Center struck by Rainbolt

Despite 3-8 mark, Roughriders have quick-strike capabilities

Junior quarterback Caiden Rainbolt guides Center’s spread offense with 1,422 yards passing and 12 touchdowns. 
ETNS photo Junior quarterback Caiden Rainbolt guides Center’s spread offense with 1,422 yards passing and 12 touchdowns. ETNS photo According to Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller, one would be foolish to pay much attention to upcoming opponent Center and its less than stellar record.

“As soon as you turn the film on, you can see how good they are,” he said. “If you sit on your heels, they will beat you. We have already told our players that if you take a day off or have a bad practice, it’s going to be a real disappointing end to what could be a potentially good season.”

Like Rockdale, Center is coming off a big win over a 4-7 Groesbeck, 45-21, in which they rolled up 469 yards of offense and reeled off 21 straight points to break open a tight game and close out the victory.

The Roughriders finished third in a pretty fair District 20-3A which included No. 7 and twotime state champion Carthage.

Since getting off to a lethargic 0-6 start, Center has won three of its last five. Four of its eight losses were to unbeaten and ranked teams (Fairfield, Tatum, Corrigan-Camden, Carthage).

Center has only been to the third round of the playoffs twice in 1996, 2004 and have been knocked out of first round in the past three seasons.
Senior center Ramsey Zinn graded out highest among the offensive linemen against Lorena. Senior center Ramsey Zinn graded out highest among the offensive linemen against Lorena.

The playoffs is a relatively new experience for the Roughriders. From 1958 thru 1982 they missed the playoffs completely.

Center is coached by alumnus Kevin Goodwin, who is in his fifth year at the helm, with a 28-28 mark.

Like Rockdale, the Roughriders employ a spread offense, engineered by junior quarterback Caiden Rainbolt, who has thrown for 1,422 yards and 13 touchdowns. Rainbolt has been picked off 12 times. He will not tuck it and run, he has just 19 yards rushing on the season.

Rainbolt does have a pair of quality receivers to search for in Octavious Evans (59 catches for 649 yards, 7 TDS) and Josh Burns (54-804, 4TDS).

“ They have great speed at the skill positions,” Miller said. “That’s the concern with them.”

Center does not have a featured back, but use a committee of four runners who have at least 250 yards, led by Delvin Whitaker who comes off the bench and has run for 415 yards and five touchdowns.

Still, Miller is more concerned and certainly confident with his own squad’s play.

“If we have the same execution and same intensity, it will be tough for anyone to beat us.”


• Josh Pelzel has been selected to participate in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in California on Jan. 5. As part of this noteworthy recognition, he will be honored on Sunday, Dec. 15 with seven other Texas players at the Dallas Cowboys game and presented with their jersey by Marine Corps leadership.

• Should the Tigers advance to the regional round next week, they would face either Coldspring (9-1) or LaMarque (8-3) at Berry Center in Cypress Fairbanks on Friday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The Tigers lost to Coldspring in area in 2009.

• The 55 points is the most points scored in a playoff game by a Rockdale team. The next highest was 48 against Anahuac in 1976.

• The win Friday was Rockdale’s 475th as a program in 102 years of competing.

• Clayton Gibbs has accumulated 3,110 yards of total offense which is a school record by a landslide.

• With seven catches for 154 yards, junior Pearce Loth smashed Cody Skubal’s single season mark of 52 catches for 910 yards and 10 touchdowns and now has 57 grabs for 1,031 yards and 12 touchdowns. His catches and yards rank him fourth in the state.

• James David started his school-record 41st game Friday and leads the Tigers on the season with 82 tackles, followed by Ladontice Coates’ 77.

• Elijah Brooks turned in his 12th 100-plus yard effort and now has 2,326 yards in his career, which places him fourth on the list behind brother Daniel’s 2,378.

• With 17 touchdowns this season, Brooks has 30 for his career, which puts him third on the all-time list, behind brother Daniel’s 31 and Blade Bassler’s 35 (1999-2000).

• Belton transfer Brent Drummond picked the perfect time to score his first touchdown of the year, playing in Belton at UMHB.

• Navasota joined Rockdale as the only other District 18-3A team to advance as Taylor and Madisonville both fell. No. 10 Navasota (10-1) battles No. 7 Carthage (10-1) on Friday in area play in Corsicana.

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