Rockwall Shocks 7th-ranked The Woodlands Highlanders, Advances to Area Round After Upset

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Photo: Vance Valentine/TexasHSFootball

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Rockwall High School did something that not many outside of its ISD’s hallways thought would happen — shocking Class 6A Associated Press No. 7 The Woodlands High School 24-7 Saturday at Woodforest Bank Stadium.

Before Saturday’s playoff-level earthquake, the Highlanders hadn’t lost at Woodforest Bank Stadium since 2012.

“We’ve been in this situation so many times this year and last year,” said Rodney Webb, Rockwall’s head coach. “It was a close game going into the fourth quarter and we have preached and preached finishing and we’ve fallen short this year, but we didn’t tonight we had to step up tonight and did it both sides of the ball.”

Vance Valentine/TexasHSFootball

In a game that many expected to be a high-scoring shootout, 25 miles per hour winds turned it into a slugfest. Rockwall leaned on the rushing efforts of Zach Henry who finished with 127 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries.

Rockwall opened the game ready for an upset, their high-octane offense dominated the clock early with an almost seven-minute drive which was capped off by an 18-yard catch by Cameron Crayton. Kicking into the wind, they successfully executed and recovered an onside kick to keep the Highlanders’ offense off the field. The wind foiled their second scoring attempt as a 22-yard field goal attempt went wide right and the score remained 7-0.

Finally, with under three minutes in the first, The Woodlands offense came in. Led by Quinton Johnson, the Highlanders marched down the field and Bryeton Gilford punched it in for a three-yard touchdown to tie the game.

The second quarter was a shut-out on both sides, as neither prolific offenses could get anything going. Oklahoma State linebacker commit Blake Barron and the Rockwall defense came up big, containing the Highlanders to zero plays over 25 yards all game. 48 seconds before the half, the Highlanders got the ball looking to get ahead by a score and made it all the way to the Rockwall 18-yard line before being picked off in the end zone as time ran down on the half for a tied 7-7 score.

The Woodlands opened the second half with the ball and failed to score. The slugfest continued, as both teams were forced to punt twice each, until, with 3:06 in the third quarter, Rockwall quarterback Jacob Clark hit a receiver for a 49-yard gain then, ran it in himself from eight yards out to put Rockwall ahead 14-7. Nothing went The Woodlands way in the third quarter, the defense couldn’t stop the run and the offense was completely shut down.

Vance Valentine/TexasHSFootball

After receiving the punt at the end of the third, Rockwall held the ball for five minutes and tacked on a field goal to increase their lead 17-7. They got the ball right back, intercepting Quinton Johnson on the first play of The Woodlands ensuing possession. Rockwall punched it in with three minutes to go and Zach Henry added a touchdown to his stat-line to increase their lead 23-7. Rockwall’s defense stood their ground and sealed the upset.

Webb gave a game ball to his defensive coordinator for the job he did, even calling it “the best defensive game since he’s been here.”

Rockwall’s defense held The Woodlands to just 99 passing yards and just 65 rushing yards, along with forced three turnovers on the night. A team that was averaging 46 points per game and 7-1 on the season, fell to the, now 6-5, Rockwall Yellow Jackets, who had struggled to finish games all year.

Rockwall now looks forward to the undefeated Sachse Mustangs looking to slay another dragon. Sachse is headed by Mississippi State quarterback commit Jalen Mayden, they’re a complete team, but Rockwall knows a thing or two about how to take down complete teams.

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