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Game 4 vs. Rockwall

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Sweet, Sweet Victory!
Royse City Downs Archrival Rockwall 32-20
By Bobby Summers
How sweet it is! Royse City 32 Rockwall 20!
Not even the most minute detail was left out of the drama. Nobody could have written a better beginning or a more appropriate ending to last Friday night’s victory over the Rockwall Yellowjackets. It was a sweet, sweet victory that included 46 years and two weeks of preparation. The Royse City Bulldogs forced the high school football world to stand at attention and welcome them into Class 4A competition.
The two had not met since September 14, 1962. Their previous 25 meetings found the rivalry series at 11 wins for Rockwall, 11 wins for Royse City and 3 ties. Of course this was one clash of a war that began 90 years ago. This battle belonged to the Royse City Bulldogs and tilted the victory scale in their direction.
It wasn’t easy. There were no turnovers. There were very few penalties. Both the Yellowjackets and the Bulldogs were prepared to go head to head. No, it was not easy, as Royse City had to meet on Rockwall’s turf and on the Yellowjacket’s homecoming. But most of all against a very good Rockwall Yellowjacket football team.
In many Yellowjacket fans minds, it may have seemed that this was a match-up that was custom made for the occasion. The much larger Rockwall with 5A numbers, hosting the much smaller Royse City with large 3A numbers. Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium was Rockwall real estate and the huge homecoming crowd would surely muffle out any cheers from the Bulldog faithful that might venture out to see a David and Goliath re-match.
Not so, bumble bee brethren! Of course the Rockwall crowd showed up. There was the traditional sea of orange from goal line to goal line on the home side. But what was not expected was the continuous flow of ‘Black and Gold’ that squeezed through the gate and made their way to watch the back of and support the Royse City Bulldogs. They came from near and far, and that was just the trip from their car to the football stadium.
Under the dimly lit stadium on Friday night at 7:30 pm on September 26, 2008 the two met eye to eye for the first time in nearly a half century. That was at the coin flip. From there on out it was helmet to helmet, toe to toe and a fight to the finish.
Royse City won that coin flip and chose to receive the opening kickoff. Respect for the Yellowjacket defense led to the Bulldogs first punt of the night on a fourth down and one foot at the Bulldog 39 yard line.
Rockwall would do the same and the Bulldogs second possesion began at their own 18 yard line with 4:16 to play in the first period. Royse City junior Ryan Fedric loosened up the middle with a 15 yard gallop. The run set up a 27 yard field goal by Kollin Padon and with 1:25 to play in the opening period, the Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead.
The two teams traded punts twice in the second period before Rockwall breached the Bulldog defensive line. The running of sophomore tailback Josh Broach move the Yellowjackets on a 69 yard scoring strike. It was senior Anthony Strange however that broke through on the one yard touchdown run. With 5:42 to play in the first half, the Rockwall Yellowjackets took a 7-3 lead after Grant Gunderson kicked the extra point.
On this night, the ’Angry Orange’ were not expecting the response that ensued. Bulldog Justin Rogers returned the kickoff to the Bulldog 33 yard line. Royse City quarterback watched the Yellowjackets fly by, however in the opposite direction,  on his way to a 37 yard gain. Morrison then clicked off 12 more to set up a first down and 10 at the Rockwall 10 yard line. Royse City then used junior tailback Ryan Fedric on three consecutive plays as a battering ram to punch in the final two yards for a Bulldog touchdown. Padon kicked the extra point and with 3:04 to play in the half, Royse City took a 10-7 lead.
The Rockwall homecoming crowd at that point, realized the Bulldogs were not going down without a fight. Yellowjacket quarterback Adam Dingwell, thought it was time to go to the air, so he guided his ‘Jackets’ with his arm to the Bulldog 27 yard line. Dingwell then found Jarron White on the 27 yard touchdown pass and the Yellowjacket crowd stood tall in Rockwall as Gunderson’s PAT was good for a 14-10 lead with 1:06 until intermission.
The Bulldogs met at halftime with their coaches and came to a gentleman’s agreement that they would finish this dispute in the final 24 minutes of the ballgame.
The Royse City defense was led by linebackers Oscar Hernandez, T.J. Hardy, Scotty Arterberry, Kollin Padon and the always hard hitting Cameron Nichols. With this angry mob after you, it is hard to imagine that Rockwall could have crossed midfield, much less score.
Rockwall’s defense was led by Aaron Arterburn, a 6’3” 230 pound linebacker with the speed of a wide receiver.
And it was all defense in the third period as both teams slugged it out at midfield. Both teams went three and out on two possessions each in the quarter. With :38 remaining in the third stanza, that was about to change.
Following a Rockwall punt the Bulldogs took possession on their own 27 yard line. Morrison caught fire again and ripped off a 12 yard gain. Frank Dave was sparked as well and he picked up six. Morrison then danced around in the backfield as his offensive line did what they do so well. They protected him. With a ton of time, Morrison left Yellowjackets grasping at thin air as he broke to the outside on a 39 yard gainer as the third quarter ended with Rockwall leading 14-10.
With 11:25 to play in the final period, Kollin Padon kicked his second field goal from 23 yards out. The Bulldogs trailed 14-13 as Royse City set Rockwall up for their eventual demise.
A tackle for a loss of one by Nichols, led to a sack for a loss of three by Hardy which set up the batted down pass by Hernandez that forced the Yellowjackets to punt.
The Bulldog offense went to work on the score and the clock as Morrison hit Justin Jacobs on a 12 pass completion to the Bulldog 34 yard line. The senior quarterback found Jacobs again for a 22 yard gain to the 44 yard line of Rockwall. A couple of misdirection plays and then the Bulldogs sent J.T. Thompson on the streak route. Morrison hit Thompson in stride and the senior wide out put the go ahead six on the board on a 39 yard touchdown pass. Padon kicked the extra point for a 19-14 lead with 7:14 to play in the hottest ticket in the past 50 years.
Bulldog linebackers and Bulldog offensive linemen were the key to the victory as they nailed the Yellowjackets coming and going.
Just one minute and fourteen seconds later the Bulldogs had the football back in their hands. Morrison fell in behind his faithful front wall of offensive linemen and they manhandled the Rockwall defense on a 75 yard drive to pay dirt. It was Morrison for 16, Fedric for 4, Fedric for 6, Fedric for 13 as Rockwall demanded a time out in the action with 4:03 to play in the game. They Yellowjackets should have taken more time off, because two plays later Morrison found Jacobs on a 19 yard touchdown pass. The two point PAT failed but the Bulldogs were building on a 25-14 lead with just 3:52 to play in the game.
The Royse City Bulldog fans could smell victory in the air, even though Rockwall’s two minute offense went to work. The Yellowjackets took just four plays to travel 66 yards. Dingwell hit Jarron White again in the end zone on a 12 yard touchdown pass with 2:50 to play in the game. The two point conversion failed. Rockwall then trailed the Bulldogs 25-20.
Everybody knew the onside kick was coming, especially Bulldog Kollin Padon. The senior kicker/punter/tight end/linebacker turned into a kick return artist as he smothered the football at the Rockwall 49 yard line.
Immediately the Bulldogs went to work on time consumption. Ryan Fedric got the first call and he muscled his way to a 15 yard gain. A heart stopping moment flashed before the Bulldogs and their fans as Royse City fumbled on the next play. A giant sigh of relief was heard throughout the Royse City stands as the Bulldogs came up with the loose ball on a four yard loss. Keeping the football on the ground and facing second and 14, the Bulldogs went to Fedric again for a tough 3 yard gain. On third and 11, Royse City handed off to the sure handed fullback for another 3 yards. Now, facing fourth and 8 on the Rockwall 32 yard line, the Yellowjackets jumped offsides on the hard count. Five yards was good on the penalty, but not enough for the first down. Fourth and three on the Rockwall 27 yard line. Less than one minute to play and the very good possibility that the Yellowjackets would get their hands on the football one last time in the tug of war contest. 
The Bulldog coaches called on the hard running Ryan Fedric again and this time Fedric not only picked up three for  the first down, he picked up five, then 10, then 20 and he dove into the end zone for the touchdown from 27 yards out. As Fedric crossed the plane of the goal line the football was knocked loose but the ruling was touchdown! With :43 to play in the game, Padon kicked the extra point and the hysterical crowd and players begin to celebrate with the 32-20 lead.
With no time outs remaining, Rockwall had but :21 on the clock to do something. It was a hapless endeavor for the Yellowjackets as time expired.
Victory is sweet, but one that is orange flavored is the sweetest of them all. Royse City 32 Rockwall 20!