Red Raiders attempt to ground Rockvale Rockets

The Red Raiders host the Rockvale Rockets on Friday in the last home game of the season. The Red Raiders defeated Rockvale last season 20-14, but Rockvale isn’t the same team that finished 1-9 last year. Currently, Rockvale is 7-1 with their most recent win over the Blackman Blaze. That is a frankly impressive win over a historically strong program in Blackman, but we’ll get back to that later.

Rockvale started the season with a win over LaVergne. The team defeated LaVergne 43-20 in large part thanks to the Rockvale running game. Rushing stats weren’t provided for the game, but play by play indicates that Rockvale had four big runs. The Rockvale defense then gave the offense a buffer by forcing a strip sack for a touchdown.

Next for Rockvale was against the Smyrna Bulldogs, but Smyrna had to cancel giving Rockvale the win. With a week off, Rockvale then took on the Siegel Stars. In the same way that Rockvale defeated LaVergne, the Rockets ripped off multiple big runs all across the field. The difference this time though was that Siegel was able to stop the bleeding with some tough run defense. Both teams forced multiple fumbles during the game which kept the score 7-0 throughout the majority of the game. Rockvale was able to score one more touchdown in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t keep the shutout as the Stars scored before the game ended. Still Rockvale walked away from that game with a 14-7 win.

The Lincoln County Falcons were next for Rockvale and the team showed up for senior night. Rockvale defeated the Falcons 54-19. Again Rockvale ran the ball heavily gaining swaths of yards in spurts. The Rockvale defense wasn’t a slouch either despite allowing 19 points to be scored. The Rockets took advantage of some bad snaps by the Falcons to put the team behind early and never looked back afterwards.

Riverdale handed Rockvale their first loss on the season. The Warriors defeated Rockvale 33-0, a feat that isn’t outside the norm for the perennial state tournament participant. The Warriors did all of the damage in the air scoring four passing touchdowns in the first half. Neither team scored in the second half.

Rockvale bounced back against Nolensville 33-15, though the game started rough for the Rockets. The team found themselves behind for the entire first half with no touchdowns being scored, but were able to break off a few big runs thanks to smart decisions by the runningbacks and quarterback. Nolensville couldn’t come back from the quick 20 point score in the fourth.

Stewarts Creek was the next team on the block for Rockvale. The Rockets scored early and were able to respond quickly after Stewarts Creek scored two touchdowns in the second quarter. The Rockvale defense held Stewarts Creek scoreless in the second half, though couldn’t find the endzone themselves. Regardless, Rockvale was able to hold on to a 19-14 lead on route to their sixth win of the season.

The most recent win was over the Blackman Blaze with a final score of 50-45. Rockvale controlled the pace in the first three quarters and held the Blaze scoreless in the third quarter. Rockvale also scored a blistering 22 points in the second quarter. The trouble began in the final quarter when the Blaze scored 21 points to Rockvale’s 6. Rockvale was able to hang on for the win.

With the season being laid out Rockvale appears to do the majority of the offensive damage on the ground. Though the team did not share stats it appears as though they run an option style offense. Both running backs and the quarterback can rack up huge yards in a hurry and the team is usually in a position to score often. Coffee will have to be disciplined in covering their respective gaps on defense. Failing that tackles cannot be missed. One missed tackle is all it would take to turn a five yard game into a touchdown.

Offensively, the Red Raiders will need to be careful with turnovers. Rockvale has forced a turnover in every game except for Riverdale. Keeping the ball in the Red Raider’s hands would be the easiest way for a victory, as that would keep the prolific Rockvale offense off the field and keep swing momentum plays to a minimum. Assuming Konor Heaton can get going the game should come down to who rushed the ball better.