Over the past ten years, the Rock-mart Yellow Jackets have had Coosa’s number.
That continued Friday as the Jackets traveled to Coosa to take on their former 7-AA region foe, but it took more than four quarters to decide this battle of young teams.
After holding Coosa to a field goal on their first possession of overtime, Rockmart quarterback Julian Welch scored a touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak to give the Jackets a 27-24 victory.
“It’s a hard game for anybody to lose,” said Rockmart coach Dan Duff, “and I’ve been on the other side.
“But our kids are young and they battled and found a way to win.”
While one side was over come with joy, the young Eagles were on the opposite end as they saw a 10-point fourth quarter lead slip away.
“That was just an example of two young teams fighting, scratching, and clawing to try to win a football game,” said Coosa coach Todd Wheeler. “That game was just one of those that we came up on the short end of the stick.”
Rockmart has now beaten Coosa nine straight times, with the Eagles last win coming in 2004.
Welch finished the game with two rushing touchdowns for the Jackets (1-1), and he also had a passing touchdown as well. Junior J.C. Lovelace caught one touchdown and then scored a defensive touchdown after intercepting a Coosa pass just before the half.
Coosa’s (1-1) Robbie Davis scored Coosa’s first touchdown of the game, and quarterback Evan Simms connected with Isaac Bradley on a 50-yard pass to score the Eagles second touchdown.
Coosa kicker Brayan Cornejo hit all three of the field goals of the night, including a 47-yard kick with 1:02 left in regulation to tie the game at 21-apiece.
Cornejo also hit a 37-yard field goal earlier in the fourth quarter, and then hit a 25-yarder in overtime.
“We were fighting in the fourth quarter, but I just think that Rockmart did a good job of executing their plays,” said Wheeler. “We just came up short, and that’s just the frustrating part of a young football team.”
Coosa took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Davis scored a 1-yard touchdown run.
Both teams were held scoreless in the first half until Lovelace intercepted a Coosa pass and took it back 43 yards with 2.6 seconds left before the half. Rockmart went for two and was successful to take an 8-7 lead at the break.
The Eagles quickly rebounded in on their first possession of the second half as it only took one play to regain the lead as Simms hit Bradley for a 50-yard touchdown pass. After the two-point conversion was good, the Eagles retook the lead 15-8.
Cornejo hit his first field goal of the game early in the fourth quarter to extend the Eagles lead to 18-8.
The Yellow Jackets went on to score two straight touchdowns to take a 21-18 lead with just over two minutes to go.
The Eagles benefit from three Rockmart 15-yard penalties on their final drive, and Cornejo nailed the kick to send the game to overtime.
“We had penalty after penalty, but we battled and found a way to win,” said Duff. “Defensively I thought we played great tonight and offensively we sputtered, but that’s going to happen with a young team.
“We are just going to have to continue to work and get better,” added Duff. “It was a battle and game we needed to win and to come in here and find a way to win is just a tribute to our kids, and I’m proud of them.”
The Yellow Jackets will look to build on this victory as they return to Rockmart on Friday to host Cartersville.
The Eagles will have to put this devastating loss quickly behind them as they host Haralson County, who is the third straight AAA team Coosa will face, on Friday.
“As a young football team we’ve got to learn how to practice all week, and we haven’t put a good week together the last two, three weeks,” said Wheeler. “That’s part of being young. We’ve got to learn to grow up and practice with all of our ability and all of our strength every single day we practice to make us a better football team.
“We just have to go back to work Monday and work harder,” added Wheeler. “That’s what it boils down to. We can go back and feel sorry for ourselves or we can take it and decide that we’re not going to lose another one like this.”