Rockets victorious in home opener
Last week, the Rockingham Middle School football team struggled to move the ball in a tough 14-8 road loss against Blenheim Middle School of Discovery in a strong defensive battle decided by a special teams score.
On Wednesday, the Rockets hosted McColl Middle School for their home opener, but this time they added 277 offensive yards to a strong defensive performance to come away with an impressive 28-8 victory.
Rockingham used a pair of long touchdown runs from Chance Crowder (7 carries, 187 yards, 3 TDs) in the first quarter to puts some early distance between itself and the visiting Red Devils, and the Rockets never looked back.
Quarterback Gabe Clark completed 3-of-4 passing for 41 yards and a touchdown. Ty Covington hauled in two of Clark’s throws for 36 yards and a score, while Keviyon McManus added one catch for five yards.
“Focused,” Rockingham coach Zach Freeman said of his team. “They worked very hard this week at practice. They were determined not to lose at home. I am very proud of all of our guys.”
Along with Crowder, Josiah Cooper (7 carries, 40 yards) and Clark (1 carry for 20 yards) contributed to Rockingham’s strong rushing performance.
Defensively, the Rockets continued to do everything that they could to keep the Red Devils off of the field. Najeir Harris and Kerick Hairston each forced a fumble with the loose balls being recovered by Harris and Bryon Hinson. Devin Patel, Max Wiggins, Harris and Crowder each recorded tackles for a loss. Shameer Jones, Hayden Smith, Ty Covington, and Jaden Wall all recorded tackles for the Rockets in the win.
“The guys were very well prepared for this week’s game,” shared Rockingham defensive coordinator Austin Harven. “They were ready and focused to play coming off of a tough loss. The team found a way to win and fought hard all game.”
Rockingham (1-1) will have a bye this week.
Zach Freeman and Austin Harven assisted with stats and information from this game.
Red Rams and Cavaliers fall in season openers
The Cordova Middle football team hosted East Hoke Middle on Wednesday afternoon. The Cavaliers gave up an early score to the visiting Eagles, but looked as though they were going to limit the visitors to just 6 points in the first half. An unfortunate turnover in their own territory allowed East Hoke to get another score just before intermission to take a 16-0 lead into the second half.
After the break, Cordova limited the visitors to a single score, but couldn’t get anything going offensively resulting in a 22-0 home loss for the Cavaliers.
Hamlet Middle’s football team was on the road on Wednesday at Sandy Grove Middle. It was a tough start to the season as the Red Rams fell 38-0 to the Panthers.
Hamlet and Cordova, both 0-1, will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Cordova.
Ellerbe volleyball drops first match of the season
While still tied at the top of the conference standings, Ellerbe’s undefeated run came to an end on Monday on the road against Anson Blue.
The Lady Wildcats fell in three sets – 18-25, 13-25 and 22-25.
Anson Blue had a strong afternoon in the serving area and were able to string together points and create leads throughout the match including the first seven points of the opening set. Ellerbe, on the other hand, was uncharacteristically struggling with its serving which led to the defeat.
After the first two sets, the Lady Wildcats were able to settle down compete well in the third even taking a 10-8 lead early in the set. Unfortunately, Ellerbe came up a little short in the end and hopes for another come-from-behind victory were lost.
“We were making common mistakes that we will correct in practice,” shared Ellerbe coach Jonathan Chavez.” “We did not have much success serving which Anson Blue was able to take advantage of. “We had a tough time communicating, having energy, and other mistakes. We will bounce back.”
Ellerbe (4-1) will play at home twice this week First, they will host West Hoke on Monday, before welcoming East Hoke on Thursday.
Jonathan Chavez assisted with information from this match.
Rockingham volleyball sweeps Scotland County duo
Due to schedule changes related to Hurricane Ian, the Lady Rockets volleyball team hosted both Scotland County middle schools in back-to-back days, defeating them both.
On Monday, Rockingham defeated Carver. The Lady Rockets won handily in the first set after beginning on an 8-1 run. Madisen Jackson started off with a pair of aces before Haley Singleton recorded five consecutive service points (two aces). Kills from Addison Butler and Alley Crouch and an ace from Natalie Richardson would later push the Lady Rockets ahead by 10 at 16-6. Rockingham coasted the rest of the way to an easy 25-14 set one win.
Carver put up a fight in set two. Three consecutive aces from Butler broke a 5-5 stalemate to give the Lady Rockets a three-point advantage at 8-5. It’s the largest lead that Rockingham would have until the set’s final point. The two teams traded points with Carver tying the set seven different times, but never managed to pull ahead. With the score tied 21-21, Rockingham ended it with four straight points (a pair of Jackson kills, an ace from Ava Hooks and a Carver error) to win 25-21.
Set three saw Carver earn its first lead of the match at 9-7, but it was short lived. A serving error combined with two aces from Hooks, and a Jackson kill reversed the lead and put the Lady Rockets ahead 11-9. Carver quickly knotted things back up at 11-all, but that’s as close as the set would get.
After a Carver serving error, Rockingham scored the next five straight with Jackson serving. The six point lead held as the Lady Rockets won set three 25-19.
On Tuesday, Rockingham hosted Spring Hill Middle. The Lady Rockets won the day in four sets. Once again, the Lady Rockets primary strength came from the serving area with each set featuring long runs by the Lady Rockets.
After decisive set one win, Spring Hill narrowly defeated the Lady Rockets 25-23 in set two. It was the first set lost by Rockingham since its season opener at Ellerbe Middle School.
In set 3, Rockingham shot out to an early 5-0 lead with Jackson serving. A pair of aces from Butler would later push the Lady Rockets out to a 9-2 advantage. Rockingham struggled with the net as serve and kill attempts seemed to find it. The miscues allowed Spring Hill to take a 19-15 lead and force the Lady Rockets to take a timeout.
Jackson took over once again. A pair of hard kills from Jackson and a series of errors knotted the game at 22-all. From there, Crouch collected a trio of service points to end the set with a 25-22 win for the Lady Rockets.
The Lady Rockets removed all doubt early in set 4 with an 11-0 run to start things off. Jackson delivered 8 aces in the run. Butler followed with four service points (1 ace) and Crouch added two service points and a kill to push Rockingham out to an 18-4 lead.
With the team only making one full rotation during the set, Jackson ended up back in the serving area where she recorded seven more service points including an ace for the set’s final point. The 25-6 set win also won the match.
The Lady Rockets (4-1) will be on the road at Sandy Grove on Monday before returning home to welcome Anson Blue on Thursday.
Cordova wins two at home
The Cordova Middle School Lady Cavaliers are perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the fall season. After earning a pair of wins against East Hoke and Carver on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, the Lady Cavaliers will enter week four with a 3-2 record.
Cordova, who beat East Hoke on Monday, continued the county’s reputation for exciting five-set matches on Tuesday against Carver.
Cordova dropped a hard-fought 25-21 first set to the vising Lady Eagles. The Lady Cavaliers led most of the set by as many a six points, but a series of serving errors and some long rally victories by Carver allowed the visitors to knot the game at 16-all forcing Cordova into a timeout.
From there, the two teams traded points until Carver pulled away at the end.
The frustrating loss seemed to affect the Lady Cavaliers in the second set. Carver rushed out to an early 10-5 advantage and never looked back en route to a 25-15 set two win.
After Cordova fell behind 0-2 in the series and trailed by four points in the third set, it appeared as though Carver was going to leave with a short and sweet 3-0 match victory. However, Cordova’s magnificent seven had other plans.
Desire Ingram, Hailey Belk, Abigail Huckabee, Madison Hancock, Aliah West, Lizzie Lunceford and Yazmin Gomez impressively regrouped. With a limited roster and a big hole to climb out of, the scrappy Lady Cavaliers managed to win three straight sets to steal the victory from the Lady Eagles.
Cordova (3-2) will host Spring Hill on Monday and will travel to Sandy Grove on Thursday.
Hamlet wins two in Raeford
The Hamlet Lady Red Rams traveled to Raeford twice to take on West Hoke Middle and East Hoke Middle and came away with a pair of victories.
Hamlet traveled to West Hoke on Monday. The first set started with a lot of back forth with serving errors from both teams. Mackenzie Quick (2 aces), Riley McDonald (4 aces) and Lexi Smith (3 aces) were the leading servers for Hamlet who pulled away and won the first set 25-15.
In set two, both teams managed to clean up the miscues from set one resulting in a closer, back-and-forth affair. Hamlet’s adjustments were slightly better and the Lady Red Rams pulled out a 25-22 win. The leading scorers in set two were Amieelynn Dobson with 5 consecutive points served, three of which were aces. Kaleigh Bowden served 4 serves with 2 aces. Annika Briggs recorded 3 digs and Kalynn McCormick assisted with 3 digs, 3 kills and 2 aces.
The third set was another nailbiter, but Hamlet won the hard-fought set with a 25-21 win to earn the match win as well. McDonald found her groove on the front line getting 3 kills and she also added 4 aces with an impressive jump serve. Quick served 2 aces and recorded 2 kills.
In addition to the leading scorers, Hamlet would not have been successful without the help of their teammates. Kaylee Dunn had 3 digs, Madysen Allen scored 3 aces, and Kaydence Cooke scored 1 dig on her first time on the court this season.
On Thursday, the Lady Red Rams traveled to East Hoke Middle. Hamlet struggled with serve-errors early resulting in a 16-25 defeat in set one.
Hamlet settled down and earned an intense 25-20 victory in set two. Quick scored 4 aces, a dig, and a kill in the win. Smith contributed 3 aces, and McCormick added 3 aces and 2 digs.
In the third set, the Lady Red Rams seemed to find their groove and began playing as one earning a 25-16 win and moving to 2-1 in the series. Leading scorers were Smith with 2 aces, McCormick with 2 aces and 2 digs, and McDonald with 2 kills.
Hamlet earned its fifth match win of the season with a hard-fought 25-20 set four victory. Quick had 5 aces and 1 kill, Smith contributed an ace, McDonald added 3 aces, 2 digs, and 1 kill, Kaleigh Bowden served up a pair of aces, Dobson recorded a dig and numerous assists with precise setting to her teammates, Briggs had a dig and a kill and McCormick earned 2 digs and a kill.
Hamlet (4-1) will host Carver on Monday and will then welcome Spring Hill on Thursday.
The Hamlet information and stats were provided by Melissa Briggs and Lauren Brewer.
“We are so proud of our girls this year so far. They come out to every practice and work hard. They communicate with one another, set the ball up for some strong plays. We always have room for improvements, but this team has shown true sportsmanship and what happens when you work together. We cannot wait to see what the remainder of the season holds for us,” coaches Melissa Briggs and Lauren Brewer commented.
Final Game Stats:
Mackenzie Quick- 3 digs, 7 aces
Lexi smith- 3 aces
Amieelynn Dobson- 3 digs, 7 aces
Riley Mcdonald- 4 digs, 6 kills, 8 aces
Annika Briggs- 3 digs
Kalynn McCormick- 3 digs, 3 kills, 3 aces
Kaleigh Bowden- 3 aces
Kaylee Dunn- 3 digs
Madysen Allen- 1 ace