A week of defensive drills paid rewards Friday night when Rocky Mount Academy routed visiting Raleigh St. David’s School, 52-7.
Nothing better illustrated this than two goal-line stands by the Eagles, one each at the end of the third and fourth quarters that broke long drives by the Warriors. In the third quarter, St. David’s marched from RMA’s 40-yard line to the 8 in nine plays.
From there, RMA’s defense built a wall. Over four down-and-goal plays, RMA’s pressure forced three incomplete passes and allowed only a 1-yard run before St. David’s had to yield the ball.
In the fourth-quarter stand, St. David’s moved from its own 35 to RMA’s 8-yard-line against an Eagles’ defense fielding several second-string defenders. But on two down-and-goal plays as time ran out, the Eagles denied the Warriors a final score.
RMA coach B.W. Holt was succinct about what the Eagles focused on in the week’s practices since their 72-40 loss Sept. 6 to Hobgood Academy.
“Tackling. Tackling. They weren’t getting to the ball,” he said referring to the earlier game. “These kids, they’ve come a long way.”
The Eagles also reversed the fumble issue that plagued them against Hobgood. One St. David’s fumble in the first quarter, two in the second and a fourth in the third ended up in the hands of RMA defenders, including those of senior Kasey Royster and junior Landon Clontz.
The tough defense was a change from the way the game started, which looked to be a more evenly matched eight-man contest. The Eagles posted first-quarter scores on a 15-yard run by senior Christopher Jenkins with 9:15 left in the period and a 17-yard run by freshman Rod’Quan White at the 2:16 mark.
Looking determined not be outdone, St. David’s sophomore Jack Hensley scored on a 48-yard sprint with 12 seconds left in the first quarter. It would be the Warriors’ only score.
Other scores in RMA’s home opener included a pass by junior Brice Andracchio to sophomore Jacob Hunter, who streaked down the home sideline on the 57-yard play in the second quarter, and an 87-yard dash along the visitors’ sideline by junior Linwood Jones on the first play of the fourth quarter.
RMA (2-1) plays host to Word of God Christian Academy at 7:30 p.m. Friday.