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Rockets fly past Chilton Co.

Two costly turnovers and a safety by Chilton County (0-4) in the fourth quarter turned a 28-21 deficit into a 43-21 defeat at the hands of Gardendale (2-2).

CCHS coach Brian Carter was impressed with the Tigers’ improvement, but he said they’re just making too many mistakes.

“They came out ready to play,” Carter said. “We got within a touchdown, but we threw two interceptions. You just can’t do that.”

After a failed onside kick by the Tigers to open the game, Gardendale drove the ball 52 yards to take the lead. Trey Hilliard scored on a 7-yard keeper. The extra point failed, leaving the score 6-0.

Later, Hilliard added to the lead on a 5-yard score. Conner Hayman added the extra point to make it 13-0.

Midway through the second quarter, Conner McCain hooked up with Hilliard on a spectacular 28-yard touchdown pass. After a botched snap on the extra point, Bobby Wilson passed to Cameron Groce for the two-point conversion.

CCHS, however, came back and scored on a three-play drive before halftime. Taylor Hughes completed passes of 16 and 40 yards to Montel Wilkes and Darnell Spear respectively. James Boswell then drug tacklers into the end zone on his 16-yard touchdown run. Patrick Norman added the extra point to make it 21-7 at the break.

Gardendale opened the second half just like the first half driving the ball on a 13-play drive, scoring on McCain’s pass to Bobby Williams to make it 28-7.

CCHS cut the lead to 28-14 on a 27-yard pass from Hughes to Spear.

The Tigers intercepted Rockets back-up quarterback Dallas Tidwell, and Hughes threw a 55-yard bomb to Spear making it a one-possession game heading to the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Gardendale fumbled the pooch kick, but the Tigers couldn’t recover. McCain came back in the game and gave his team much needed insurance on a 5-yard pass to Groce to make it 34-21.

After Gardendale’s Julius Shelton collected the first of two interceptions, Hilliard added his third score of the night on a 1-yard dive.

The final points came on a CCHS holding penalty in the end zone.

Spear led the Tigers with 122 receiving yards and two scores. Hughes finished 10-for-20 for 184 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. Cameron Minor also recovered a Gardendale fumble.

Gardendale amassed 485 yards of offense – 293 through the air and 192 on the ground. McCain completed 18 of 26 passes for 237 yards and rushed for 67 yards on 11 carries. Hilliard led the rushing attack with 118 yards on 21 carries and caught six passes for 69 yards.