Rockvale Clinches Playoff Spot In Shootout Win Over Blackman
The Blackman Blaze and the Rockvale Rockets got together Friday night for another Region 4-6A battle, and it was an absolute shootout. Blackman had lost four of their last five, and needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the Rockets were looking to stay hot, only falling to Riverdale earlier in the season.
After a strong, back and forth first half the Rockets were able to hold off a late surge and beat Blackman, 50-45 to secure the school’s first ever playoff spot.
Blackman took the ball first on the opening kickoff, went 70 yards in 11 plays, with senior QB Jack Risner finding Justin Brown for a 31-yard touchdown, followed by a successful two-point conversion.
Rockvale would come back with a powerful punch, scoring 20 unanswered points with a 35-yard run from junior Robert Daniel, along with two touchdowns from LaMarcus Nelson. Each team found the endzone twice more, Nelson from four yards and senior quarterback Logan Nowacki from nine yards. Blackman quarterbacks Peyton Thomas and Jack Risner found tight end Ben Marshall for six twice. An offensive shootout produced a 36-24 score at halftime.
The Rockets kept up the same tune in the second half with their first two drives ending in touchdowns, the fourth and fifth touchdowns from Nelson. Then things got peculiar in the fourth quarter. Blackman would have touchdowns of 13 yards, 17 yards and 57 yards to make it a 50-45 game with just over two minutes to play. However, the Blaze could not recover the ensuing onside kick, and Rockvale was able to run the clock out holding onto the victory.
Blackman struggled stopping Rockvale on the ground all night, as LaMarcus Nelson led the Rockets with well over 200 yards rushing, a part of his school record setting, five-touchdown performance.
“We need big, strong guys that like to hit and tackle, and we don’t have a lot of those,” Blackman Head Coach Chandler Tygard said following the game. “They’ve done three years of lifting, Coach Rice does a great job, they’re big, strong and they showed it to our defense.”
Rockvale Head Coach Rick Rice is truly building something special two and a half years in at Rockvale. “But having to go to this school, and that is what is kind of hard about the whole situation, building a new school and getting zoned, you’re leaving your friends and stuff. I appreciate those kids so much for coming in and buying in on what we’re doing.”
Both teams are back in action October 22nd, Blackman travels to Cookeville and Rockvale travels to Coffee County.