Rockets overwhelm Wildcats, 46-14

Path to championship goes through Rockingham

By Kevin Spradlin

* Photo gallery – more than 800 pics!

ELLERBE — Either way you cut it, the road to the middle school football championship goes through Rockingham — and the host team wants to be on the field instead of in the stands.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

The Rockets’ high-powered offense and inch-giving defense gave that championship goal a boost, and gave host Ellerbe fits Wednesday afternoon as they overwhelmed the Wildcats, 46-14.

Rockingham stands atop the league standings with a 4-0 record. Anson and Ellerbe, which beat Anson, each has one loss. Rockingham hosts Anson Oct. 22 at 4 p.m. and Hamlet at the same time on Oct. 29. If Rockingham loses one of its last two regular season games and if both Anson and Ellerbe win out, it would result in a three-way tie for first place.

How the tie would be decided wasn’t exactly clear as both teams left the field on Wednesday.

The championship game is set to be played at Rockingham. Anson is the only team to beat Rockingham during the 2013 season. Ellerbe is 2-1 and next plays at Hamlet Oct. 22 and at rival Rohanen on Oct. 29. The championship game is set to be played at Rockingham Middle School on Nov. 5.

Rockingham led 14-0 after one quarter of play and 30-0 at halftime. As the Rockets substituted liberally in the second half, Ellerbe took advantage of a strong running game by Armaad Horton to save face and put some points on the board.

Bobby Terry put the Rockets on the scoreboard in the second quarter. With 3:01 to play, Terry broke free on a run to the right side for a 20-0 Rockingham lead. The two-point conversion was good.

With less than 29 seconds left in the third, a screen pass to Roderick Newton paid off in a big way as Newton took it to the end zone for six points. Terry ran in the two-point conversation for a 30-0 halftime advantage.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

The route seemed destined to continue early in the third as Rockingham’s Taveon Ellerbe recovered a fumble only 79 seconds into the quarter. Barely a minute later, though, Rockingham gave it right back when Garrett Richardson knocked the ball loose and Wildcats teammate Zach Mabe picked it up.

Ellerbe ran it in for a touchdown and to snap the shutout, but the Wildcats still trailed 30-8 after the two-point conversion.

Rockingham scored again with 1:38 left in the third as quarterback Trevor Whittington connected with Terry for a long scoring pass and a 36-8 lead. Jahyae Stanback ran the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion. The Rockets killed an Ellerbe scoring chance early in the fourth when Stanback intercepted a pass that through the hands of an Ellerbe receiver. Stanback the ball back some 70 yards for a touchdown. Terry punched the ball in for a 46-8 lead.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Garrett Richardson forced a Rockingham fumble recovered by Wildcats teammate Zach Mabe. But 77 seconds later, Ellerbe gave the ball back wh

Ellerbe coach Derek Anderson felt his team is better than the one that showed up to play Wednesday.

“We came out there a little hesitant at first,” Anderson said, “not quite as aggressive.”

Anderson nodded towards Rockingham and gave the Rockets credit for a well-executed game.

What Rockingham coach Patrick Hope saw, meanwhile, was just about perfect.

“I wanted us to play together,” Hope said of a plan that was successful. “They rooted for everyone out there. We executed pretty well.”

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |


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