Top Chelf homecoming
Ah, the expectations of a good team.
Big Blue fought off a case of the blahs and disposed of Bryan Rudder 28-0 Friday at Tiger Stadium on the first night of true football weather as the temperatures dropped down into the 50s for homecoming festivities.
"I don't think we came out flat," said a puzzled Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. "We played hard. We had trouble scoring, not moving the ball."
With the 7-0 season mark, the No. 13 Tigers are off to their best start since 1997 when they began the year at 9-0.
Rudder dips to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in district play.
The Tigers have now won nine straight regular season games and 16 of their last 18.
The shutout is the second for the Big Blue defense this season and marks the first time a Tiger team has posted two shutouts since 2004 when they had three.
The Tigers received some bad news as Derrick Mynar was lost for the season after tearing his ACL and MCL late in the game.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior captain was a two-way starter at wide receiver and linebacker, while also playing on special teams.
Mynar missed most of last season with a shoulder injury.
"We're sick about that," Miller said. "He does a little bit of everything for us and he's a team captain. It'll be hard to replace him."
With leading rusher Daniel Brooks on the sidelines in street clothes, Greg Chelf got the brunt of the carries and
responded with a career-best
R e p o r tReer/pKo retne rE/sMt ei kne CBoro kwen 189 yards on 26 carries with
"He had a good night," Miller said. "What you saw was the result of us having three good running backs and they are fresh because they don't have to carry the ball twenty to thirty times, although they can certainly stand up and handle that like Greg did tonight."
Chelf's previous best came last year against Navasota with 148 yards.
Terral Dixon, who has struggled to have that breakthrough outing this season, also took advantage of more playing time with his best effort of the year with 91 yards on 17 carries—both season highs.
And for the first time this season, junior Tyler Wright started at quarterback in place of senior Joe Sanders because of disciplinary reasons that Miller would not specify.
The twosome did combine for the Tigers first score on a 60- yard hook up at the outset of the second quarter.
Sanders did not step under center until the fourth series of the game.
With that touchdown reception, Sanders became the Tigers' all-time leader in receiving yards with 1,374, breaking P.J. Williams mark of 1,338 set from 1992-94.
Sanders has two catches this season for 109 yards and both have gone for touchdowns.
Miller said that Sanders will start Friday's game at quarterback.
"Joe's our quarterback," Miller said. "It's behind us, it's over with. We're moving on."
Led by linebacker Derek David's 11 tackles, the Big Blue defense sparkled again, limiting Rudder to 156 yards of offense and seven first downs.
That number is misleading however, as the Rangers rolled up 57 yards of that total on their final possession of the game against Tiger reserves and a prevent defense. Rudder had 61 yards at halftime.
Rockdale has held five teams under nine points this season for a total of 15 points.
The Tigers idled on offense for most of the first half, before and after Wright and Sanders hooked up.
They drove 70 yards down to the six-yard line on their second drive on the strength of a 38- yard burst and a 28-yard pass from Wright to Brandon Gibbs, only to stall and have Waylon Boyd miss a 23-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left in the quarter.
After the touchdown pass, Sanders was forced to punt on their next three possessions and they entered the locker room at halftime with a slim 7-0 lead.
"I was concer ned t hat we weren't finishing drives," Miller said. "In the second half we did a better job of pitching and catching which was our main adjustment at halftime and that opened the game up."
"Our defense was play ing great," said Rudder Coach C.M. Pier. "We're just not getting the help from the offense right now. If we would have gotten any offensive production tonight, we would have been good."
After taking the second half kickoff and failing to pick up a first down, the Tigers embarked on an 11-play, 92-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard sneak by Sanders to make it 13- 0 after Boyd's kick was blocked with 3 minutes, 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Tigers scored on their next possession as Sanders ran and passed them down the field, followed by Chelf's nine yard blast over right guard and after Sanders found Debault on a slant for the two-point conversion, they led 21-0.
Rockdale spun in the mud at the six on their next possession, but an interception by Stephen Fowler set up Wright's second touchdown pass of the evening when he found J.J. Lewis on a slant pattern from six yards away with 1:17 remaining to be played to make the final 28-0.
TIGER SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Brooks 66-596 8 TD; Chelf 89-595 4 TD; Dixon 57-294 1 TD; Sanders 58-197 5 TD; Peters 7-55; Elliott 1-9, Farley 1-4; Wright 3-(-3).
Passing—Sanders 41-91-3, 578 yards, 5 TD; Wright 7-15 -1, 172 yards, 3 TD; Chelf 1-1-0, 17 yards.
Receiving—Gibbs 10-123 1TD; Elliott 9-117 1TD; Mynar 5-132 1TD; Debault 4-90; Wright 3-111 2TD; Brooks 2-10; Sanders 2-109 2TD; Torres 3-26; White 1-10; Dixon 4-31; Bishop 1-2, Farley 1-2, Chelf 2-(-1), Lewis 2-5 1TD.
Tackles—David, L. 63, David, D. 52, Elliott 46, Burrough 44, Clark 31, Estrada 33, Mynar 30, Wright 26.
|Score by quarters|
|Rudder||0 0||0 0— 0|
|Rockdale||0 7||6 15—28|
Second quarter ROCKDALE—Joe Sanders 60 pass from Tyler Wright (Waylon Boyd kick) 11:01
Third quarter ROCKDALE—Sanders 1 run (kick blocked) 3:25
Fourth quarter ROCKDALE—Chelf 9 run (J.B. Debault pass from Sanders) 8:29 ROCKDALE—J.J. Lewis 6 pass from Wright (Boyd Kick) 1:17
The Leaders RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Chelf 23-184 1TD, Dixon 17-91, Sanders 9-26. RUDDER: Anderson 11-54. PASSING—ROCKDALE: Sanders 5-11-0, 41 yards, Wright 4-7-0, 88 yards 2TD. RUDDER: Danford 3-15-1, 53 yards. RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Gibbs 4-60, Sanders 1-60 1TD, Chelf 1- (-2), Torres 1-11, Lewis 1-6 1TD, Elliott 1-(-5). RUDDER: Jones 1-32. TACKLES—David, D. 11, Elliott 8, David, L. 5, Estrada 5, Mynar 5, Wright 5.
Last week—Rockdale 28, Bryan Rudder 0; Caldwell 14, Navasota 0; Madisonville 28, Taylor 26; Cameron was idle.
This week—Rockdale at Navasota; Cameron at Madisonville; Taylor at Bryan Rudder; Caldwell is idle.
TIGER SEASON RESULTS (7-0)
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
Rockdale 28, Bryan Rudder 0