Forrest runs streak to 33 at Middle Champs' expense

Friday, September 8, 2006

Cascade Middle fell from the ranks of the unbeaten as visiting Forrest Middle jumped out to an early lead and cruised past the Champions 20-6 on Thursday.

Cascade Middle's Tre Stewart battles for some tough yardage. (T-G Photo by Danny Parker)

The Rockets' win streak now stands at 33 games, having not been beaten since Cascade took them down roughly four years ago.

"As far as the conference, I thought this would be the best test we would have," Forrest coach Danny Morgan said. "Games aren't won or lost on paper. But, (Cascade coach) Chris (Parker) is always going to have his kids prepared, and he's going to have a good football team."

Zach Ray sprinted 17 yards on a sweep for the first Rocket score of the game with 2:41 left in the opening quarter.

Forrest (3-0) extended their upper hand when Ray punched in his second TD run from 4 yards out 2:06 before halftime. Receiver Tyler Messick hauled in the conversion pass from quarterback Dane Leonard to make the score 14-0.

The early Rocket advantage proved too much for Cascade (3-1) to overcome as it forced them to alter their game plan just enough to get the Champion offense out of rhythm.

"We had to attack quick and early to put them behind the eight ball and make them play from behind," Morgan said.

"Any time in middle school football when you get down by 2-3 scores and have to put it in the air it's going to be tough," Parker said. "A wise man once told me that if you have to throw the ball more than 10 times in middle school or high school, your chances of winning greatly decrease."

Cascade's Tre Stewart picked off a Rocket pass five seconds shy of the half on fourth-and-two to avoid a deeper deficit.

Just as the Champs were coming up for air and beginning to swing momentum their way, Leonard found a wide-open Corey Bishop on fourth-and-seven for a 32-yard touchdown.

"I figured they would try to stop the run and they did," Morgan said. "We couldn't run the ball between the tackles. So, I thought we would try and throw it."

However, Cascade didn't lay down. They battled back to score with 30 seconds left in the game when Stewart took a screen pass from quarterback Jared Carkuff and rumbled his way into the end zone from 7 yards out.

"It's not how you start, it's how you finish," Parker said. "We finished strong right there after scoring at the end."

The Champs hope to use that late surge as a springboard into their next game when they host Warren County Middle next Thursday at 6.

Forrest seeks their 34th consecutive victory against Eagleville Middle in Chapel Hill on Thursday at 7.

"We have to work on our tackling and we have to run the ball between the tackles to get something going in the middle because that opens up our bootlegs and wide sets," Morgan said.