Tigers prophet as Elijah runs

Text: T T
Big Blue running back saves the day in comeback road victory
BY BILL MARTIN
Reporter Sports Editor

HILLSBORO—The Bible describes the prophet Elijah as a healer, great hero and a miracle worker.

Don’t know if what happened Friday night can be described as a miracle, but Elijah Brooks certainly resurrected a dormant Rockdale running attack.

Brooks broke free for 246 yards rushing and three touchdowns to help Big Blue snap a three-game losing skid with a 27-15 comeback victory at a windy Eagle Field.

The Tigers stand even at 3-3 heading into their District 18-3A opener at Taylor Friday.

A feisty Hillsboro squad sags to 1-5 after dropping four straight.

With a three-game losing streak hanging around their necks, it was important for the Tigers to get a win heading into district play—no matter what it took.

“ That’s the whole thing,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. “We had to have the win.”

As the second half got underway Friday night, a brisk northern wind blew into Eagle Stadium and that seemed to revive the Tigers after a lackluster start.


Elijah Brooks, here eluding Hillsboro’s Bryan Segura, ran wild for 246 yards in helping the Tigers get back on track. 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Elijah Brooks, here eluding Hillsboro’s Bryan Segura, ran wild for 246 yards in helping the Tigers get back on track. Reporter/Cliff Dungan “We came out with low emotion and kind of ho-hummed it out there,” Miller said. “But in the middle of the second quarter we really picked it up and played two and a half solid quarters.”

Enter Brooks, who may be the only nose guard in history to run for over 200 yards.

The 5-foot-9, 200-pound junior who anchors the defensive line, rumbled for 192 yards of his total and all three of his scores in the second half to rescue Rockdale from a 12-7 deficit.

The output was Brooks’ second 200-yard effort of the year, the first (211) came in his varsity debut in the season opener against Salado—the last time the Tigers have shown any kind of running prowess.

Rockdale has not had a runner gain more than 41 yards since the Salado game, five weeks ago.

Brooks’ total was the sixth best effort in RHS history, led by brother Daniel’s 324 yards against LaGrange in 2010.

“We felt like we were going to be able to throw, but they took that away from us and we had to adjust,” Miller said. “Once we did that, it took off from there.

“Elijah was able to hit a couple of holes and got out in the open field. We executed the running game a whole lot better.”

Returning after a one-game rest after injuring his knee, senior quarterback Ethan Brinkley was 3-for-12 for 65 yards.

Clayton Gibbs—last week’s starter at quarterback—accounted for 43 yards of that total on a connection with Brinkley that set up the Tigers’ first score on a Brinkley sneak right before halftime to close the gap to 9-7.

Brooks pushed Big Blue out in front for good on the opening drive of the second half on a three-yard dive to lift the score to 14-12.


Clockwise from bottom left, Hillsboro defender Prestand Harris just gets a hand on a pass intended for Devante Burgess. At top left, Patric Trejo just misses out on getting to Hillsboro quarterback Garrett Lane’s pass. Above, James Castilleja returned this kickoff back 32 yards to set the Tigers up in good field position. Top right, Rockdale quarterback Ethan Brinkley eludes Hillsboro linebacker Dexter Green while searching for a receiver. At right, lineman Pete Heintze is helped from the field by Tiger assistant Bart Gibbs and trainer Dustin Cedidla. 
Photography by Cliff Dungan Clockwise from bottom left, Hillsboro defender Prestand Harris just gets a hand on a pass intended for Devante Burgess. At top left, Patric Trejo just misses out on getting to Hillsboro quarterback Garrett Lane’s pass. Above, James Castilleja returned this kickoff back 32 yards to set the Tigers up in good field position. Top right, Rockdale quarterback Ethan Brinkley eludes Hillsboro linebacker Dexter Green while searching for a receiver. At right, lineman Pete Heintze is helped from the field by Tiger assistant Bart Gibbs and trainer Dustin Cedidla. Photography by Cliff Dungan

The score had been set up by a gutsy 43-yard kickoff return by Devante Burgess to set the ball up on the Hillsboro 27-yard line.

Brooks wore out the sidelines on his 25 carries, breaking outside for runs of 83, 28 and 45 yards.

The Tigers were unable to score after his 83-yard run from their own 2-yard line on the first play from scrimmage after he was dragged down at the 15.

Three penalties pushed the Tigers away from the goal line and they ended up turning the ball over on downs.

Rockdale was able to take advantage of his 28-yard breakout on its very next possession as B rooks fi nished t he j ob w ith a four-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 21-12 lead.

Hillsboro answered with Eduardo Ortiz’ third field goal of the evening, a 33 yarder into that stiff northern breeze after a 14-play, 6:41 drive to close the gap to 21-15.

Brooks put the game out of reach on the following Tiger possession, this time going the distance and outrunning the opposition from 45 yards out to make the final 27-15 with 4 minutes, 9 seconds remaining to be played.

While the Tigers came out flat, Hillsboro was able to show some success in the early going.

The Eagles finished with just 267 yards on offense (only 34 passing) and just 128 after the break.

“We got the win with key players still out and didn’t get anybody else hurt,” said Miller. “We need to get on a roll and regain some momentum. We haven’t really bounced back yet from the Cameron loss.”

on the run

Here are the five top rushing games in RHS history:

324 Daniel Brooks vs. LaGrange
2010 (33 carries, 4 TDs)
300 Daniel Brooks vs. Salado
2010 (20 carries, 4 TDS)
269 Daniel Brooks vs. Smithville
2010 (13 carries, 3 TDs)
266 Emanuel Mack vs. Manor
2004 (38 carries, 1 TD)
254 Jamal Williams vs. Caldwell
2003 (29)

18-3A Standings

District Season
WLWLPtsOpp
Navasota600027043
Madisonville42 0018593
Rockdale3300121190
Taylor 2400116145
Caldwell 0400124303
This week—Rockdale at Taylor; Navasota
at Madisonville; Caldwell idle.
Last week—Rockdale 27, Hillsboro 15;
LaVernia 27, Taylor 24; Navasota 57, Austin
McCallum 9; Madisonville 57, Huntington 6.

Rockdale Hillsboro
9 First downs 15
37-282 Rushes-yards 46-233
3-12-2 Passes 3-12-0
65 Passing yards 34
347 Total offense 267
3-40 Punts 3-30
1-0 Fumbles-lost 4-2
8-55 Penalties-yards 4-20
Score by quarters
Rockdale 07713—27
Hillsboro 9303—15
Scoring summary
First quarter
HILLS—Eduardo Ortiz 35 FG 8:06
Second quarter
HILLS—Doyle Hughes 63 run (pass failed)
5:17
ROCKDALE—Ethan Brinkley 1 run (Noe
Zelaya kick) :36
HILLS—Ortiz 23 FG :00
Third quarter
ROCKDALE—Elijah Brooks 3 run (Zelaya
kick) 10:28
Fourth quarter
ROCKDALE—Brooks 4 run (Zelaya kick)
11:56
HILLS—Ortiz 33 FG 5:31
ROCKDALE—Brooks 45 run (Zelaya kick)
4:09

The Leaders

RUSHING—ROCKDALE: Brooks 26-246 3TD, Coats 5-36, Hayes 4-18, Burgess 1-2, Brinkley 1-1 TD, Dansby 1-0. HILLS— Hughes 10-67 TD. PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 3-12-2, 65 yards. HILLS: Lane 3-13-0, 41 yards. RECEIVING— ROCKDALE: Gibbs 1-43, Trejo 1-17, Caffey 1-5. HILLS: Lewis 1-21. TACKLES—David 14, Coates 11, Hayes 10, Caffey 10, Trejo 8, Ehler 8.

TIGER SEASON RESULTS (3-3)

Rockdale 35, Salado 21
Rockdale 24, Burnet 17
Cameron 34, Rockdale 0
Liberty Hill 76, Rockdale 35
Smithville 27, Rockdale 0
Rockdale 27, Hillsboro 15
at Taylor
Madisonville
at Navasota
Open
Caldwell

TIGER SEASON LEADERS

Rushing—Brooks 82-567 6 TD, Ramey 31-103, Hayes 24-144 TD, Coats 5-36, Dansby 6-20, David 1-5, Burgess 2-6, Castilleja 2-3, Gibbs 8-(- 8), Brinkley 14-(-39) TD.

Passing—Brinkley 56-109-9, 869 yards, 6 TD; Gibbs 25-61-2, 337 yards, 3TD.

Receiving— Loth 19-277 2TD, Caffey 18-211 3TD, Gibbs 12-241 2TD, Burgess 7-90, Ramey 4-51, Baldavia 4-114 TD, Walton 4-74 TD, Ford 1-28, Trejo 1-17, Dean 1-16, Brooks 1-16, Gates 1-12, David 1-10, Hayes 1-7, Burton 3-24.

Tackles— Hayes 86, David 80. Coates 59, Caffey 49, Dansby 25,

2012-10-11 / Sports

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