Tigers win in a Dannybrooks
It was a matter of which player was going to win the game for his team.
Continuing his personal assault on the RHS record books, Brooks zigged and zagged for a record 324 yards and five touchdowns— including an interception return for a score—in leading Big Blue to a 51-37 come-from-behind victory over LaGrange in a must-win game for both teams.
With the victory, the Tigers improve to 4-4 on the season and 2-1 in District 23-3A play.
The Tigers need win just one of their remaining two games to enter the playoffs for a schoolrecord fourth straight time.
If they defeat Giddings (4-3, 2-1) on Friday, they would clinch a playoff berth.
In a defense optional contest in which the two squads combined for nearly 1,000 yards of offense, Brooks and Wilkerson— the superb LaGrange receiver—engaged in a turf war tug of war that left fans at Tiger Field exhausted.
The lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter alone in which both teams combined for 36 points.
Wilkerson, a first-team allstate receiver, dazzled while snagging 16 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns.
While the Tigers put a clamp on the LaGrange running game, sophomore quarterback Logan Vinklarek aired the ball out 47 times for 25 completions for 365 yards.
“No. 9 (Wilkerson) is something special,” Miller said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of covering him. He just went up and made some plays.
“You have to respect his speed and over the top ability.”
With his Friday night highlight, Brooks now has 1,444 yards on the season and needs just 67 more to break Jamal Williams record of 1,510, set in 2003.
His career total of 2,113 puts him sixth on the career rushing list, just 32 behind his father Tony.
His five touchdowns ties Lar- ry White’s mark against Manor in 1992.
Brooks has scored 26 touchdowns in his career, just nine behind leader Brooks Bassler who scored 35 times.
The junior has scored 17 touchdowns so far this season, just five behind career leader H.Earl Marion’s 22.
“He was definitely running down hill tonight,” Miller said. “He made some of the sickest moves I have ever seen.”
Jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, the Tigers stood by as LaGrange reeled off 24 straight points for a 10-point lead, including two Wilkerson touchdown catches.
It would have been rather easy for the Tigers to wave the white flag, but using some outstanding clearing blocks from his offensive line, Brooks made sure Big Blue stayed even.
After Wilkerson’s spin move and score made it 24-14, the Tigers embarked on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Brook s’ eig ht ya rd sc amper around the left side with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
Thirty seconds later and on the other side of the line, Brooks picked off a Vinklarek pass, changing directions several times and returning it 33 yards for a touchdown to boot Big Blue ahead 28-24.
The Leopards then engaged in a long trip of their own, moving 54 yards on 11 plays with Wilkerson grabbing a 5-yard pass for a 31-28 lead.
The Tigers punched back and after a 31-yard pickup by Brooks combine with a facemask penalty, the Tigers re-gained the lead as Brooks zig-zagged his way across the field for a 17-yard score and a 34-31 lead.
However, keeping up w ith the pace of the game, LaGrange cruised right back down the field, with Wilkerson maneuvering the last 30 yards for his fourth score of the evening and a 37-35 lead.
That lead was short-lived, however, as Terral Dixon swooped in from the left side and blocked Jacob Henderson’s extra point attempt and then sprinted 72 yards untouched downfield into the end zone for the two-point play and make it a 37-37 game with 6:17 left in the game.
“We were still chasing until Terral blocked that extra point,’ said Miller. “That gave us a boost. Now it’s tied and we’ve got the momentum. That was the play of the game.”
LaGrange would not score again.
After a failed Leopard drive on their next possession, Big Blue surged further ahead on a brilliant draw play to Dixon—who was subbing for an exhausted Brooks—who scooted 23 yards up the middle to make it 43-37 with 1:50 remaining to be played.
Blessed with great field possession on their own 49-yard line on the ensuing kickoff, Derek David iced the game after hanging back on a screen play and intercepting Vinklarek’s attempt which hit David right in the chest.
“Derek made an unbelievable play,” Miller said. “He’s supposed to be stunting, but he thought something was fishy and adjusted. That’s a football player.”
On the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage, Brooks took a handoff and raced 50 yards down the sideline for his fifth touchdown of the evening with 1:05 left.
“The offensive line took charge in the second half,” Miller said. “ They were not going to be denied. We only ran three plays in the second half.
Rockdale stepped off 485 yards of total offense to LaGrange’s 427.
“After losing to Liberty Hill and Madisonville, it would have been real easy for them to pack it in and shut it down,” Miller said. “Tonight shows the maturity of this team. We stayed with it.
“We perservered against adversity. It was really fun to see them bow up and go out and get that game.”
|20 First downs 25|
|26-62 Rushes-yards 27-95|
|25-47-3 Passes 4-15-0|
|365 Passing yards 86|
|427 Total offense 485|
|3-26 Punts 4-19|
|1-1 Fumbles-lost 3-0|
|4-45 Penalties-yards 7-58|
|Score by quarters|
|LaGrange 7 3 14 13—37|
|Rockdale 14 0 14 23—51|
|ROCKDALE—Terral Dixon 22run (Noe|
|Zelaya kick) 5:51|
|ROCKDALE—Daniel Brooks 49 run (Zelay|
|a k ick) 1 :42|
|LAG—Brandon Wilkerson 35 pass from|
|Logan Vinklarek (Jacob Henderson kick)|
|LAG—Henderson 27 FG :18|
|LAG—Darrell Morris 41 pass from Vink|
|larek ( Henderson k ick) 9 :21|
|LAG—Wilkerson 14 pass from Vinklarek|
|(Henderson kick) 5:57|
|ROCKDALE—Brooks 8 run (Zelaya kick)|
|ROCKDALE—Brooks 33 INT return (Zelaya|
|LAG—Wilkerson 5 pass from Vinklarek|
|(Henderson kick0 9:38|
|ROCKDALE— Brooks 17 run (Zelaya|
|LAG—Wilkerson 30 pass from Vinklarek|
|(kick blocked) 6:17|
|ROCKDALE—Dixon 72 extra point block|
|ROCKDALE—Dixon 23 run (kick fail)|
|RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Brooks 33-324|
|4 TD, Dixon 10-84 2TD, Brinkley 2-(-9).|
|LAGRANGE: Bradshaw 9-42.|
|PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley, 4-15-0,|
|86 yards. LAGRANGE: Vinklarek 25-47-3,|
|365 yards 5 TD.|
|RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Dixon 2-56,|
|Goodman 1-19, Garza 1-11. LAGRANGE:|
|Wilkerson 16-249 4 TD.|
|TACKLES—Hayes 11, David,J. 6, David,|
|D. 6, Clark 5, Kirk 5, Bishop 4, Dixcon 4,|
|Schneider 4, Vasquez 4.|
|TIGER SEASON LEADERS|
|Rushing—Brooks 168-1,444 16|
|TD; Dixon 80 - 539 9 TD; Palmo|
|27-169 2 TD, Nelson 7-3, Burrough|
|2-1, Carpenter 3-(-7), Moore 1-(-17),|
|Moore 2-(-17), Brinkley 30-(-69).|
|Passing—Brinkley 46-113-6, 535|
|yards, 6 TD; Dixon 0-1-0; Carpenter|
|Receiving—Brooks 14-134, Dixon|
|10-147 3 TD, Lewis 7-122 TD, Goodm|
|6-66 TD, Palmo 2-8, Garza 4- an|
|55, Carpenter 2-11 TD, Morrow 1-16,|
|Palmo 1-3, White 1-(-2).|
|37; Giddings||67,||Smithville 14; Navasota|
|This week—Rockdale at||Giddings;|
|Navasota||at Smithville;||LaGrange at|