Gardendale, AL — The 7A James Clemens Jets held off a valiant second-half comeback by the 6A Gardendale Rockets Friday night at Driver Stadium, sealing a closely contested contest with a 26-21 victory.
The Jets dominated the first half, going up 13-0 at the break. The Rockets, however, mounted a strong comeback in the second half, outscoring the Jets 21-13. Despite their efforts, the Rockets fell short of catching up.
Gardendale quarterback Mac Beason, standing tall at 6’2 and weighing 185 pounds, debuted as the Rockets’ starting quarterback. The junior completed 9-of-16 passes and secured a pair of touchdowns, showcasing his potential to lead the Rockets’ offensive in 2023.
Rockets running back Boogie Harris shined in the backfield rolling up 185 yards and one touchdown. Jackson Firestone lead the Gardendale defense with nine stops and a pair of tackles for loss and kicker Ryan McPherson tuned in a perfect game, splitting the uprights on 3-of-3 extra points.
This win held significance for the Jets, as it avenged their home loss to the Rockets by a score of 41-34 in 2022. The Jets’ resilience and strategy were key factors in turning the tables this time around.
The Rockets notched their first opening-game loss since 2017, marking their first loss in a season opener in the Coach Chad Eads era. Nevertheless, their determination and effort throughout the game were evident.
Looking ahead, the Rockets will be heading to Suwanee, Georgia, Friday night to take on the North Gwinnett Bulldogs. James Clemons will welcome the 6A Mountain Brook Spartans (0-1) to Madison in week 1.
The game between the Jets and the Rockets exemplified the essence of high school football, with its ups and downs, fans are eager to see how both teams progress in the coming weeks.