Tigers prophet as Elijah runs
Don’t know if what happened Friday night can be described as a miracle, but Elijah Brooks certainly resurrected a dormant Rockdale running attack.
Brooks broke free for 246 yards rushing and three touchdowns to help Big Blue snap a three-game losing skid with a 27-15 comeback victory at a windy Eagle Field.
The Tigers stand even at 3-3 heading into their District 18-3A opener at Taylor Friday.
A feisty Hillsboro squad sags to 1-5 after dropping four straight.
With a three-game losing streak hanging around their necks, it was important for the Tigers to get a win heading into district play—no matter what it took.
“ That’s the whole thing,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. “We had to have the win.”
As the second half got underway Friday night, a brisk northern wind blew into Eagle Stadium and that seemed to revive the Tigers after a lackluster start.
Enter Brooks, who may be the only nose guard in history to run for over 200 yards.
The 5-foot-9, 200-pound junior who anchors the defensive line, rumbled for 192 yards of his total and all three of his scores in the second half to rescue Rockdale from a 12-7 deficit.
The output was Brooks’ second 200-yard effort of the year, the first (211) came in his varsity debut in the season opener against Salado—the last time the Tigers have shown any kind of running prowess.
Rockdale has not had a runner gain more than 41 yards since the Salado game, five weeks ago.
Brooks’ total was the sixth best effort in RHS history, led by brother Daniel’s 324 yards against LaGrange in 2010.
“We felt like we were going to be able to throw, but they took that away from us and we had to adjust,” Miller said. “Once we did that, it took off from there.
“Elijah was able to hit a couple of holes and got out in the open field. We executed the running game a whole lot better.”
Returning after a one-game rest after injuring his knee, senior quarterback Ethan Brinkley was 3-for-12 for 65 yards.
Clayton Gibbs—last week’s starter at quarterback—accounted for 43 yards of that total on a connection with Brinkley that set up the Tigers’ first score on a Brinkley sneak right before halftime to close the gap to 9-7.
Brooks pushed Big Blue out in front for good on the opening drive of the second half on a three-yard dive to lift the score to 14-12.
The score had been set up by a gutsy 43-yard kickoff return by Devante Burgess to set the ball up on the Hillsboro 27-yard line.
Brooks wore out the sidelines on his 25 carries, breaking outside for runs of 83, 28 and 45 yards.
The Tigers were unable to score after his 83-yard run from their own 2-yard line on the first play from scrimmage after he was dragged down at the 15.
Three penalties pushed the Tigers away from the goal line and they ended up turning the ball over on downs.
Rockdale was able to take advantage of his 28-yard breakout on its very next possession as B rooks fi nished t he j ob w ith a four-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 21-12 lead.
Hillsboro answered with Eduardo Ortiz’ third field goal of the evening, a 33 yarder into that stiff northern breeze after a 14-play, 6:41 drive to close the gap to 21-15.
Brooks put the game out of reach on the following Tiger possession, this time going the distance and outrunning the opposition from 45 yards out to make the final 27-15 with 4 minutes, 9 seconds remaining to be played.
While the Tigers came out flat, Hillsboro was able to show some success in the early going.
The Eagles finished with just 267 yards on offense (only 34 passing) and just 128 after the break.
“We got the win with key players still out and didn’t get anybody else hurt,” said Miller. “We need to get on a roll and regain some momentum. We haven’t really bounced back yet from the Cameron loss.”
on the run
Here are the five top rushing games in RHS history:
324 Daniel Brooks vs. LaGrange
2010 (33 carries, 4 TDs)
300 Daniel Brooks vs. Salado
2010 (20 carries, 4 TDS)
269 Daniel Brooks vs. Smithville
2010 (13 carries, 3 TDs)
266 Emanuel Mack vs. Manor
2004 (38 carries, 1 TD)
254 Jamal Williams vs. Caldwell
|9 First downs||15|
|65 Passing yards||34|
|347 Total offense||267|
|HILLS—Eduardo Ortiz 35 FG||8:||06|
|HILLS—Doyle Hughes 63 run||(||pass||failed)|
|Zelaya kick) :36|
|HILLS—Ortiz 23 FG :00|
|ROCKDALE—Elijah Brooks||3||run (||Zelaya|
|ROCKDALE—Brooks 4 run||(||Zelaya||kick)|
|HILLS—Ortiz 33 FG 5:31|
|ROCKDALE—Brooks 45 run||(||Zelaya||kick)|
RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Brooks 26-246 3TD, Coats 5-36, Hayes 4-18, Burgess 1-2, Brinkley 1-1 TD, Dansby 1-0. HILLS— Hughes 10-67 TD. PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 3-12-2, 65 yards. HILLS: Lane 3-13-0, 41 yards. RECEIVING— ROCKDALE: Gibbs 1-43, Trejo 1-17, Caffey 1-5. HILLS: Lewis 1-21. TACKLES—David 14, Coates 11, Hayes 10, Caffey 10, Trejo 8, Ehler 8.
TIGER SEASON RESULTS (3-3)
TIGER SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Brooks 82-567 6 TD, Ramey 31-103, Hayes 24-144 TD, Coats 5-36, Dansby 6-20, David 1-5, Burgess 2-6, Castilleja 2-3, Gibbs 8-(- 8), Brinkley 14-(-39) TD.
Passing—Brinkley 56-109-9, 869 yards, 6 TD; Gibbs 25-61-2, 337 yards, 3TD.
Receiving— Loth 19-277 2TD, Caffey 18-211 3TD, Gibbs 12-241 2TD, Burgess 7-90, Ramey 4-51, Baldavia 4-114 TD, Walton 4-74 TD, Ford 1-28, Trejo 1-17, Dean 1-16, Brooks 1-16, Gates 1-12, David 1-10, Hayes 1-7, Burton 3-24.
Tackles— Hayes 86, David 80. Coates 59, Caffey 49, Dansby 25,