Rockets fall on the road in season opener
The defensive performance for the Rockingham Middle football team was a highlight of last week’s jamboree held at Spring Hill Middle School. That defensive intensity carried over into its season opener against the Eagles of the Blenheim Middle School of Discovery.
Despite the efforts of the stingy Rocket defense, Rockingham came up just a little short in a 14-8 road loss played at Marlboro County High School.
The Rockets swarmed the backfield resulting in several lost-yardage plays and a fumble recovery by CJ Covington, but the offense struggled to get going. Chance Crowder, who was expected to carry much of the weight on offense unofficially rushed eight times for 40 yards and caught a pass from quarterback Gabe Clark for Rockingham’s only touchdown of the game.
The difference was a special teams score for Blenheim as both teams each team reach the end zone once on offense.
Rockingham will be in action again next Wednesday when it plays host to the McColl Red Devils. Kickoff set for 4 p.m.
Rockingham head football coach Zach Freeman contributed game information.
Ellerbe volleyball remains undefeated
A season ago, the Ellerbe Middle volleyball team was winless. This season, only two of the Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference’s ten teams are still undefeated after just two weeks of play, and Ellerbe is one of them.
The Lady Wildcats improved to 4-0 after an intense five-set victory (25-15, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-7) on the road against Anson Orange on Thursday.
It is the third time in just four matches that Ellerbe had to win a tie-breaker match in order to earn the win, but the Lady Wildcats have been clutch under pressure all season, and Thursday’s match was no exception.
Once again, Ellerbe’s serving seemed to be the difference. In the opening set, four aces from team captain Kenley Smith and another from Abby Robinson contributed to a 9-2 run. The Lady Wildcats rode the early lead to a 10-point set one victory.
A pair of aces from Lillian Hill helped the Lady Wildcats to an early set two lead, but both teams followed with multiple hitting errors. Anson was able to make the quicker adjustments and the home team was able to squeak out a 25-23 win to knot the series at 1 apiece.
Smith and Kaylee Connor bookended set three with a pair of runs. Smith started the period with six consecutive aces. Later, with her team trailing 19-18, Connor strung together six service points (two aces) to end the set with a 25-19 win and a 2-1 series lead.
Anson jumped out to an early lead in set four. Despite a valiant rally attempt, the Lady Wildcats came up short by two points forcing a fifth set.
Smith contributed two aces to a 4-0 run to start the fifth set, but the Lady Wildcats had to watch as the lead was quickly erased by Anson forcing Ellerbe coach Jonathan Chavez to call a timeout with the score tied 4-4. Chavez addressed silly mistakes, movement and communication at times during the match, but as he often does, he credited his team captain for motivating the team during the set five break.
“We have to keep our heads up,” Smith said to her team in the huddle. “We have to trust each other in order to win.”
With the game tied 5-5, Alisson González Santiago delivered several difficult to manage serves helping to push her team ahead 12-5. Then, with the Lady Wildcats ahead 13-7, Connor earned the final service points for the 15-7 win.
Ellerbe Middle (4-0) will return to Anson Middle on Monday to face the Anson Blue team.
Ellerbe head coach Jonathan Chavez contributed match information.
Rockingham volleyball wins again
Following Rockingham Middle’s volleyball win over West Hoke on Wednesday, first-year head coach Wandesha Jackson credited the improvements in serving as the primary reason for her team earning its first win of the season. However, serving was about all her team did during its Thursday match against East Hoke.
Rockingham won a seemingly balanced first set by seven points, but managed to earn 37 service points in sets two and three to cruise to its second straight 3-0 victory. The Lady Rockets won by set scores of 25-18, 25-9, and 25-4.
“The girls started off slow, but worked collectively to pick up their energy on the court and finish strong,” shared Jackson. “Serves were definitely the key tonight and we saw a lot of consistency.”
Rockingham (2-1) will next host the Lady Eagles of Carver Middle School on Monday.
Cordova falls on the road
Before the start of Cordova’s match at West Hoke, coach April Stewart expressed concerns with the height and obstructions around the ceiling of West Hoke’s gym. Her worry was that the low lighting, fixtures, A/C equipment and practice basketball goals were going to be an issue for her Lady Cavaliers who typically serve high.
In the opening set, Cordova struggled with the adjustment leading to seven service errors and three other errors during rallies caused by the ball striking the low hanging fixtures. West Hoke took advantage of the miscues taking set one 25-12.
The Lady Cavaliers started set two with a 7-0 run including four aces from Aliah West. West Hoke managed to cut its deficit to two, but Cordova went on a 6-2 run aided by a kill from West, an ace from Yazmin Gomez, a pair of aces from Lizzie Lunceford, and an impressive kill from Madison Hancock that she pushed over after the ball deflected off one of the low hanging obstructions.
The two traded points for a while before Cordova ended the set on a 4-2 run. Hancock racked up three service points (two aces) during the run and Lunceford closed it out with a kill for the 25-17 win.
Serving errors continued to stymie Cordova in set three leading to a 25-16 loss. Cordova attempted to rebound in a very competitive set four, but came up short 26-24.
The Lady Cavaliers (1-2) will return home Monday when they host East Hoke.