ROCKMART — The Rockmart Yellow Jackets’ perfect season hit a wall in the form of Brooks County on Friday night, and their year came to a sudden close with a 41-3 loss at home in the second round of the Class AA state playoffs.
Rockmart finished its season 11-1 against a Trojans offense that put 562 yards of offense and six touchdowns on a Jackets defense that couldn’t stop the Brooks running game.
“We got outplayed, that’s the bottom line,” Rockmart head coach Biff Parson said following Friday night’s loss. “They came in and played very well. Hat’s off to them.”
The Jackets were without starting quarterback Javin Whatley, who was injured in the second quarter of Rockmart’s first round win over Temple last week. The Region 7-AA Player of the Year had been a prominent part of the Jackets’ offense this season.
Paine Culver took over behind center and went 9-of-25 passing for 131 yards, but threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown at the end of the first half.
Brooks County’s opening drive ended with a blocked punt by Dedric Gibson, which set up a short field goal off the boot of Rockmart’s Cooper Yanzetich to give the Jackets the early 3-0 lead.
But the Trojans’ offense would take over from there, as they marched back down the field on the ensuing drive that was capped off by a Ni’tavion Burrus pass to Willie Brown for a 26-yard score.
Brooks County (8-4) scored their next three touchdowns thanks to sophomore running back Omari Arnold, who put in a touchdown at the start of the second quarter from 5 yards out, then ran another for a 50-yard score midway just a few minutes later, and ended the half with a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown as time expired. The point after kick missed the mark to send both teams to the locker room.
Rockmart was able to pick off Burrus once on the night, but the defense couldn’t stop the Trojans after they went into the locker room down 34-3 at halftime.
The Trojans gave James Huewitt the ball in the second half to run and he added an 18-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to the scoreboard.
Burrus finished his night under center for the Trojans going 10-of-16 passing with a touchdown and an interception and 180 yards.
He gave up a pick to Juke Boozer in the first quarter, who returned it to the 25, where the Jackets got it to a fourth and goal and came away with no points when Yanzetich’s field goal attempt went wide right.
Brooks County will take on Metter next week in the Class AA quarterfinals after the Tigers defeated Union County 14-7 on Friday night.