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High School Football: Rockwall Clinches Playoff Spot In Senior Night Shutout

Needing a win to make a sixth consecutive playoff appearance, the Rockwall Yellowjackets wrapped up their regular season home slate by throttling district foe Tyler Lee 66-0 Friday night.

Rockwall (6-2) won their fourth consecutive game to move to 4-1 in District 11-6A competition, and came out on a mission to clinch their postseason ticket.

The Yellowjackets jumped out ahead of Lee (2-6, 1-3 district) from the very beginning, as on the very first drive of the game, the Jackets moved 55 yards in four plays, capped off by a 14-yard touchdown run from Zach Henry. Lee would move into Rockwall territory on their first drive, but a nine-play drive ended with an incompletion on fourth down. The Jackets were even more efficient on their next drive, as quarterback Jacob Clark was 2-3 for 72 yards and a touchdown after he found Alex Orji from 61 yards out. Rockwall recovered an onside kick and Henry made the Raiders pay, as he rushed for another score from 47 yards out, and Lee faced a 21-0 deficit halfway into the quarter.

Lee’s next drive stalled out and they sent out the punt team, but the kick was blocked and Jaxson Smith-Njigba picked it up and returned it 42 yards to the end zone to make it 28-0. Two Raider possessions later, Clark found Smith-Njigba, the Dallas-area’s leading receiver in all classifications, and the 39-yard strike made it 35-0. The Raiders would punt again, and Rockwall would start chewing up the clock, taking eight plays before a Clark touchdown run from a yard out would end the first half scoring, Rockwall up 42-0.

The Raiders would start the second half much like they had all night, their drive leading to a punt before Clark found Smith-Njigba again, this time from 73 yards out, and the lead swelled to 49. The Jackets would add a field goal, and went into the fourth quarter up 52-0. The backups would get some reps in garbage time, with Khalil Catlett picking up a five-yard and three-yard touchdown run in the fourth to increase the lead to the final of 66-0.

The Jackets offense picked 561 total yards of offense, and their 158 rushing yards were two more than the Raiders had total in the game. Clark was 15-20 for 365 yards and 3 passing touchdowns, and he also had a rushing score. Henry was the leading rusher, as he tallied 104 yards on 10 carries with the two touchdowns. Smith-Njigba had seven grabs for 218 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding in the blocked punt return for a score.

Next week, both teams continue district play, as Rockwall faces a road test at Mesquite (5-2, 3-1) on Thursday night, while Lee hosts their own Senior Night festivities against district leader Longview (8-0, 5-0). Rockwall can clinch a home playoff game with a win next week, while Lee can stay in the hunt for a playoff spot if they can pull off the upset.

Benjamin, “BJ” Laudermilk, an aspiring play-by-play announcer, is a graduate of Rockwall High School and a current Radio and Television student at Texas A&M-Commerce. He began his sports broadcasting career as an on-air personality with his high school’s broadcasting team. He has been the walk-up announcer for his high school baseball team, the announcer and clock operator for middle school football teams, and most recently, was the “voice” of the Rockwall High School Orange Wave band.
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