Tigers Tame Tigers
Friday night, the clock ran out.
Scoring twice in the final 5 minutes, 49 seconds, Smithville rallied for a 21-14 victory as Rockdale celebrated its homecoming.
Rockdale drops to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in District 23-3A play while Smithville improves to 6-0 for the first time since 1971 and 2-0 in district.
Smithville’s victory was the first over Rockdale since 1990 and just the second in the 23- game series.
The loss puts Rockdale in a position where it has to win out for a chance to extend its school record playoff appearance mark to five.
The Tigers journey to LaGrange (1-6) Friday, then host Giddings (6-1) and end the regular season at Caldwell (1-6).
Smithville, which has a reputation of dirty play, was victorious almost despite itself after being penalized 11 times for 107 yards and put a damper on several scoring opportunities.
Of that total, the Smithville was flagged six times for unsportsmanlike conduct which included late hits and trash talking.
In last season’s 48-7 Rockdale victory, Smithville was flagged for 106 yards worth of penalties, six unsportsmanlike calls and a player was ejected from the game after a late hit.
Rockdale was unable to take advantage of Smithville’s bad behavior and contributed a pair of turnovers, both coming in the final 5:41.
After being limited to 23 yards passing last week against Navasota, Rockdale quarterback Ethan Brinkley was able to connect with his receivers again, completing 13-of-21 passes for 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Brinkley, who was running for his life most of the evening, missed the final eight minutes of the game after suffering a bruised thigh after he was pushed into the Rockdale end zone from the 23- yard line by a pair of Smithville defenders.
Senior receiver Cody Skubal, who was shut out against Navasota, got back on track Friday night hauling in seven passes for 94 yards, including another patented acrobatic snare in the end zone to put Rockdale up 7-0 at the start of the second quarter.
Rockdale was unable to get completely untracked on the ground, but James David did pick up 44 yards on nine carries.
Dailynn Ramey tried the middle 13 times for 12 yards.
Smithville quarterback Coltyn Brown connected on seven-of-15 passes for 169 yards to set up two rushing touchdowns.
Four of his completions accounted for 138 yards of his total.
Rockdale surged ahead for the second time in the game 14-7 after Brinkley engineered an 11-play, 85-yard drive that ate up almost five minutes of clock, culminating when he found Dillon Goodman (3 catches, 36 yards) in the flats who scampered in from the five-yard line to complete the 18-yard connection with 11:53 remaining to be played.
After exchanging punts, Brown found an open Jimmie Gonzales in the end zone from 42 yards out to tie the game 14-14 with 5:49 left.
After a Rockdale fumble on the second play of its drive at the 42, Kegan Bledsoe—an offensive lineman lined up at fullback— pushed over from the five seven plays later to hand Smithville the lead 21-14 with 1:55 showing to secure their first-ever victory in Rockdale.
“I thought we played really well on defense, except for the last five or six minutes,” Miller said. “I felt really lucky to be tied 7-7 at halftime.”
Last week— Smithville 21, Rockdale 14; Giddings 42, Caldwell 6; Navasota 27, LaGrange 26.
This week— Rockdale at LaGrange; Navasota at Caldwell; Giddings at Smithville.
Score by quarters Smithville 07014—21 Navasota 0707—14
Second quarter ROCKDALE— Cody Skubal 7 pass from Ethan Brinkley (Noe Zelaya kick) 8:19 SMITH— D’Aaron Jackson 1 run (Jamie Schwartz kick) 3:42
Fourth quarter ROCKDALE— Dillon Goodman 18 pass from Brinkley (Zelaya kick) 11:53 SMITH—Jimmie Gonzales 42 pass from Coltyn Brown (Schwartz kick) 5:49 SMITH— Kegan Bledsoe 5 run (Schwrtz kick) 1:55
RUSHING— ROCKDALE: Dailynn Ramey 13 -12, Brinkley 6 - (-14), David 9 - 44. SMITH: Brandon Lincoln 6-29. PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 13-21- 0, 127 yards 2TD, David 1-1- 0, 42 yards, Gibbs 0-1- 0. SMITH: Bron 7-15-1, 169 yards. RECEIVING— ROCKDALE: Skubal 7- 94 TD, Goodman 3 - 36 TD, Caffey 3 -28. SMITH: Jaynes 4-94. TACKLES—Hayes 11, David 8, Schneider 7, McQuinn 7, Woolverton 7, Gibbs 6, Estrada 5, Coates 5, Goodman 4.
TIGER SEASON LEADERS
Rushing— Ramey 99- 303 2 TD, David 29-113 2 TD, Hayes 13- 47, Nelson 6 -12, Brinkley 32- (-27) 2 TD.
Passing— Brinkley 128 -214 - 6, 1,481 yards, 12 TD.
Receiving—Skubal 39- 662 8 TD, Garza 23-220 1 TD, Gibbs 18-176 TD, Caffey 22-241, Goodman 13-159 2 TD, Hayes 5-41, David 2-21, Ramey 6-3, Nelson 1- 0.
Tackles— David, J. 79, Hayes 70, Estrada 34, David 28, Woolverton 28, Schneider 29, Alonzo 23, McQuinn 27, Gibbs 26, Caffey 23, Garza 18, Garcia 17, Hamilton 15, Goodman 15.
TIGER SEASON RESULTS (3- 4)
Abilene Wylie 35, Rockdale 14 Rockdale 51, Salado 42 Rockdale 11, Cameron 10 Liberty Hill 27, Rockdale 20 Rockdale 13, Madisonville 10 Navasota 53, Rockdale 14 Smithville 21, Rockdale 14 at LaGrange Giddings at Caldwell