MELBOURNE – First-year Rockledge football coach Wayne Younger nearly had to forcefully drag his kids off the field Friday night.
“Come on get off the field, guys. We won a game, not a championship,” Younger told a large group of Rockledge players who have dubbed themselves “Area 51.”
It was just a non-district game with little more than bragging rights on the line, but Rockledge’s 45-13 throttling of Eau Gallie felt like more than that. It felt like the next step of a program turnaround that Younger set out to complete when he took the job.
Only it’s happening a little quicker than expected. With the win, Rockledge matched its win total from last season and did so in convincing fashion.
“These guys executed pretty well all game and they made big plays and were flying around the ball all game,” Younger said.
Senior quarterback Jacquez Lyons ran for two touchdowns and threw for one to lead the Raiders.
As the Commodores bottled up Raiders running back Keith Freeman early, and got out to a 7-0 lead on the back of Jalen Shelton’s 4-yard scamper on the first possession, Lyons decided it was time to take over.
He found a little bit of room to run for himself and on the Raiders’ third possession, he found paydirt on a 13-yard scramble to the end zone.
Lyons’ run started what would become a string of 24 unanswered points for the Raiders. The backbreaker came on a bit of trickery from the Raiders’ offense.
Backup quarterback Joseph Smith tossed a sideways pass to Lyons, who hit a streaking Antoine Green for a 65-yard touchdown. The Raiders tried a similar play in the first quarter, but Eau Gallie had it sniffed out and the pass to Lyons was dropped.
“We tried to go with a similar play earlier and it didn’t work out, it wasn’t exectued that well, but we went back to it and it worked out,” Younger said.
Lyons, who had 116 yards passing, said he knew that play was going to work.
“We read their defense,” he said. “The safeties kept creeping up, so we just bombed them.”
With just over a minute to work with before the half, Rockledge’s quick-strike offense struck again.
They traveled 77 yards in one minute to make it 21 unanswered points on Eau Gallie’s defense. Lyons hit Green on another deep ball on the next drive — this time for 39 yards — before reeling a pair of 15-yard runs to find the end zone. On each carry, Lyons was able to get to the second level before using some nifty footwork to get by the linebackers and safeties.
“I got trust in my team,” Lyons said. “If I need to I’ll do (more) but if not I’ll (let the other guys).”
Coming into the game Eau Gallie was one of four unbeaten Brevard County teams, but aside from the first drive of the game, the Commodores struggled to put together any momentum.
They had 80 yards worth of penalties, and quarterback Matt Wilson completed just 2 of 12 passes for 21 yards, while Jalen Shelton and Tyvone Brooks combined for 153 yards on the ground.
Rockledge travels to Palm Bay next week for a Class 5A, District 14 battle, while Eau Gallie will host Heritage in a 6A-14 matchup for the second in a string of four straight home games.
Rockledge 45, Eau Gallie 13
Rockledge 0 21 3 21— 45
Eau Gallie 7 0 6 0 — 13
HOW THEY SCORED
EG — Shelton 4 run (kick good) – 6:49.
R — Lyons 13 run (kick good) – 5:57.
R — Lyons 65 pass to Green (kick good) – 3:12.
R — Lyons 15 run (kick good) – :20.
R — Johnson 35 field goal – 7:54.
EG — Shelton 7 run (kick blocked) – 3:01.
R — Freeman 6 run (kick good) – 7:55.
R — Lovett 6 run (kick good) – 3:20.
R — Sutton 53 fumble recovery (kick good) – 1:33.
Rushing: R — Jacquez Lyons 10-87, 2 TDs, Keith Freeman 16-104, TD, Tray Lovett 16-88; EG — Jalen Shelton 28-137, 2 TDs, Tyvone Brooks 6-37, Matt Wilson 6-27. Passing: R — Lyons 5-12-1 TD, 116 yds; EG — Wilson 2-12-0 21 yds. Receiving: R — Antoine Green 3-111. Jonathan Floyd 2-5; EG — Strickland 1-13.