Lightning may have delayed Rockledge’s District 14-5A matchup with Space Coast last Friday, but it struck twice for the Raiders on Monday night in the form of two very talented running backs.
Jalen Mitchell and Laquentin Hastie combined for 246 yards and four touchdowns as the Raiders ran away from the Vipers in the second half for a 37-6 victory.
“We came out and sustained a run game tonight and our defense played lights out,” Rockledge head coach Wayne Younger said. “It was a big team victory.”
Space Coast quarterback Bradley Cantrell completed his first five throws to begin the night, but it was Rockledge’s Jesson Walker who caught Cantrell’s sixth attempt, giving the Raiders the ball with good field position to set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Hastie.
A Vaurice Griffin interception on the Vipers’ very next drive threatened to put the home team in a hole early, however a quick Rockledge fumble gave Space Coast the ball back almost immediately.
Cantrell did not let the second chance go to waste and found a wide open Connor Perrine in the end zone for an easy 30-yard touchdown.
The Vipers, however, could not convert the point after to tie the game and a 27-yard field goal by David Quintal would send Rockledge into halftime on top, 10-6.
Space Coast’s defense saw a heavy dose of Mitchell and Hastie in the second half, with both backs ripping off large gains on Rockledge’s opening third quarter drive in route to an eight yard touchdown run by Mitchell.
Rockledge’s longest score came just a few minutes later when Griffin, weaving his way through traffic, took a punt return to the house to put the Raiders up 23-6.
Mitchell and Hastie each scored their second touchdowns of the night in the fourth quarter to cement the victory for the Raiders.
“Big ups to our offensive line,” Younger said. “We had a good game plan coming in and those guys sustained their blocks, made adjustments and the holes were there for our running backs – and they’re good at what they do.”
Space Coast will head into a bye week while Rockledge faces a quick turnaround at Astronaut on Friday.
“We’ll come back tomorrow morning and get back on our normal schedule,” Younger said. “We’ll play Astronaut Friday.”
ROCKLEDGE 37, SPACE COAST 6
Space Coast 0 6 0 0 – 6
Rockledge 0 10 13 14 – 37
HOW THEY SCORED
Rockledge: Laquentin Hastie 10 run (David Quintal kick); 9:51
Space Coast: Connor Perrine 30 pass from Bradely Cantrell (kick no good); 5:33
Rockledge: Quintal 27 field goal; 1:25
Rockledge: Jalen Mitchell 8 run (Quintal kick); 9:45
Rockledge: Griffin 70 fumble punt return (kick no good); 7:48
Rockledge: Hastie 15 run (Quintal kick); 10:08
Rockeledge: Mitchell 3 run (Quintal kick); 2:26
Rushing: Space Coast – Johnny Jones 13-39, Bradley Cantrell 5-28, Austin Crosby 1-6. Rockledge – Jalen Mitchell 25-191, 2 TDs, Laquentin Hastie 5-55, 2 TDs.
Passing: Space Coast – Bradley Cantrell 17-28-2, 205 yards, TD. Rockledge – Cameron Latham 5-10-0, 94 yards.
Receiving: Space Coast – Jason Browning 10-125, Connor Perrine 5-86, TD, Johnny Jones 3-12. Rockledge – Antoine Green 4-87, Jesson Walker 1-7.
At Space Coast High, Port St. John
Top performers: Rockledge: Jalen Mitchell, 25 carries for 191 yards and two touchdowns; Space Coast: Jason Browning, 10 receptions for 125 yards.
Key play: Leading 17-6 midway through the third quarter, Rockledge was able to put the game out of reach when Vaurice Griffin took a kickoff the length of the field for a score, putting the Raiders up by three scores.
Record: Rockledge (2-3, 1-1 14-5A); Space Coast (2-4, 0-2 14-5A)
Next week: Rockledge at Astronaut, 7 p.m.; Space Coast bye.
Full game report: http://on.flatoday.com/2cOX2ZA
David Barkholz, for FLORIDA TODAY