Rockets are Hammer Bowl Champions


Photo By: Alexis Apolinar

The Judson Rockets entered the Hammer Bowl on the visitor’s side of Rutledge Stadium, with a 9-2 lead in the overall rivalry against the (3-3) Wagner Thunderbirds, who are coming off a 37-0 loss to the Smithson Valley Rangers.

In the first quarter, the Rockets held back no steam as they clocked in first with a 25 yard touchdown from Julon Williams to Kevin Luster. When they forced a Wagner punt, the snap went into the back of the end zone for a safety.

On the kick return, Judson fumbled the ball at their own 48 yard line and Wagner recovered, but Wagner punted later. On the following drive, what seemed like redemption for the Rockets after a 51 yard reception by Keith Jefferson, failed due to another fumble on the Wagner 10 yard line.

“[In times of mistakes], I tell the guys to forget about it, play fast, get to the ball and let’s try to make good plays,” offensive coordinator Rodney Williams said.

And so they did.

In the second quarter, after Judson stuffed Wagner following their fumble recovery, quarterback, Williams, exposes Wagner’s weak middle field coverage with a 38 yard pass to Melvin Thompson. After another scoreless drive by Wagner, the Rockets responded with an acrobatic 20 yard touchdown reception over a defender’s head by Jefferson. In a last second effort to score before the half, the Rockets recovered a fumble with four seconds left in field goal range, but failed the attempt.

With a 23-0 lead in the first half, they only had one way to continue the consistency.

”For one, we have to keep the ball off the ground,” Williams said. ”Two fumbles on the ground is unacceptable. That’s what we stress to these guys.”

In the third quarter, Wagner put points on the board with a two yard touchdown pass from quarterback Arthur Anderson to Derrell Brady. The Rockets would then drive down the field with a 17 yard touchdown reception by Luster.

The Rocket defense set up another scoring drive for the offense with a fumble recovery at the Wagner 28 yard line, capped off by a 28 yard touchdown reception by Jeremiah Frias as the ball fell into his hands in multiple coverage.

In the next Wagner drive, Neurri Samuel, broke free for major yards, but was hawked down by cornerback Chris Mills, as the defense would force a 25 yard field goal following three downs. To complement the defensive effort, Sincere McCormick broke open for a 38 yard touchdown rush to make the game 44-9, Rockets.

In the fourth quarter, on Judson’s next offensive possession, Julon Williams threw a pick to linebacker Sedryk Hernandez, but the Rocket’s defense forced a turnover on downs on their own 13 yard line as Wagner attempted to score. Jushua West capped off a long drive with a 8 yard touchdown rush. Wagner would finish the game off of a 13 yard touchdown from Jordan Burleson to Anthony Hughes to end the game, Judson 51, Wagner 16.

When asked about his team’s overall performance, head coach Sean McAullife said, “[It went] great. We’re Hammer Bowl champions!”

The Rockets will take on skilled quarterback Frank Harris and the (5-2) Clemens Buffaloes at D.W. Rutledge Stadium Friday night, as they come off a 45-21 loss to Smithson Valley.