Rockingham’s Isaiah Johnson sheds several tacklers for a gain in the Cougars Mid-State 3A Conference win over McMichael on Friday night.

Rockingham 37

McMichael 7

Cougar Pride Stadium


Why Rockingham won the game

Balanced rushing and passing attacks on offense, a stingy defense, and strong special teams play put McMichael in a deep hole early.

Why McMichael lost

With the exception of the lone scoring drive in the second half, the Phoenix could not move the ball effectively for the majority of the night. Poor field position cost them dearly.


Rockingham — Quarterback Mason Denny was 10 of 13 for 138 yards and threw three touchdowns.

Rockingham — Wide receiver Dylan Apple caught all three of Denny’s TD passes on sideline routes. He finished the night with six receptions for 92 yards.

The big play

Rockingham had McMichael pinned deep in their own territory in a punting situation near the goal line. Because of a bad snap, the punter wasn’t able to get the ball off and the Cougars took over with a first and goal at the 5 yard line. Christian Panuco punched it in on the next play to give RCHS a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Three things we learned

1. Field position played a big role in Rockingham’s win. They pinned McMichael deep twice in the first half which led to a pair of touchdowns because of the short field.

2. McMichael only started just a handful of seniors and juniors. The rest were freshmen and sophomores. Unfortunately, that likely means more growing pains are sure to come for the Phoenix for the remainder of the season.

3. Despite losing four in a row prior to the bye week, Rockingham is right back in the Mid-State 3A Conference hunt at 1-1.

What they’re saying

“Field position plays a major role in every game. You know last week we were behind the eight ball on the field position game and it paid off for them (Western Alamance) and this week it paid off for us and we were able to take advantage of it. We are happy with the way that our defense played and we are hoping that things will start clicking a little more on offense next week.”

— Brad Baker, Cougars head coach

“Early on we shot ourselves in the foot a few times. We had an unsportsmanlike conduct and another penalty that were drive killers. It back us up with poor field position and then we had the special teams miscue on the punt. There was a bad snap, people didn’t block and we gave them the ball on the 4 yard line. It’s tough when you give them things like that.”

— Daniel Bradford, McMichael head coach

“They had a lot of press coverage, but we were able to free up our receivers and they just made the plays that we needed to make them. ... For sure, this really helps. The losing streak was tough, but now everybody knows what it is like to win again, so we’ve just got to keep it up for the rest of the season.”

— Mason Denny, Rockingham quarterback


McMichael: 0-2, 0-6.

Rockingham: 1-1, 2-5.

Up next

Cougars: versus Northeast Guilford, 7:30 p.m. Friday.

McMichael: versus Morehead, 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Scoring summary

Rockingham 14 13 0 6 — 33

Morehead 0 0 0 7 — 7

Scoring Log

R — Mason Denny throws 23 yard touchdown pass to Dylan Apple for a touchdown. P.A.T. no good. 6-0, 1st, 8:46

R — Denny throws 25 yard pass to Apple for a touchdown. 2-point conversion pass from Denny to Kelvin Johnson. 14-0, 1st, 3:31

R — Christian Panuco 5 yard run for a touchdown. P.A.T. Juan Gonzalez. 21-0, 2nd, 8:49

R — Denny throws 26 yard pass to Apple for a touchdown. P.A.T. no good. 27-0, 2nd, 3:53

M — Matthew Wright throws 13 yard touchdown pass to Brady Elrod. P.A.T. Abraham Medina. 27-7, 4th, 11:13

R — Isaiah Johnson runs for 24 yard touchdown. P.A.T. no good, 4th, 33-7, 6:02

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Contact Jim Sands at 336-314-1058 or on Twitter @jimsandsRCN.

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