Rockets' Cinderella run ends in 3rd round

Rockets' Cinderella run ends in 3rd round


Rockets' Cinderella run ends in 3rd round




Reynolds took to a snowy practice field earlier this week as the last Buncombe County team in the NCHSAA football playoffs.

And the No. 13 Rockets also hung around for a long time Friday at top-seeded Crest in the 3-AA Western Regional semifinals.

Chargers quarterback P.J. Brooks ran for two touchdowns (12 and 62 yards) in the final 10 minutes to finally give the Chargers some breathing room and a 30-14 home win.

Brooks’ counterpart at Reynolds played with a separated shoulder in his final high school game. But Levi Ledford still managed to complete 14 of his 32 passes for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Caelan Rhinehardt-Walker made five receptions for 87 yards to become the all-time leader in that offensive category at Reynolds (1,344 yards).

A.J. Logan rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown, while Khiry Lytle had 80 yards across the ground.

“We had our chances tonight, but we just couldn’t seem to get that break we needed,” Rockets coach Shane Laws said.

“That’s part of it. When you’re playing a great team this deep in the playoffs, everything has to be right. These kids played their tails off. They’ve overcome so much and they have a lot to be proud of. For everyone who is around this team every day, they know how much this team accomplished.”

The Rockets (9-5) were only down 16-14 at the 8:56 mark of the third quarter after Logan’s 13th touchdown run of the season (from 12 yards out).

But a missed 35-yard field goal attempt by Thomas Blakey gave the Chargers (13-1) the ball back, and Logan broke his longest scoring run shortly after that.

Crest advances to play No. 2 Northern Guilford (12-2) next week. Northern Guilford is the three-time defending 3-AA state champion and its only two losses are forfeits due to the use of an ineligible player.

“Give (Reynolds) credit. That’s a good football team,” Chargers coach Mark Barnes said. “They played hard. We made a lot of mistakes, but our kids made plays when they had to.”

The Chargers convened in their locker room at halftime with a 10-7 lead.

Jalin Moore capped an opening drive that did not include any pass attempts with a 20-yard touchdown run at the 8:31 mark of the first quarter. Alex Trejo’s 25-yard field goal came early in the second quarter.

Reynolds got on the board with 3 minutes, 2 seconds to go in the first. Ledford scrambled to his right and spotted junior C.J. Allen in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

Allen also had a first-half interception, while Cameron Burton recovered a fumble. Blakey had a chance to tie the game just before halftime, but his 30-yard field goal was wide left.

Reynolds will lose a relatively small senior class (11) to graduation, but it is a distinguished group.

Burton is set to play in the Dec. 21 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star game along with fellow Western North Carolina lineman Nathan Dalton from East Henderson.

Meanwhile, Ledford, Blakey and Rhinehardt-Walker have all set career or single-season records this fall.


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Rockets' Cinderella run ends in 3rd round


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