Breaking Serve

A visiting team hasn’t dragged The Bell home since 2005


Keaton Denio broke free for 184 yards in the No. 2 Yoemen’s big victory over No. 4 Lexington on the road Friday night. 
Reporter/Marie Bakken Keaton Denio broke free for 184 yards in the No. 2 Yoemen’s big victory over No. 4 Lexington on the road Friday night. Reporter/Marie Bakken Rockdale and Cameron are pushing this home field advantage thing to the limit.

As the two teams prepare for the 58th annual Battle of the Bell Friday at Yoe Field, the Tigers might take a page from the tennis venacular— they need to break serve to keep possession of The Bell— something they haven’t pulled off since the 1976-77 seasons.

A visiting team has not loaded up The Bell and taken it home since 2005.

“I don’t know what to think about this home and away thing,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. “It’s been more about who has made the mental breakdowns, which has meant more. “I don’t know if that has to do with home field advantage or not.”

Should Rockdale emerge victorious Friday evening, Miller would tie Ray Birchfield (1960- 66) for most wins by a Tiger coach over Cameron with four. The Tigers have the ball in their court as far as retaining The Bell after registering one of the most dramatic wins in the series’ history.

An Ethan Brinkley sneak with under three minutes left and then Markus Hayes’ two-point conversion propelled Rockdale to an 11-10 win at Tigerland Field.

With the exception of last season, Miller points out that hand-in-hand with the home field advantage comes blowout wins.

Cameron won 35-13 in 2010 and 41-28 in 2008 and 50-13 in 2006, while Rockdale won 41-21 in 2009 and 43-21 in 2007.

“It’s crazy that there has only been one close game,” Miller said. “In 2006 they were real good and the only year they were that much better than us. Besides then, it’s been pretty evenly matched.”

Both teams are coming off impressive wins, with Cameron— ranked No. 2 in Class 2A— disposing of No. 4 Lexington 28-20 in Lexington in a contest where many thought the Eagles would have the advantage.

“It’s a big win,” Rhoades said. “It’s not a district game, so it doesn’t really mean anything. But to play a good team and win like this is big for our kids.”

TIGER TRACKS

• How rare a feat was Noe Zelaya’s career-long 40-yard field goal Friday night? It was just the eighth field goal in Miller’s seven years here and three of those came in his very first game as coach. Zelaya is 3-for-7 in his career. The school record is 45-yards by Kyle Schielack in 2003.

• With five interceptions in the first two games, the Tigers have already tied last year’s theft total.

• Ed Dansby made the most of his call-up from the junior varsity and picked off a pass in the fourth quarter.

• Starting defensive tackle Kristian White will be lost for six weeks with a high ankle sprain. Marco Hernandez and William Dean did not play due to broken wrists. Starting defensive tackle Justin Offield was sick and did not play. Dailynn Ramey (shoulder) and Josh Pelzel (knee) will play Friday. Receiver Devante Burgess was suspended for disciplinary reasons and did not suit up.

• James David led the Tigers with 16 tackles, followed closely by fellow linebacker Markus Hayes with 15. Hayes leads the team in stops on the season with 25, followed by David with 24 and Coates with 21.

• Rockdale is averaging 480 yards of offense per outing, almost split evenly down the middle with 524 yards passing and 437 rushing.

• Ethan Brinkley leads all district punters with a 39-yard average per kick.

• This is the 87th time Rockdale and Cameron have battled. The Yoe lead 60-23-2 in the overall series which began in 1911. In 1912, they faced each other twice.

Should Rockdale defeat Cameron Friday, Jeff Miller would tie Ray Birchfield for most wins against the Yoe.

Coach Years Record
Ray Birchfield 1960-66 4-3
Jeff Miller 2006-11 3-3
Jim Gray 1967-72 3-3
Fred Johnson 1973-80 3-5
Casey Creghan 1994-03 2-8

rockdale at cameron

What: The 58th annual Battle
of the Bell—Rockdale Tigers
(2-0) vs. No. 2 Cameron Yoemen (2-0).
Where: Yoe Field (3,500
capacity). Natural grass.
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Favorite: Cameron by 15.
Last week: Rockdale def.
Burnet 24-17; Cameron def.
Lexington 38-20.
Series record: Cameron
leads 39-18 in the “Battle of
the Bell” and 60-23-2 overall.
Rockdale won 11-10 in 2011.
District outlook: Cameron is
picked first in District 12-2A
(Salado, Academy, Lago Vista,
McGregor, Troy, Marlin, Florence). Yoe to watch: No. 6, Sr. RB
Keaton Denio.

the starting lineups


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