The Tigers showed a spark and a few new offensive wrinkles which didn’t seem to faze Navasota in the Rattlers’ 36-7 district opening victory Friday night at Tiger Field.
Rockdale dips to 2-4 on the season with its fourth straight defeat, while traveling to 0-6 Smithville Friday.
Navasota improves to 4-2 on the year and has defeated the Tigers five straight times dating back to 1986.
Adding to the Tigers’ woes, they found out Thursday that they will be forced to play the rest of the season without Derek David, who broke his right ankle Wednesday night while participating in a volleyball game at a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior has already committed to Texas Tech and is considered the top linebacker prospect in the state of Texas. He was the Tigers’ leading tackler and also started at tight end.
Miller never lost consciousness but went to the Tigers’ locker room and watched the rest of the first half from across the field near the locker room.
Miller returned to the Tiger sideline in the second half and said he “felt f ine” af ter t he game.
Miller said it was the side effects of taking medicine for an inner ear infection.
The Tigers certainly had their opportunities to either take the lead or keep their opponents close.
Rockdale took 61 snaps to Navasota’s 38, but managed just 229 yards of offense. The Tigers had possession of the ball for over 32 minutes to the Rattlers’ 17:30.
“Navasota is the most talented team in the district and we had our chances to win,” Miller said. “We’ve lost four in a row and I always tell the kids I’ll let them know when it’s time to panic. It’s not time to panic but it’s getting close.
“Don’t give up on us.”
Three wins in the final four games will earn the Tigers a school-record fourth straight playoff appearance.
The momentum of the game could have shifted on the first play of the game.
The Tigers caught the Rattlers’ off-guard with a pass play where quarterback Ethan Brinkley hit wide open receiver J.J. Lewis right in the numbers at the Navasota 30-yard line, which he dropped.
Rockdale ended up losing the ball four plays later on a fumble.
The defense kept the Rattlers out of the end zone, but after another Tiger punt, Navasota broke through on a 41-yard swing pass from quarterback Ian Day to fullback Kesnick Jones for a 7-0 lead with 5 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first quarter.
Day was near perfection on the evening, connecting on 12- of-14 passes for 178 yards. The senior also ran for 53 yards and two scores.
Daniel Brooks gained 100 yards for the first time in three weeks on 23 carries.
Terral Dixon sat out the first half for disciplinary reasons but made up for lost time with 90 yards on just nine carries in the second half, including the Tigers’ lone score with 1:08 left in the third quarter, a 48-yarder where he had to tip-toe the final 20 yards down the sideline.
Rockdale had a chance to slice the Rattlers’ 14-0 lead in half right after intermission when A nthony Fisher recovered a Navasota fumble at the 30-yard line on the opening kick of the second half.
The Tigers—who wore pink tape on their shoes to bring attention to breast cancer awareness month— bogged down at the 8- yard line after 25 yards worth of pickups by Dixon and on fourthand goal, Noe Zelaya missed wide right from the 25 on his first field goal attempt of the year.
As promised, Miller shook up the Tiger offensive scheme. Rockdale ran out of the “Wildcat” formation a dozen times. However, the Tigers still struggled to shore up their passing game.
“We had a good plan, we just didn’t execute very well for a couple of reasons,” Miller said. “Injuries really started hindering what we could do.”
Last week—Navasota 36, Rockdale 7; Caldwell 59, Smithville 41; Giddings 28 LaGrange 7.
This week—Rockdale at Smithville; Giddings at Caldwell; Navasota at La- Grange.
|Rockdale vs. Smithville|
|Rockdale leads 19-1-1|
|Score by quarters|
|Navasota||7 7||6 16—36|
|Rockdale||0 0||7 0— 7|
First quarter NAV—Kesnick Jones 41 pass from Ian Day (Cesar Barron kick) 5:46
Second quarter NAV–Jones 2 run (Barron kick) 2:24
Third quarter ROCKDALE—Terral Dixon 48 run (Noe Zelaya kick) 1:08 NAV—Day 15 run (kick blocked) :39
Fourth quarter NAV—Safety, punter tackled in end zone (10:36) NAV—Day 17 run (Barron Kick) 7:50 NAV—Antoin Burrell 20 run (Barron kick) 4:57
The Leaders RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Dixon 23-100, Brooks 9-90, Palmo 3-9, Burrough 2-1, Brinkley 3-(-5), Moore 1-(-20). NAVASOTA: Day 13-53. PASSING—ROCKDALE:Brinkley 6-16-0, 54 yards. NAVASOTA: Day 12-14-0, 178 yards, TD. RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Garza 2-20, Lewis 1-15, Dixon 1-9, Goodman 1-4, Brooks 1-(-3) NAVASOTA: Creeks 3-33. TACKLES—David,J. 8, Clark 6, Montoya 6, Burrough 5, David, P. 4, Bishop 3.
TIGER SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Brooks 118-870 9 TD; Dixon 60-394 6 TD; Palmo 15-122 2 TD, Nelson 6-3, Burrough 2-1, Carpenter 2-(-10), Moore 1-(-17), Moore 1-(-20), Brinkley 22-(-52).
Passing—Brinkley 29-76-5, 297 yards, 3 TD; Dixon 0-1-0; Carpenter 0-1-0.
Receivin g— L ew is 6 -10 8 T D, Brooks 9-86, Morrow 1-16, Dixon 4-31 TD, Palmo 2-8, Garza 3-26, Carpenter 2-11 TD, Goodman 1-4, White 1-(-2).
Tackles—David, D. 42, Hayes 35, Burrough 35, David, J. 35, Montoya 30, Clark 29, Morrow 25, Vasquez 20, Bishop 20, Garcia 15, Brooks 13, Carpenter 11.