History repeated itself Friday night.
The Tigers’ failure to punch the ball in from the one yard line on the last play of the first half proved critical in their 35- 13 loss to Cameron in the 56th annual Battle of the Bell Friday night in front of a packed house at Yoe Field.
Rockdale slips to 2-1 on the season, while the Yoemen—ranked No. 5 in Class 2A—remained undefeated in 2010 at 3-0.
Cameron leads The Bell series 39-17 and 60-23-2 overall in the 85th meeting between the neighboring schools.
The Yoemen face former district neighbor and future Rockdale foe Navasota Friday.
While there was plenty of football left to play, it’s hard not to understand the repercussions of that single play.
“It made all the difference in the world,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. “In the first half we did exactly what we wanted to do. We occupied their defense and didn’t have our defense out on the field much.
“We just forgot to score.”
“ That was t he play of t he game,” said Cameron Coach Rick Rhoades, who secured his first Battle of the Bell victory. “But, that’s part of football. If they score right there, then it’s 7-7 going into the second half.”
Rockdale controlled the pace of the game in the first half and had just engineered a 15-play, 77-yard drive to the Cameron one-yard line.
With 16 seconds remaining in the half, Tiger quarterback Ethan Brinkley mishandled the snap and after grabbing the ball, could not push his way through the Yoemen line into the end zone.
Rockdale doubled Cameron in time of possession in the first half 16 minutes to eight.
“It felt like it was two different football games,” Miller said. “We felt like we won the first half. In the second half I think we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves because we didn’t score.
“We talked all week about handling adversity. We didn’t do that. Up until that point, we had bounced back. It’s a great lesson for us as a staff and a team.
The opportunistic Yoemen used that defensive stop before the half to fuel them in the second half for three touchdowns.
They came out firing at the outset, driving 51 yards in just five plays on an 30-yard acrobatic catch by Thomas Rinn on a tipped pass from quarterback Jack Rhoades to make it 14-0 with just over two minutes ticked off the clock.
Two minutes later, Tre Anderson grabbed a tipped Brinkley pass and returned it to the Rockdale 10.
Two plays later, Damyon Kelley skirted left end to stretch the Yoemen’s advantage to 21-0.
“We were able to come out first thing and score two touchdowns,” Rick Rhoades said. “That took them out of their slow-down game.”
Cameron’s third score of the quarter came on a swiftly executed six play, 58-yard drive.
Rhoades riddled the Tigers on 15-of-23 accuracy for 183 yards and two touchdowns, while employing seven different receivers.
As billed, Rockdale countered with Daniel Brooks who turned in another impressive outing with 165 yards on 26 carries, including another long run of 80 yards for the Tigers first score in the third quarter.
Rockdale accumulated 290 ground yards on the evening, with Terral Dixon and Jimmy Palmo chipping in 71 yards apiece.
Oh yeah, and there’s The Bell.
“This game is a lot of fun,” Rick Rhoades said. “It’s one of the things we talked about and how important it is to this community to bring it back to Cameron.”
“It’s never okay not to win this game,” said Miller, who is 2-3 in the Battle of the Bell. “But it’s no shame in getting beat by a really good football team. This is the best Cameron team I have seen in my five years here.”
|14 First downs 11|
|48-290 Rushes-yards 25-82|
|2-6-1 Passes 15-23-0|
|(-3) Passing yards 183|
|287 Total offense 265|
|3-27 Punts 3-46|
|1-0 Fumbles-lost 0-0|
|3-15 Penalties-yards 5-44|
|Score by quarters|
|Rockdale 0 0 7 6—13|
|Cameron 0 7 21 7—35|
|CAMERON—Justin Sapp 27 pass from|
|Jack Rhoades (Martin Rodriguez kick)|
|CAMERON—Thomas Rinn 30 pass from|
|Rhoades (Rodriguez kick) 9:38|
|CAMERON—Damyon Kelley 2 run (Rodrig|
|uez k ick)|
|ROCKDALE—Daniel Brooks 80 run (Cass|
|ius M oore k ick)|
|CAMERON—Kelley 3 run (Rodriguez|
|CAMERON—Keaton Denio 1 run (Justin|
|ROCKDALE—Jimmy Palmo 1 run (kick|
|RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Brooks 26-165|
|TD, Dixon 11-71 TD, Palmo 7-71 TD, Brinkl|
|ey 3 -2, M oore 1 -(-17). C AMERON: K elley|
|14-47, Rhoades 6-23, Denio 6-21.|
|PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 2-6-3,|
|-3 yards. CAMERON: Rhoades 15-23-0,|
|183 yards, 2 TD.|
|RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Palmo 1- 0,|
|Brooks 1-(-3). CAMERON: Brashear 3-57,|
|Sapp 3-47, Rinn 2-36, Kelley 3-21.|
|TACKLES—Burrough 5, David, J. 5, Clark|
|4, Hayes 4, Vasquez 4, David, D. 3.|
|TIGER SEASON LEADERS|
|Rushing—Brooks 58-655 8 TD;|
|Dixon 31-216 5 TD; Palmo 12-113|
|2TD, Nelson 6-3, Carpenter 2-(-10),|
|Moore 1-(-17), Brinkley 12-(-27).|
|Passing—Brinkley 13-25-3, 115|
|yards, 2 TD; Carpenter 0-1-0.|
|Receiving—Lewis 3-58, Brooks|
|3-12, Morrow 1-16, Dixon 1-15 TD,|
|Palmo 2-8, Garza 1-6, Carpenter 1-2|
|TD, White 1-(-2).|
|Tackles—Hayes 23, David, D. 21,|
|David, J. 17, Burrough 14, Bishop|
|12, Montoya 11, Clark 9, Vasquez|
|8, Brooks 8, Morrow 7, Carpenter 5,|
|David 5, Dixon 5, Garcia 4.|
|TIGER SEASON RESULTS (2-1)|
|Rockdale 58, Austin Eastside 0|
|Rockdale 38, Salado 20|
|Cameron 35, Rockdale 13|