Forbush unable to stop late drives by West Wilkes

By Kristian Russell - krussell@elkintribune.com
Landon Rockett (2) launches himself into the air over a West Wilkes defender for a touchdown catch on Friday night. - Kristian Russell | Yadkin Ripple

EAST BEND — In the opening game of the 2018 season, the Forbush Falcons were looking like a new and improved team for the first three quarters. The Falcons were playing host to West Wilkes under the lights in East Bend.

Things were looking good as Forbush had a 15-8 lead heading into the fourth quarter. With less than six minutes remaining in the game, West Wilkes started making its comeback. The Blackhawks were able to put down two touchdowns in the final minutes to take a 22-15 win over Forbush.

The first quarter started off with West Wilkes receiving the ball and making three plays until it reached the 36-yard line. Just as West Wilkes looked to pass the 50-yard line, Forbush came up with a big interception. Casey Graham intercepted the ball at the 45-yard line and was able to carry the ball to the 39 before being brought down.

Forbush started its first drive of the night, but the Falcons were unable to advance up the field for a first down. Forbush tried to send a punt down the field, but the snap was bobbled and West Wilkes was able to tackle Graham at the 35.

The Blackhawks were able to capitalize on the bobbled punt, as they put together three impressive plays before driving down the field for a touchdown. With 6:30 left in the first quarter, West Wilkes scored a touchdown then went for the two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.

Although the Falcons were down on the scoreboard, they were not out of the game. On the kickoff, Forbush’s Travon Martin was able to receive the ball and put the West Wilkes defenders in a tizzy with his run. Martin was able to run towards the middle of the field then pivot at the last second to turn his run towards the right sideline. Martin took off down the field for a 68-yard run before he was brought down at the 32-yard line.

With the Falcons in great field position, Forbush was able to put together five plays before taking the ball into the end zone. Graham was able to put down a 21-yard pass to Martin for Forbush’s first touchdown of the night. The Falcons went for the two-point conversion and were able to tie the game as Graham found an opening in the defense and made his way into the end zone.

After the touchdown, Forbush took the momentum from West Wilkes and turned up the heat. The Falcons forced a three-and-out situation and West Wilkes brought on the punting unit. The Blackhawks’ kick went off the side of the punters’ shoe and the ball dropped at the 16-yard line. Once again the Falcons were in prime position to do some damage.

It took three plays for Forbush to put another six points on the board. Graham was forced out of the pocket and ran to the right side of the field, as Landon Rockett was at the end of the end zone and waved for the ball. Graham launched the ball into the air and forced everyone in the stadium to hold their breath.

What seemed like an eternity to the Forbush fans, was only a few seconds in reality. Rockett was able to jump off the ground and catch the ball while being covered by a Blackhawk defender. Rockett brought the ball down and managed to get both feet into the end zone for an incredible touchdown catch. The extra point was good and Forbush took a 15-8 lead heading into the second quarter.

As the second quarter rolled through, neither team was able to come up with a touchdown. Although the score remained 15-8, Forbush was able to put down several impressive plays on offense and defense. Luke Bowers made a tackle that forced a fumble then a fourth-down situation for the Blackhawks. Another impressive play came as Garrett Cowart intercepted that ball with less than two minutes left in the quarter. The Falcons were able to hang on to the ball to take a 15-8 lead heading to halftime.

In the third quarter, neither team was able to put together a string of first downs to make it to the end zone. As the final quarter rolled around, Forbush was still hanging on to a 15-8 lead.

With 10:54 left in the fourth quarter, the tide started to turn. Forbush fumbled the ball and West Wilkes was able to recover it and carry the ball down the field for several plays. On second and three, West Wilkes gained a yard for third and one. From there, the Blackhawks kept chipping away and driving down the field.

On third and one from the 12-yard line, with 7:11 left in the game, the Blackhawks were able to take the ball to the seven for first and goal. West Wilkes was able to cross the goal line with 5:36 left in the game. It was a two-yard run that brought the Blackhawks within one point. West Wilkes then went for a two-point conversion and completed it to take a 16-15 lead over the Falcons.

Forbush tried to make its way down the field to take the lead back, but West Wilkes was able to force a punt with 3:55 left. The Blackhawks took the ball back and once again chipped away at the yards between them and the end zone. On third and seven with 1:12 left in the game, West Wilkes set up on the eight-yard line and put the ball into the end zone for another touchdown. The Blackhawks failed the two-point conversion, but they had a 22-15 lead over Forbush.

With 1:04 left in the game, the Falcons were able to take possession at the 44-yard line. The first pass was incomplete which brought up second and 10. The second pass was intended for Rockett, but once again was incomplete. On third down, with 52.1 left, the pass to Martin was incomplete as Graham had to make a running pass from outside the pocket. On fourth down, the Falcons went for it, but the pass was incomplete and West Wilkes took over on downs. The Blackhawks were able to kneel out the game to take the 22-15 win over Forbush.

The Falcons move to 0-1 for the season and will be on the road on Friday night as they travel to North Iredell. Kick-off is set for 7:30.

Landon Rockett (2) launches himself into the air over a West Wilkes defender for a touchdown catch on Friday night.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_DSC_1160.jpgLandon Rockett (2) launches himself into the air over a West Wilkes defender for a touchdown catch on Friday night. Kristian Russell | Yadkin Ripple

By Kristian Russell

krussell@elkintribune.com