Local Sports

Rockets Show More Balance in Region Win Friday Night

After splitting a win and a loss in the non-region first two games of the season against James Clemens and Calhoun (GA), the Gardendale Rockets entered region play on Friday night against rival Mortimer Jordan with an offense more heavy on the run. In the 63-21 win on Friday night, the Rockets showed a more balanced offense as they mixed in more passing on their way to 533 yards of offense for the night.

Gardendale was still strong on the ground with 292 rushing yards, but added in 241 in the air.

The Rockets now sit at 2-1 overall and 1-0 in region play.

Some takeaways through 3 games:

Tyler Nelson continues to show he has a game suited to play at the next level. His numbers are impressive, but so is his poise and ability to never look rattled under pressure. Nelson went 8 for 10 for 211 yards in passing with 3 touchdowns and added 6 rushes for 107 yards and another 2 touchdowns. Nelson combined for 5 touchdowns on the night.

A big improvement for Gardendale Friday night in continuing to move the chains. Gardendale had 35 first downs in their first two games, but improved on that with 22 first downs against Mortimer Jordan.

One issue for Gardendale before Friday night was fumbles. The Rockets had 5 fumbles with 4 lost coming into the Mortimer Jordan game. They corrected that on Friday night with no fumbles.

Gardendale had trouble converting on 3rd downs before Friday night as they were 6 of 19 (31.6%). They had 6 opportunities to convert in game 3 and made 3 of them (50%).

The Rockets relied on rushing, particularly from Nelson, in the first 2 games of the season, putting up 650 net rushing yards before Friday night. They had 258 passing yards in games 1 and 2. They mixed more balance into the 63-21 win on Friday night, with 292 in rushing and 241 in passing.

Penalties have been an issue for the Rockets. Gardendale had 18 penalties for 142 yards in the games against Clemens and Calhoun. They added another 8 for 85 yards on Friday night. 26 penalties for 235 yards over 3 games is a concern for the Rockets and they will need to correct mistakes moving into the heart of region play.

Player to watch: Adyn Cupps.

Cupps had 3 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown Friday night. He has shown an ability to bring the ball down in tighter coverage. As Gardendale brings more balance to the offense, keep your eye on how they get Cupps more involved in the offense.