Practically Perfect

Big Blue leaps out and lassos Llano in lid lifter
BY BILL MARTIN Reporter Sports Editor

Joe Sanders (left) and Tyler Wright celebrate after Sanders hauled in a 49-yard touchdown. Joe Sanders (left) and Tyler Wright celebrate after Sanders hauled in a 49-yard touchdown. LL ANO—Perfection is a hard concept to pin down, but for an 18-minute span Friday night, the Rockdale Tigers performed the game of football just about as close to impeccability as possible.

A 42-point onslaught in the second and third quarters propelled the No. 15 ranked Big Blue to a convincing 42- 20 victory over Llano at Llano Stadium in front of a enthusiastic season opening crowd on a humid evening.

The Tigers scored on six straight possessions in that productive span en route to 400 yards of total offense that was nearly perfectly balanced between passing (204) and rushing (196).

The victory completes Rockdale's first back-to-back season opening wins since the 2000-2001 season when the Tigers defeated Smithville twice.

Rockdale staved off the Yellowjackets 39-33 last season at Tiger Field.

"During that span," said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller, "on offense, almost everything we did was near perfect."

The score wasn't even close to indicating how much the Tigers dominated their opponent.

The bowed-up Tiger defense limited the Yellowjackets and their Wing-T offense to 39 yards and zero points in the first half, while they pocketed a 28-0 lead to take into intermission.

Leading 42-0 with under six minutes left in the third quarter, Miller began substituting liberally and the Yellowjackets scored their points against the second unit.

Llano did finish with 248 yards rushing and rolled up more first downs than the Tigers (21 to 16), but 224 of that ground attack and 15 of that first down total came late in the second half when the game was out of reach.

"Very few negative things happened on defense," Miller said. "There were no glaring weaknesses. They never did get in a good rhythm.

"Our defensive line was

"Very few negative things happened on defense," Miller said. "There were no glaring weaknesses. They never did get in a good rhythm.

"Our defensive line was really, really good tonight."

"I'm disappointed in our lack of execution," said Llano Coach David Yeager. "Sometimes you get taken to the woodshed and we got taken to the woodshed tonight."

Waiting at the woodshed was Logan David who shifted over from end to noseguard most of the evening and finished with a game-high 13 tackles.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound blue chip prospect was a terror in the middle, tossing Llano linemen and runners around like tissue paper.

"He dominated," said Miller.

Like Rockdale, Llano is reconstructing its offensive line, but returned the same running backs that zipped past the Tigers last season for 349 yards and five touchdowns.

Last season, Esteven Aviles ran for 161 yards on just nine carries, while Clayton Maples had 100 yards on 17 totes.

Friday night, the duo was ineffective, as Maples led the Yellowjackets with 86 yards (27 in the first half) and a touchdown on 21 carries and Aviles flamed out with 31 yards on 10 carries and did not touch the ball in the second half.

The Yellowjackets rushed the ball 58 times for 248 yards and ran 67 plays to Rockdale's 40.

On the Big Blue offensive side, there were plenty of kudos to go around.

Starting his first game at quarterback since his sophomore year, senior Joe Sanders engineered a big play offense that pushed Llano down and kept them there.

Three of the Tigers first four scores were from at least 47 yards away.

"Those are a killer to a team," said Miller. "Those will break your back. You feel like you are about to get back in the game and it's a 14-point swing. It takes away the momentum."

Sanders was an efficient 10- of-14 for 158 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also picked up 34 yards rushing (including a seven-yard touchdown run) which mostly came on tuck and runs after receivers were thoroughly covered.

Just for old-time sakes, Sanders lined up at his old position of wide receiver and hauled in a perfectly executed and thrown 49-yard touchdown pass from backup Tyler Wright for the Tigers' second score.

"Joe just had a great game," Miller said. "All the way around. I was very excited for him. He made real good decisions and threw the ball real well."

Sanders hooked up with eight different receivers, led by senior J.B. Debault who had two catches for 51 yards, including the first completion of the game for 31 yards.

Senior Derrick Mynar accounted for Big Blue's final score before halftime, as Sanders lofted a pass towards the end zone that the senior hauled in at the 20-yard line to complete the 47-yard exchange with 22 seconds left in the first half to make it 28-0.

In the backfield, sophomore Daniel Brooks made a sparkling debut with an 89-yard change of direction touchdown on his very first varsity carry and outraced everyone down the right sideline into the end zone.

Brooks scored again from the five-yard line to close out the Tigers' scoring on the evening and led the team with 94 yards rushing.

Starter Greg Chelf finished with 31 yards, including a 20- yard scoring scamper to open the scoring on the evening.

Bartlett transfer Daravious Peters followed Brooks with 35 yards on just four carries.

"The beauty of what we do is we have several people that can make plays," said Miller. "And you saw that tonight."


District Season
WL WL PtsOpp
Rockdale 0 0 1 0 42 20
Navasota 0 0 1 0 47 0
Cameron 0 0 1 0 35 28
Taylor 0 0 1 0 51 0
Madisonville 0 0 1 0 35 28
Caldwell 0 0 0 1 26 28
Rudder 0 0 0 0 0 0

Last week—Rockdale 42, Llano 20; Cameron 35, Waco Connally 28; Taylor 51, Austin Reagan 0; Bellville 28, Caldwell 26; Navasota 47, Henderson 0; Madisonville 35, Groesbeck 28; Rudder was open.

This week—Lampasas at Rockdale; Cameron at Gatesville; Caldwell at Shepherd; Bryan Rudder at Cleveland; Madisonville at Coldspring; Navasota at Pelestine; Manor at Taylor.

Rockdale Llano
16 First downs 21
24-196 Rushes-yards 58-248
11-16-0 Passes 4-9-1
204 Passing yards 45
400 Total offense 293
3-31 Punts 3-41
1-1 Fumbles-lost 3-1
6-45 Penalties-yards 4-30
Score by quarters
Rockdale 0 28 14 0—42
Llano 0 0 6 14—20

Scoring summary

Second quarter ROCKDALE—Greg Chelf 20 run (Waylon Boyd kick) 10:32 ROCKDALE—Joe Sanders 49 pass from Wright (Boyd kick) 7:52 ROCKDALE—Daniel Brooks 89 run (Boyd kick) 4:36 ROCKDALE—Derrick Mynar 47 pass from Sanders (Boyd kick) :22

Third quarter ROCKDALE—Sanders 7 run (Boyd kick) 7:44 ROCKDALE—Brooks 5 run (Boyd kick) LL ANO—Clay ton Maples 1 run (kick failed) 2:13

Fourth quarter LLANO—Justin Saverance 3 run (Charlie Durham pass from Preston Rabb) 5:33 LLANO—Saverance 5 run (kick blocked) 1:01.

The Leaders RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Brooks 2-94, Sanders 5 -34, Chelf 7-33, Peters 4- 27, Wright 1-(-1). LLANO: Aviles 10-31, Maples 21-86, Saverance 13-80 2 TD. PASSING—ROCKDALE: Sanders 10-14-0, 158 yards TD; Wright 1-2-0, 49 yards TD. LLANO: Rabb 4-9-1, 45 yards. RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Debault 2-51, Sanders 1-49, Mynar 1-47, Elliott 1-17, Torres 1-10, White 1-10, Gibbs 1-10, Gibbs 1-5, Dixon 1-5, Brooks 1-3. LLANO: Durham 1-20. TACKLES—David, L. 13, Clark 11, David, D. 11, Burrough 10.

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