Jackets better by leaps and bounds

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Denison's Keleon Vaughn jumps over Rock Hill's Haftom Foutz during the Yellow Jackets win in 7-5A (II) play.

PROSPER — If you’re going to break out of a slump, Denison couldn’t have planned it any better.

The Yellow Jackets had managed just 27 points in losing back-to-back games and went the fourth quarter of their district-opening loss without a first down in five possessions.

What Denison was able to do against Prosper Rock Hill was the complete opposite. Seven different Yellow Jackets reached the end zone as part of a record-setting night during a 66-14 victory over the Blue Hawks in District 7-5A (II) action at Children’s Health Stadium.

Denison (2-2, 1-1) finished with a school-record 632 yards (499 rushing; 133 passing) and tied for the third-most points it had ever scored in a game.

“Offense woke up. That was really good to see,” Denison head coach Chad Rogers said. “You get a lot of confidence from it. You get to have a lot of fun. You have something to show for the hard work you put in.”

The previous yardage mark was 628 in a 2003 win against Paris that included a school-record 613 rushing yards. The 66 points is the most by the program since setting the mark in a 75-37 win over McKinney in 2009. The only other games with at least 66 points are 71-9 against Denton in 1997 and a pair of 66-0 shutouts — against Gainesville in 1920 and Burkburnett in 1997.

It is also the fourth time in the past five years Denison has scored at least 60 points in a game.

Jadarian Price had 15 carries for 154 yards and three touchdowns, Caleb Heavner added 14 carries for a career-high 126 yards and was 8-of-10 passing for 95 yards and touchdowns to Trey Rhodes and Keleon Vaughn and Asa Osbourn finished with nine carries for 80 yards and a TD for the Jackets.

Brenner Cox threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns but completed only 8-of-24 passes and Aiden Houston had four catches for 74 yards and a TD for Rock Hill (0-4, 0-3).

But for the Jackets, who scored points on every possession except a kneeldown at the end of the first half, to set a record like that takes a complete effort. Late in the third quarter De’Teaurean Johnson had a 35-yard TD run as part of 66 yards on three carries and Treon Butler finished with nine carries for 55 yards and a three-yard score with 4:43 remaining.

Peyton Johnson completed all four throws for 38 yards with Jeffery Morrow (21 yards) and Stone Lemming (17) hauling in two apiece.

“There was a lot of fun happening on the sidelines,” Rogers said. “It was good to see after the last couple games. We needed it.”

Denison put the game out of reach with Heavner’s TD passes. The Jackets went 69 yards in 10 plays before Rhodes made a leaping grab over a defender in the left side of the end zone on the opening drive of the third quarter for his 18-yard score.

It was 52-14 when Vaughn hauled in a 29-yard touchdown grab with 4:20 remaining in the frame.

Denison took a 38-14 half-time lead with points on its first six possessions.

The Jackets used a pair of long runs in the second quarter to extend their advantage. Price scored on a 64-yard run through the left side on the first play of a drive less than a minute into the frame and Osbourn nearly matched him on a 52-yard TD run down the right sideline in the middle of the second for a 31-7 lead.

Price plunged in from a yard out with just under two minutes until the break. It was a 75-yard drive after Keebler Wagoner had a 99-yard kickoff return TD negated by a penalty.

Jakalen Fields came up with a fumble recovery at the Rock Hill 45-yard line on the opening possession and seven plays later Heavner reached the end zone on a seven-yard keeper.

A seven-yard punt set the Jackets up at the Rock Hill 38 on their next possession but three straight penalties forced them to settle for a 28-yard field goal from Reece Stange.

Price gave Denison a 17-0 advantage when he scored on a nine-yard run with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. Heavner kept the drive alive with a 17-yard scramble on fourth-and-six from the Blue Hawk 38.

Rock Hill went to the air to get on the board in the second quarter. Down 24-0 less than a minute into the frame, Cox had a stretch of five straight completions across two drives to give the Blue Hawks a pair of touchdowns.

He connected with Houston for a 16-yard TD with 7:40 left in the half and then found Keyoni Morrison from 15 yards out with 4:27 remaining in the quarter.

Rock Hill’s other five first-half drives collected only three first downs.

Denison racked up 292 yards on 30 carries through two quarters with Price at 115 yards on 11 carries, Heavner had 10 carries for 94 yards and Osbourn totaled 66 yards on six rushes.

District 7-5A (II)

Denison         66

Rock Hill        14