Hill Country Pain

Tigers’ troubles in red zone hamper efforts
Reporter Sports Editor

Rockdale’s Pearce Loth (6) turned in an outstanding game, grabbing 11 passes for 185 yards in the Tigers’ road loss to Burnet. Rockdale’s Pearce Loth (6) turned in an outstanding game, grabbing 11 passes for 185 yards in the Tigers’ road loss to Burnet. BURNET— Opportunity missed is opportunity lost.

The Rockdale Tiger s learned a hard lesson about gettin’ while the gettin’ is good, suffering a frustrating 20-9 loss to Burnet at Bulldog Stadium Friday night in the first road trip of the young season.

The Tigers slip to 1-1 on the season and will butt heads with rival Cameron Friday at Tigerland Field in the 59th Battle of the Bell.

Big Blue outdistanced 2-0 Burnet 422-354 in the total yardage department and had ample opportunity to score, but a half- dozen dropped passes, 11 penalties and an untimely fumble at the goal line hampered the Tigers’ efforts.

“We certainly felt we were evenly matched,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. “We needed to make less mistakes and capitalize on their mistakes.

Marco Hernandez brings down Trenton Hafley. Marco Hernandez brings down Trenton Hafley. “We entered the red zone three times and came away with just three points. We had the fumble and two dropped touchdown passes.”

Tiger receivers didn’t have much trouble cradling the ball most of the evening as receivers Pearce Loth and Pudgy Burgess connected with quarterback Clayton Gibbs for 22 catches and 289 yards between them.

Burgess and Loth each hauled in 11 aerials each, while Loth had 185 yards in receptions and Burgess 104.

The problem is, neither made a catch in the end zone.

Only one other player in RHS history has caught more passes in single game, Gene Grayson, with 12 in 1978. Loth’s yardage total is third on the all-time list behind Cody Skubal’s 196 in 2011 and Grayson’s 188 in 1978.

Gibbs also put a strain on the Tiger record book, completing 28-of-45 passes for 367 yards.

The reason for the air show was that Burnet completely shut down the Tiger running attack, as Elijah Brooks was limited to 36 yards on 13 carries.

Dailynn Ramey, who led the Tigers with a career- high 94 yards in last week’s victory over Salado, carried the ball just once for four yards.

Miller said Ramey had tweaked an ankle that he had injured last season. Ramey was able to hold down his defensive position most of the game.

“Burnet was totally committed to stopping the run and we realized that early on,” Miller said. “We were able to move the ball by throwing out in space.

“I thought we did a good job of taking what they gave us, just not a very good job in the red zone.”

Both teams wore out the middle of the Bulldog Stadium turf as the first time either crossed the goal line came with 8 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the game, when Trenton Hafley busted over from the two-yard line to hand the Bulldogs a 13-3 lead.

The Bulldogs scored again on their next possession five minutes later when Hafley pushed across again from the two-yard line for a game sealing touchdown and a 20-7 lead with 3:37 remaining to be played.

Haf ley was a workhorse for Burnet all evening, gaining 100 yards on 16 carries with the two scores.

Burnet quarterback Derek Kiser connected on 20-of-34 passes for 234 yards with an interception and no touchdown passes.

After trading punts to open the contest, Burnet drove down the field but could get no closer than the 15-yard line and settled for a 33-yard field goal by Austin Huff.

The senior Huff is a sensational kicking specialist and he kept the Tigers pinned down deep in their own territory all evening with a 42-yard punting average. His booming kickoffs routinely sailed through the end zone.

After Huff’s kick, Big Blue was on the way to grabbing the lead, marching 90 yards down the field thanks to a pair of nifty catch and runs by Burgess for 45 yards.

However, with the ball at the Burnet eight-yard line, Gibbs broke left and had the bal l stripped at the goal line where it was recovered by Burnet linebacker Taylor Barksdale.

The Tigers drove to the 13 and 4 yard lines in the second quarter, but had to settle for a 35-yard field goal from Adolfo Chavira to knot the game at 3-3 with 1:34 before halftime.

The field goal was set up by a pair of outstanding grabs by Loth of 56 and 15 yards.

Big Blue traveled 80 yards for its lone score, with Gibbs sneaking in from the one with 1:15 left on the scoreboard.

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