Featured Game: Rockdale vs. Giddings
Winning the State 3A D1 Title in 2017, 45-29 over Brock, was a magnificent tribute to the Rockdale Tiger program, Head Coach Jeff Miller and his staff. It was also much deserved. Miller was in his 12th year in Rockdale, and, despite winning records over several years, his teams seemed always to be playing second fiddle to county rival Cameron Yoe.
Three games into the 2017 season Tiger hopes didn’t look so good. They had lost two out of three: 24-42 to West and 7-34 to Lexington, a 3A D2 school. But then, their act began to come together, and they won 12 of their next 13 games, losing only to Franklin, 34-37, in Week 9. Noteworthy, too, in this advance, the Tigers defeated the Yoemen, 63-34.
Smoothing the title run were two offensive stars headed for College Bowl eligible institutions of higher education; one-year resident Torry Lockin (Kansas) and senior wide receiver Jaquayln Crawford (Oklahoma). Locklin returned to his grandfather’s home town in the summer of 2017, which had not had a state football championship for 40 years, not since his grandfather played for the Tigers.
In their sixteen 2017 games (13-3) the Tigers averaged 40.1 ppg on offense, while holding the other teams to a 23.4 ppg average. With Lockin and Crawford gone, defense will no doubt be the key to 2018 Tiger success, with defensive tackle Cayden McBride, linebacker Jackson Perry and kicker Luis Iruegas leading the way.
Giddings did not have its best football year in 2017, the last of 7 seasons for Head Coach Chris Jones, who has departed to Pecos. For the season the Buffaloes went 5-6, losing in bi-district to Fairfield, 41-2. Jones’ record as Giddings head coach was 51-28. His seven teams qualified for the playoffs five times.
New Buffalo Head Coach Wade Griffin returned to Central Texas after four years in Fort Worth (Brewer High) when offered the Giddings position last March. Griffin has had several stops in his 19-year head coaching career, with the most successful being his years in Elgin, 2011-2013, when his Wildcats posted a 26-10 three-year record. In 2013 the Wildcats were 12-1.
Fortunately for Griffin, Jones left him with 12 returning lettermen, including wide receiver Jaylon Joiner and running back/linebacker J’Darius Johnson. Alex Torre will quarterback an offense that thrives on offering a variety of sets and looks. Also, Torre will have some protection: Chris Sifuentes, 6-1 295, and Isaac Rimes, 6-2 360, will be his bulldozer breakers.
The 2018 opener will be in Giddings. With their new stadium still under construction, Rockdale will not play a home game until Oct. 5th, when Manor Tech comes to town. Lexington is a home game for the Tigers, but that game has been moved to Taylor, Thursday night. Sept. 13h. The Tigers have an OPEN date on Sept 21st
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