Rock­mart takes round 1 in state play­offs, Sports

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick Edi­tor

The Rock­mart Yel­low Jack­ets con­trol their own destiny through the rest of the sea­son.

Stand­ing un­de­feated at the top of the Re­gion 7-AA pile, the Jack­ets have only three more games to go for the reg­u­lar sea­son and a chance to win the ti­tle in 2017. It wasn’t easy, but Rock­mart over­came one of their big­gest foes in 2017 in an of­fen­sive shootout against Pep­perell that ended with a 56-42 win over the Drag­ons.

For Rock­mart (5-2, 4-0 7-AA,) a cast of char­ac­ters got in for scores, in­clud­ing ZJ What­ley with a huge 43 yard break­away on the night for one of his four scores, and quar­ter­back Dy­lan Bai­ley get­ting a 39-yard touch­down into the end zone on the night.

Bai­ley fin­ished go­ing 5 for 6 with 62 yards and his lone touch­down for the night in the air, plus one more on the ground from half a yard out. Pep­perell’s loss to Rock­mart puts them still in con­trol of their play­off chances, but only if they come away with a win next week against Dade County on the road.

Head coach Biff Par­son said that his of­fen­sive line stood tough, and that his team will still have some work to do on de­fense be­fore the up­com­ing game.

How­ever, com­ing out with a big win over Pep­perell gives Rock­mart a big ad­van­tage as they en­ter the fi­nal three games, fac­ing Coosa, Gor­don Cen­tral and Model to round out the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Pep­perell mean­while seeks to head off Dade County and con­trol their play­off po­si­tion.

“We got beat by a good foot­ball team not be­cause of how good they are, but be­cause we didn’t play very well,” Pep­perell head coach Rick Hurst said.

Quar­ter­back Trevor Thomas put up a huge night on of­fense, go­ing 15 for 18 with 333 yards of pass­ing and five touch­downs in the air, and also run­ning one in from 55 yards out in the first half for a big night for the se­nior quar­ter­back.

Run­ning back Tae Ham­mond also picked up 94 yards on the ground for the night for the Drag­ons in their loss.

Rock­mart faces Coosa at home again, with both teams com­ing off big wins.

“It doesn’t get eas­ier,” Par­son said. “We’ve got to lick our wounds and un­der­stand what we have to do on the de­fen­sive side on the ball, and get bet­ter on of­fense.”

Kevin Myrick / Stan­dard Jour­nal

Ant Lester runs down­field dur­ing Fri­day’s game against the Pep­perell Drag­ons. The Yel­low Jack­ets won 56-42.

Contributed by Gail Con­ner

Rock­mart quar­ter­back Dy­lan Bai­ley gets some pro­tec­tion from team­mate Markus Smith when go­ing back for a pass.

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