, a lot of energy,” Frazier said, “the kids came to play.

“After the punt the return, the kids didn’t fold, they stuck in there.

“We were down only eight nothing at the half, but the second half must have been Rockwood making the adjustments and we didn’t.”

After the Bulldogs went three and out on the next drive, the Tigers struck again when Dakota Waldo put the exclamation point on a seven-play drive that stretched into the final period when he ran for a touchdown from 10 yards out.

Waldo’s run was the last for the offense but not the last for Rockwood.

Wartburg appeared to have finally found the pieces for an offensive drive. Quarterback Samuel McCarty found Tommy Lawyer in the flat for a 34-yard pass to give the Bulldogs good field position.

The confidence gained from the big gain was short-lived, however. Two plays later, Wartburg lost a fumble on the Rockwood 45 and Ryan Nelson scooped it up and rumbled into the end zone for a touchdown.

As the game wound down, the Tigers recovered a miscue on the Bulldog kickoff return with good field position at the Wartburg 40.

Rockwood couldn’t capitalize and punted the ball away. The Bulldogs fielded it at their own four-yard line.

Wartburg couldn’t bust the defensive front for more comfortable position and had to punt from the end zone.

Nelson slid through the line and slapped ball high into the air for it to land to left of the line of scrimmage in the end zone.

Gerald Hannibal and a number of Tiger defenders fell on the ball for the final touchdown of the game.

“Our defense is leading our football team,” Harvey said, “our guys get to the football.

“We have a lot of prid in our defense right now.”

Rockwood was led in rushing by Gerald Hannibal who had 84 yards on 10 carries. Waldo also put up 70 yard with 10 carries.

The Tigers totaled 229 yards on the ground.

Rockwood will host the Oliver Springs Middle School Bobcats Thursday evening at 7 p.m.

“Now we have to try to get ready for a really good Oliver Springs team,” Harvey said.