by Joseph W. Gex II
The Saint Stanislaus Rock-a-chaws and the Bay High Tigers squared off on the high school gridiron for the 52nd time since 1945 ‘between the walls’ at the Brother Philip Memorial Athletic Complex last Friday evening.
The Rocks surged in the second half to come from behind for a 26-23 victory. The win pushed the series record to 33-19 in favor of the Rocks and keeps the Crab Trap Trophy on the beach for another year.
SSC head coach Nate Encrapera commented, “In the first half, we did not play well. We had some bad exchanges on snaps and put ourselves in some tough situations on defense. At halftime, the mood wasn’t bad. We discussed the equation Event plus Response equals Outcome. We made some adjustments to what we were doing and overcame some of the adversity which helped us to gain some momentum in the second half. We did not approach this as us against Bay High but rather us against execution of a perfect game.”
The Rocks (4-2, 1-1) scored on their opening possession as Chandler Chapman and Kyle Stegall alternated carrying the football. Chapman had 31 yards on the drive and Stegall 27 yards including a 20-yard scoring run on the sixth play of the drive with 9:14 left in the first quarter. Gene Hoffman converted on the PAT to make the score 7-0.
Bay High answered with a touchdown of their own on their first possession. Noah Cutter and Carmello Simpson alternated handoffs before Josh Peters connected with Hosea Singleton for a 12-yard scoring aerial with 3:59 left in the first quarter. Trevor Bordelon knotted the score at 7-7 with the PAT.
Both teams swapped possessions twice before Bay High covered up a Rock player in the endzone for a safety with 48 seconds left in the first half to make the score 9-7.
After giving the Tigers a short field following the safety, Peters found Cutter in the back of the endzone for a 19-yard scoring toss with 16 seconds left before halftime. Bordelon converted on the PAT to make the score 16-7 at intermission and with Bay High in control of the momentum.
In the second half, the Rocks stopped Bay High out of the gate and capitalized on their first possession.
SSC mounted an eight-play drive that featured Chapman as the workhorse on six of the eight plays and totaled 67 yards including a four-yard dive for a touchdown with 5:36 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion attempt failed leaving the score 16-13.
The Tigers refused to be fazed and went to work on a 11-play drive that spotlighted Cutter, Simpson and Peters alternating touches. After methodically moving down the field, Peters hit Terron Bedford for a 11-yard touchdown strike with 11:51 left in the game. Bordelon converted on the PAT to push the score to 23-13.
The Tigers stuffed SSC on the ensuing possession and got the ball back at their own 24 yard line following a punt.
On the second play of the series, Bay High was intercepted by Rock linebacker Brandon Rhodes and the Rocks took over at the Tiger 12 yard line.
Chapman scored on a 12-yard run with 8:55 left in the game. Hoffman converted on the PAT to make the score 23-20.
The Tigers were not able to move the sticks on their next possession and punted away.
Stegall and Chapman combined to move the ball for SSC on a seven play drive that covered 80 yards.
Chapman ended the drive with a 38-yard scoring run with 3:52 left in the game. Cutter and Hosea Singleton combined to block the PAT leaving the score 26-23 and create drama for the final four minutes.
The Tigers were not able to move the ball due to Ryan Tyler, Connor Moran, and Jacob Bradford up front and Trustin Northington and Davien Lagarde in the backfield making stops.
After a last gasp effort by the Tigers, the Rocks took over at the Tiger 18 yard line and ran the clock out for the win.
Bay High head coach Jeremy Turcotte stated, “We have to do a better job tackling. We missed on that in several situations in the second half. Our players worked hard all week and we are proud of them. We had some momentum in the first half but it takes two halves to complete a game. Now, we must turn out attention to Moss Point and prepare for them this week. They are a very dangerous team and we will see how we match up with them.”
Bay High was led by Noah Cutter with 14 carries for 58 yards and he had two receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown. Josh Peters threw for 78 yards and three scores and rushed for 23 yards. Hosea Singleton led the defense with 10 tackles.
The Rocks were paced by Chandler Chapman with 20 carries for 206 yards and three touchdowns while Kyle Stegall added 111 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. On defense, Connor Moran led the charge with seven tackles with three solos, and a sack.
The Rocks travel to Madison to take on St. Joseph while Bay High travels to Moss Point. Both games are set to kickoff at 7 p.m.