Flawless FMS Rockets Win DRVC Title
By Anthony S. Puca, sports writer
It was old school football at Chapel Hill Thursday night as the undefeated FMS Rockets hosted the Fayetteville Tigers in the Duck River Valley Conference title game.
Forrest won the regular season title and had beaten Fayetteville 38-0 earlier in the season, but that was a whole different story in the championship game as both teams put in stellar defensive efforts.
The Rockets scored in their first practice of the game and only crossed the goal line again within 10 seconds of the end of the third quarter, while holding Fayetteville scoreless in a 14-0 win.
“I’ve been nervous all week because I knew it would be a lot tighter than the last time we faced them,” said FMS coach Tony Johnson. “Fayetteville has a really good team, they’re really big and really physical and we’ve been preaching to them all week that it won’t be 38-0 this time around.”
“At halftime it was 8-0 and we told them, look guys, this is the first real football game we’ve been in all year and if you win you will be up for the challenge, if you are not you will lie down and boy did they step up.
FMS (7-0) limited the Tigers to just 40 total yards in the game and pulled off two big turnovers via a one-on-one special teams play from Houston Matlock, who recovered a kickoff rebounding to open the second half and recover a fumble by Eli Bell on the Tigers’ next offensive possession.
The Rockets won the toss and started at their own 45-line where they completed an all-inclusive eight-game run workout that ended in a one-yard touchdown run at Fletcher Fields.
FMS quarterback Ryan Hill threw the 2-point conversion pass to Cohen Grissom and the Rockets led 8-0 with 3:46 left in the first quarter.
Forrest’s defense forced a punt from Fayetteville before heading to the Tigers 22-yard line where they were stopped on a fourth down play.
Three games later, Fayetteville had to kick again, but the Tigers’ defense was also keen to force the Rockets to push him back.
Forrest’s defense stayed true, forcing another three-and-out and after Fayetteville’s punt, the Rockets had the ball on their own 48-yard line with 1:35 left in the first half.
The Rockets drove to the Fayetteville 9-yard line where a fourth down pass fell incomplete when the first half buzzer sounded.
On the second half kick-off, Grissom missed the boot and the ball sped towards the Forrest sideline where Matlock rushed to retrieve the pseudo kick in play on the 38-line. yards from Fayetteville.
“Honestly, it was a bad shot from Grissom and he was upset, but I told my mate it went really well for us,” Johnson said. “It went well, Matlock wanted this football and he got it.”
Once again, they sank deep into Fayetteville’s territory, but the shot was halted at the 8-yard line during a fourth save for the Tigers.
Two runs from Keenan Hackett moved the ball to the 20-yard line, but on the next touch, Bell found the ball loose at 21 with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
On the first try, Hill opened a pass to Kasen Owen, who carried it to the 1-yard line and in the next snap, Grissom scored an apparent touchdown, but was called back on a hold call. on the Rockets.
FMS was backed up to the 10-yard line and moments later a fumble supported them even further to the 15 where they faced a fourth and a goal.
Hill backed up to pass and threw a rainbow at Owen, who did a nice jump hold for a touchdown.
The two-run try was not good and the Rockets led 14-0 with nine seconds left in the third quarter.
It was the critical moment for the Tigers, who needed to score to stay in the game and they drove up to the 40-yard line where Mitchell Todd had a massive sack on a third play and the next. snap, an incomplete pass ended the race with 4:41 remaining in the game.
“Our defense has allowed 14 points all year, it’s tough to beat there so I’m super proud of them,” Johnson said. “They just know what to expect from the opposing team in attack, there are several caps in football, they steal, we give the advantage very well, our midfielders fill up, our ‘D’ line is low and done. heaps, and our DBs are locked, so you can’t ask for a better group as a defensive unit.
Forrest hammered the boulder and on a third and 8 play Grissom took a transfer and it looked like he had been stopped before the first scorer but he kept moving his feet and then got help from his Buddies of the Rocket, who pushed the bunch to Fayetteville’s 39-line yard.
That was all Forrest needed as they ran out of time to claim their first DRVC title since 2014.
“It’s just surreal right now, these guys are very special to me as a band,” Johnson said. “I’m so grateful that they come everyday, work, improve and allow us to coach them, so I love each of them from the bottom of my heart.”
Fayetteville 0 0 0 0-0
Forest 8 0 6 0-14
FMS-Fletcher Fields 1 end, Eli Bell 2 points. from Ryan Hill, 3:46.
FMS-Kasen Owen 15 assist from Ryan Hill, 2 points. run NG, 0:09.
Total yards-Fayetteville 40, FMS 159.
Rushing-Fayetteville 40, FMS 117.
Passage-Fayetteville 0, FMS 42.
Turnover-Fayetteville 1, FMS 0.
Fayetteville-Keenan Hockett 13-26, Damien Ring 2-14.
FMS-Cohen Grissom 14-52, Fletcher Fields 10-37-TD, Ryan Hill 4-28, Eli Bell 3-15, Antonio Marable 5-15.
FMS-Ryan Hill 3-5-42-TD-0.
FMS-Kasen Owen 2-32-TD, Fletcher Fields 1-10.
Duck River Valley All Conference Team
Forrest-Antonio Marable, Ryan Hill, Cohen Grissom, Eli Bell, Teagan Vanderpluig.
MVP-Matthew Morgan Championship Match (FMS)
Fayetteville-Damien Ring, Keenan Hockett, Freddie Reed, Jaiden Hampton, Brayden Serrano.
Cascade-Brayden Lewis, Kaden Hill, Trenton Giel, Lamar Bass, Joseph Bailey.
Eagleville-Thomas Solomon, Adrian Sevieri, Grant Cooper, Dylan Herrington, Tucker McCleary.
Westwood-Isiah Deadman, Kaysen Lowery, Matthew White, Ayden Vanwinkle, Joel Barrera.
Community-Ethan O’Neal, Daniel Walters, Jackson Mayo.
Cannon County-Jaxsen Miles, Caden Law, Chandler Hale.