Trap game awaits Tigers in Caldwell

Big Blue has won six straight regular season ending games


Caldwell’s J.J. Jackson has emerged as the top receiver in District 18-3A with 47 catches for 696 yards and four touchdowns. 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Caldwell’s J.J. Jackson has emerged as the top receiver in District 18-3A with 47 catches for 696 yards and four touchdowns. Reporter/Cliff Dungan Rockdale has known for two weeks that they have a place in the Class 3A playoff bracket.

At 1-7, Caldwell has no such notions and will have to consider its contest with the Tigers Friday as their playoff game.

Jeff Miller has already

Rockdale’s first round opponent and the location of the game has already been set. The Tigers will face Lorena in a bi-district contest, Friday Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the new Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusader Stadium in Belton. warned his team about getting complacent.

“They aren’t going to lay down. They have nothing to lose,” Miller said. “ They are going to throw everything at us. They’re going to go all out.”

With a week off, Miller is concerned with getting the Tigers’ tempo back, but never fear, under Miller, the Tigers have won six straight regular season ending games.

Caldwell, which has lost six straight and is coming off a 56-7 loss to Navasota, would take any type of streak of the positive kind.

“They’re starting to get better as the season goes on,” said Miller. “They have a dangerous quarterback and dangerous receivers.”

In their last 29 games, the Hornets are 3-26 and are staring down the barrel of their third straight one-win season.

Caldwell brought in former hometown hero Bobby Jack Goforth to turn the tides, but it will be a slow process.

Their lone victory this season came against Class 2A Hearne in the second week of the season.

The Hornets have scored just 97 points this season and average just 259 yards a game on offense.

In a league full of talented receivers, J.J. Jackson has risen to the top of the heap with 47 catches for 696 yards and four touchdowns.

With Rockdale having the week off, Jackson was able to surpass Pearce Loth, who has led the district most of the season and has been ranked in the top three in the state.

Friday’s battle will feature four of the top five receivers in the district in Loth, Jackson, Rockdale’s Pudgy Burgess and Austin Caffey.

When former coach Kenneth Gilchrist returned to Whitney, he took his quarterback son Brett with him, so the Hornets were forced to throw sophomore Joseph Crnkovic under center.

He’s responded with 853 yards and four touchdowns. He leads the league in interceptions with eight.

Rockdale has disposed of Caldwell four of the last five meetings, including three in a row.

“They want to send us to the playoffs with a bad taste in our mouths,” Miller said. “We want to go in on a high note.”

TIGER TRACKS

• With Rockdale already set to face Lorena in the first round of the playoffs, there is a threeway tie for first in District 17-3A between Lorena, Robinson and Connally, all with 3-1 marks. None of the teams are playing each other in the final week and all have a good chance to win. Lorena’s loss came from Connally in the district opener.

• The combined record of the four teams that have beaten Rockdale is 29-6.

• Should the Tigers finish second again this season, it would mark the 15th time in history they have been runner-up and the sixth time under Miller.

• While Elijah Brooks had his 100-yard game streak stopped at four against Navasota, he needs just three yards to crack the 1,000-yard barrier for the season. When Brooks accomplishes that, he will become just the third Tiger to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

• Pearce Loth is on line to break several Tiger receiving records. His 45 catches is just seven behind Cody Skubal’s season mark of 52. His 798 yards is just 112 behind Skubal’s 910 yards. Both marks were set in 2011.

• Rockdale has never had two receivers with 40 catches in the same season.

• Ladontice Coates still leads the district in kickoff returns, averaging 24 yards a return. He is the only player in the district to return a kick for a touchdown.

• The longest winning streak in the Rockdale-Caldwell series came from 1960 thru 1979 when the Tigers won 10 straight. (They did not play from 1966- 75).

• The lone tie in the series came in 1942. Neither team scored in a 0-0 deadlock.

TIGER SEASON LEADERS

Rushing—Brooks 173-997 12 TD, Gibbs 81-407 6 TDS, Ramey 35-178 3 TD, Hernandez 11-71, Pickett 3-41, Dansby 1-28, Montelongo 3-6, McCartney 7-1 TD, Burgess 1-1.

Passing— Gibbs 156-281, 2,048 yards, 20 TD, McCartney 5-7-0 73 yards.

Receiving— Loth 45-798 7TD, Burgess 43-470 5TD, Caffey 30-326 4TD, Drummond 16-184, Whitsel 4-51 TD, Brooks 4-81 2TD, Heintze 2-16, Ford 8-98 TD, Ramey 3-24, Harris 2-13, Gerren 2-35, McCartney 1-16, Coates 1-9.

Tackles— Coates 67, David 61, Caffey 59, Castilleja 59, Ehler 58, Dansby 46, Offield 38, Prazak 35, Whitsell 34, Moreland 32. TIGER SEASON RESULTS (5-4) Rockdale 47, Salado 21 Burnet 20, Rockdale 9 Cameron 51, Rockdale 33 Liberty Hill 49, Rockdale 28 Rockdale 41, Smithville 13 Rockdale 59, Hillsboro 7 Rockdale 42, Taylor 21 Rockdale 33, Madisonville 21 Navasota 42, Rockdale 21 at Caldwell

• Rockdale and Caldwell have been in the same district for 46 years, second longest to Cameron (52).

• 100 years ago, Rockdale lost to Cameron 13-0 to end the season, the Tigers’ only loss of the year.

• Como-Pickton finally scored its first touchdown of the season in a 55-6 loss to Clarksville last week.


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