Gardendale, AL – The Hueytown Gophers Gophers (7-3) wrapped up the regular season with a 35-21 road victory over the Gardendale Rockets (7-3) Thursday night at Driver Stadium.
Hueytown lit up the scoreboard with 12 ticks remaining in the first quarter as Earl Woods connected with Ja’khael Rowser for their first score of the evening to give the Gophers an early 7-0 advantage.
Rowser crossed the goal line again on the visitors’ first possession of the second period, capping a 79 yard Golden Gophers drive with a rushing score from just inside the Rocket 15 yard line.
Gardendale’s Carter Jenkins put the Rockets on the board late in the second quarter, hauling in a six yard Tyler Nelson pass to trim the Hueytown lead to 14-7 at the break.
Midway through the third frame, Hueytown’s Kameron Kynard pounced on a Rocket fumble handing the ball back to the Gopher offense. Six plays later, Rowser broke free from 15 yards out, bolting across the goal line for his third score of the night.
Down 21-7, the Rockets put together a 75 yard drive punctuated by a Nelson touchdown run from the Gopher 13 yard line. Woods answered back on Hueytown’s next possession, calling his own number and bolting 49 yards for a score, extending the Golden Gopher lead to 27-14.
Early in the fourth, Rockets receiver Justin Nelson pulled down a 37 yard touchdown toss to cut the deficit to six points with just under a quarter remaining in the contest.
Hueytown answered back with a drive covering 80 yards, capped by a Woods scoring dive from the Gardendale one yard line. Leading 35-21, a late Kynard interception sealed the victory for Greg Patterson’s Golden Gophers.
Rockets signal caller Tyler Nelson completed 10-of-21 passes for 142 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception while rushing for 17 yards and a score. Justin Nelson caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, Jonathan Harris hauled in five receptions for 74 yard and a touchdown while carrying the ball 12 times for 64 yards.
Earl Woods finished the night with two scores on the ground, rushing for 195 yards. The standout senior completed 8-of-16 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown toss. Rouser rolled up 142 yards and two scores on the ground and added three receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown through the air.
The Golden Gophers, who are riding a six game winning streak, will host Benjamin Russell (8-2), in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs Friday night in West Jefferson County.
The Region 5 Champion Rockets welcome the Oxford Yellow Jackets to Driver Station to kickoff the postseason.