On a field that appeared as if it was a pasture that was going to be planted with corn as soon as the game was over, the Tigers slogged their way through lethargic play and shaky footing for a 9-7 victory over Madisonville Friday night at Mustang Stadium.
Off to its best start since 1997, Big Blue improves to 6-0 on the season and 2-0 in District 24-3A.
The victory—the Tigers' eighth straight regular season win and 15 out of their last 17—ensures Rockdale its second straight winning season, a feat that hasn't happened since 2003-04 when the Tigers posted back-to-back 6-5 seasons.
Madisonville dips to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in district play after dropping its second straight game to the Tigers.
"I'd like to blame it on the field," said Rockdale Coach Jef f Miller, "but it came down to a lack of execution. It was frustrating to watch."
"We're a good team, but not good enough to come out here and have a team lay down for us. We've got to come out to play with more enthusiasm and that falls on me to have them ready to play.
"I don't know if it was a hangover from the Cameron game, but we'll be ready to play next week."
The Tiger defense came to the rescue again, recording a safety in the fourth quarter to provide the margin of victory.
It marked the fourth time this season that Rockdale has held an opponent to seven points or less.
The Tigers fell behind for the first time all season when Madisonville scat back Brock Taylor took a pitch left, then hydroplaned right for a 49-yard touchdown on the Mustangs' second possession for an early 7-0 lead.
Taylor's scamper was the first time the Tiger defense has allowed a touchdown in the first quarter and only the second score in the first half all season.
While the plowed pasture bothered almost everyone, it didn't seem to disturb Taylor who got loose for 124 yards on 19 carries and accounted for all but 11 yards of the Mustangs' ground total.
His production did decline in the second half, gaining just 20 yards on nine carries.
Madisonville totaled 177 yards on offense, while the Tigers are allowing 179 yards a game—tops in District 24-3A.
Rockdale did not answer back until there was 3 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the first half on its fourth possession, when Tyler Wright got behind the Mustangs' defense and hauled in a perfectly placed pass from Joe Sanders for a 7-7 tie.
Brandon Gibbs prevented the Mustangs from scoring again on their next possession by picking off a Howard Harris pass in the end zone after they had driven to the Rockdale 14-yard line.
The Tigers were unable to capitalize on the turnover and ended up punting the ball away as the half ended.
Rockdale was threatening to score on its second possession of the second half, but Harris returned the favor and picked off Sanders' pass in the end zone while he was looking for Gibbs.
After the Tigers stalled again on their next possession, Sanders blasted a 55-yard punt that pinned Madisonville down at its own 13-yard line.
After Harris and Taylor lost four yards on two carries, a host of Tigers, including Logan David, Justin Gadison, Derek David and Anthony Montoya, planted Harris in the end zone for a narrow 9-7 lead with 10:11 remaining to be played.
After Sanders tossed his second interception after the free kick, the Mustangs marched down the field to the Rockdale 16 and Logan David stuffed Taylor in the middle on third-and-3. Eduardo Palacios' 34-yard field goal attempt for the lead was long enough, but wide left.
The Tigers gave Madisonville one more opportunity to steal the game, when Greg Chelf fumbled at the Mustangs' 33 with 2:40 left in the game.
The Rockdale defense was up to the task again, forcing Madisonville to give up the ball on four downs after backup quarterback Dalton McVey's nine-yard pickup was just short of the first down.
Chelf maneuvered in the mud for 91 yards on 16 carries, while leading rusher Daniel Brooks fought off a hip pointer to gain 58 yards on 14 tries.
TIGER SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Brooks 66-596 8 TD; Chelf 66-411 3 TD; Dixon 40-203 1 TD; Sanders 49-171 4 TD; Peters 7-55; Elliott 1-9, Farley 1-4; Wright 3-(-3).
Passing—Sanders 36-80-3, 537 yards, 5 TD; Wright 3-8-1, 84 yards, 1 TD; Chelf 1-1-0, 17 yards.
Receiving—Elliott 8 -122 1TD; Mynar 5-132 1TD; Gibbs 6-63 1TD; Debault 4-90; Wright 3-111 2TD; Brooks 2-10; Sanders 1-49 1TD; Torres 2-15; White 1-10; Dixon 4-31; Bishop 1-2, Farley 1-2, Chelf 1-1, Lewis 1-0.
Tackles—David, L. 58, Burrough 42, David, D. 38, Elliott 38, Clark 28, Estrada 28, Mynar 25, Wright 24.
|Score by quarters|
|Rockdale||0||7 0 2—9|
|Madisonville||7||0 0 0—7|
MADISONVILLE—Brock Taylor 49 run
Eduardo Palacios kick) 5:46
ROCKDALE—Tyler Wright 46 pass from
Joe Sanders (Waylon Boyd kick) 3:24
ROCKDALE—Safety, Howard Harris tackled
in end zone 10:11
RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Brooks 14-58,
Chelf 16-91, Dixon 4-(-2), Sanders 10-29.
MADISONVILLE: Taylor 19-124.
PASSING—ROCKDALE: Sanders 7-16-2,
76 yards, 1 TD, Wright 0-1-0. MADISONVILLE:
Harris 3-6-1, 32 yards.
RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Elliott 2-11,
Wright 1-46 1 TD, Gibbs 1-8, Torres 1-5,
Dixon 1-4, Bishop 1-2. MADISONVILLE:
TACKLES —David, L. 9, Burrough 7,
Wright 7, Elliott 5, Mynar 5, Clark 3.
WL WL PtsOpp
Rockdale 2 0 6 0 160 56
Caldwell 2 0 4 1 200 83
Navasota 1 0 5 0 167 48
Cameron 1 1 4 2 190 152
Taylor 0 1 3 2 162 126
Rudder 0 2 2 3 96 141
Madisonville 0 2 2 4 97 129
Last week—Rockdale 9, Madisonville
7; Navasota was idle; Caldwell 42, Bryan
Rudder 6; Cameron 47, Taylor 21.
This week—Bryan Rudder at Rockdale;
Navasota at Caldwell; Madisonville at Taylor;
Cameron is idle.
TIGER SEASON RESULTS (6-0)
Rockdale 42, Llano 20
Rockdale 7, Lampasas 6
Rockdale 7, Marlin 2
Rockdale 54, Leander Rouse 0
Rockdale 41, Cameron 21
Rockdale 9, Madisonville 7