Despite coming up short to Spencer County in the first round of the playoffs, the Rockets still had a very solid season. This is a team that lost a lot of their upperclassmen over the past couple of seasons, which have left them with their core consisting of mainly freshmen and sophomores on varsity.
This was also the first year under a new young coach in Marcus Harris. The only thing that held this team back from being even better were the injuries.
This team was never at 100 percent until the very end, and that slightly faltered them in a way. It also didn’t help that these injuries were to two of the upperclassmen and captains of the team (Carter White and Chandler Hill). While this held the Rockets back from showcasing their true potential all season, it also gave the younger guys a chance to step up a bit and get a feel for what it’s like when those above them are gone.
A standout for the Rockets this season was running back Gianni Hunter. Hunter finished with 1,300-plus yards and 20 touchdowns in what could be considered his breakout season. Hunter is only a sophomore and the future looks really bright if he can continue this type of success for the Rockets for the next two years.
Right behind him is his younger brother, Javon Hunter, who stepped in as the starting quarterback for a few games when Hill went down with an injury against Fairdale. While his QB stint was short, the younger Hunter still showed some signs of promise as a good option quarterback in a run-heavy offense, finishing with just more than 200 yards throughout those games. He’s a freshman so there is still plenty of room for him to grow and polish his game.
On the defensive side, the young secondary was led by freshmen Advaion Dale and Issac Estrada. Dale led the team in interceptions with six, and Estrada was right behind him with four. Estrada also led the team in tackles with 98 total — five of them being tackles for losses.
Donnez Marshall, who is also a freshman, led the team in sacks with four this season, showing flashes of being a great pass rusher within the coming years.
Even though the Rockets will be losing two key seniors in White and Noe Silva, this young team’s potential is through the roof after this season. With this being White’s last year for the Rockets, next season will really be the chance for Bishop Bale and Ford to rise to occasion as well.
With the juniors that they have now stepping into those leadership positions for next season, the Rockets could be a force to be reckoned with next season. If they improved from last year, they can only learn from this year and do the same thing.