After falling behind 7-0, the Rockledge Raiders scored 28 unanswered points to thwart the Melbourne Bulldogs 28-7 on Friday night at McLarty Stadium in Rockledge.
On the Raiders’ first drive, Melbourne’s Xzavia Banks returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown. The ball went off of the fingers of receiver Joe Brown and right into Banks’ hands.
The Raiders drove down the field on their next possession, but came up empty when a 19-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Rockledge did come up with points on its next drive as a 34-yard pass from Alex Adler to Justin Crapps set up a six-yard TD run by Justin Weaver to tie the game.
Melbourne’s next drive in the second quarter stalled on a lost fumble by Parker Kempfer and two plays later, it was Adler to Crapps again for the 37-yard strike to give the Raiders a 14-7 lead that they took into the half.
Adler hit Joe Brown with a 45-yard pass on the second play from scrimmage in the second half to set up the Raiders for a Traven Phillips five-yard rushing touchdown three plays later.
The Raiders’ next drive ended in a punt but they got the ball right back as Darryl Collins recovered a fumble. Adler then found Kyle Thompson from 12 yards out for his second touchdown pass of the night.
KEY PLAYERS: Adler was 7-for-13 with 157 yards through the air. He connected with his receivers for three plays of 30 yards or more. Crapps had just two catches, but they were both big, as one set up a touchdown and the other one went for a score.
Without starting running back Carson Jackson, it was Ricky Rivera who had the bulk of the carries for Melbourne. He ran the ball 18 times for 74 yards.
THEY SAID IT: “We didn’t panic,” Rockledge head coach Larry Laskowski said about falling behind early and then coming back. “They showed a little character; you’ve got to find out what your team is made of — when you get down like that and come back and not panic.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Both Rockledge and Melbourne will open district play next Friday. The Raiders will start its Class 5A, District 13 schedule at home against Satellite, while the Bulldogs begin its Class 6A, District 13 slate on the road versus Palm Bay.
RECORDS: Rockledge 1-1, Melbourne 2-1