The Rockets sideline watches on as RM mounted a late fourth quarter comeback to defeat rival Rockville HS on Oct. 5.
The Rockets’ sideline watches on as RM mounted a late fourth quarter comeback to defeat rival Rockville HS on Oct. 5.
Emma Tyser

Rockets’ late surge stuns Rams in crosstown thriller

Led by senior quarterback Anthony Dixon Jr. and senior wide receiver Teshaun “Tae” Ryals-Wilson, the Rockets scored 14 points in a seven-minute stretch to beat their rival team, Rockville 39-35. 

The Rockets entered Thursday’s contest 2-3 and hungry for a win, with two-time defending state champions Quince Orchard to face RM next.  RM needed their playmakers to rise to the occasion, and Dixon stepped up with five passing touchdowns. 

Rockville started the game with an interesting play by calling for an onside kick. The Rockets recovered but couldn’t take advantage of the short field and turned the ball over on downs.

The first quarter highlighted a recurring weakness for the Rockets. Last week, the RM defensive line had trouble against the Seneca Valley rush game, and it worsened this week when Rockville burst through the gap for a 40-yard rushing touchdown. 

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The Rockets responded quickly. Junior Khalil Wilson took the ball to the house for a kickoff return to immediately tie the game at seven a piece, and get the visiting Rocket fans rocking. After a clutch interception by senior Ali’jha Forde, the Rockets marched down the field for a passing touchdown caught by Tae, but the two-point conversion was thwarted.

The Rockets’ struggling defensive line gave up a second Rockville rushing touchdown.  Without adjustments, the defensive line will have even more hurdles to overcome against Quince Orchard next week. The early defensive struggles continued when Rockville turned a tipped pass into a touchdown.

Dixon cut the lead by seven with another passing touchdown but threw an interception to Rockville’s senior Josh Burnette on the next series. Dixon showed a lot of character to not let the interception ruin his night, especially at his rival’s home field. On the next possession, he threw a touchdown pass to Ryals-Wilson. The Rockets’ two-point conversion attempt failed again. 

The Rockets nursed a four-point lead with 6:29 left in the third quarter and the energy seemed high. However, the Rams stormed back to score a rushing and passing touchdown apiece to pull ahead 35-25 with just over seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. 

RM found the will to rally. Dixon worked the ball down the field and completed a touchdown pass to Wilson, with an extra point from sophomore kicker Jarrett Roth.

With the game on the line, the Rockets lined up to take an onside kick. The ball bounced around the left hashmarks, and was dropped by a Rockville returner before finally being recovered by junior Miguel Hernandez. 

Dixon saw a victory in sight as he huddled the Rockets sixty yards from the endzone. He completed a huge 20-yard pickup to Ryals-Wilson and then the game-winning touchdown to junior Damarean Frazier. When the game and potentially the trajectory of the season was on the line, the Rockets’ offense shined. 

The Rockets (3-3) have three games left in the season and will host the Quince Orchard Cougars on Oct. 13 at 7:00 p.m.

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