Rockdale Tigers take home state championship!

Rockdale Tigers won the 3A Division 1 state championship against the Brock Eagles on Dec. 21, 2017. (Courtesy: Chris Whittaker)
Rockdale Tigers won the 3A Division 1 state championship against the Brock Eagles on Dec. 21, 2017. (Courtesy: Chris Whittaker)

ARLINGTON, Texas (KXAN) — Rockdale scored 45 straight points to overcome an early 21-0 deficit to beat Brock, 45-29, for the 3A-D1 state championship.

With the game tied at 21 late in the first half and the Eagles driving, Josh Springer forced and recovered a Brock fumble inside the Rockdale 10-yard-line. On the ensuing possession, Torry Locklin connected with Jaquayln Crawford for a 74-yard touchdown to go up 28-21 with 1:21 left in the half.

Rockdale never relinquished the lead.

“They never quit,” Rockdale head coach Jeff Miller said. “That’s a cliche, and you hear it often, but they never did. Especially tonight. My gosh, 21-0 before we woke up. And then to come back and score, I guess 45 unanswered.”

That was one of five touchdowns for Locklin, who was named the game’s offensive MVP while amassing 477 yards of total offense. He ran for 256 yards and three touchdowns, while also throwing for another 202 and one touchdown. He also pulled down a 19-yard touchdown from Crawford.

“We started off slow,” Locklin told the FSN broadcast. “We had butterflies. They jumped on us fast. We just had to calm down. This environment’s crazy, and we just had to settle into it and realize that we can play this game.”

Despite scoring three touchdowns, Crawford, who signed to play for Oklahoma on Wednesday, was named defensive MVP thanks to his five total tackles, and one forced fumble.

The Eagles scored on three of their first four possessions to go up 21-0 with 11:22 left in the second quarter.

But on the Tigers’ ensuing possession, Locklin finally put them on the board with a two-yard touchdown. After forcing a three-and-out, Rockdale cut it to a one-possession game on a 41-yard Crawford touchdown run.

They tied the game at 21-all on a 19-yard Crawford touchdown pass to Locklin.

In the third, Locklin scored the game’s only touchdown on a 41-yard run. They iced the game with 10 points in the fourth and a Jackson Perry interception. Perry went untouched into the endzone, but the score was negated by an unsportsmanlike penalty when Perry raised his hand in the air before crossing the goal line.

It was an emotional finish to the game. Gunner Miller, the son of the head coach, came in at quarterback to take a knee on the final snap of the game. When he was 15-years-old, Miller was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma and forced to give up football. With the cancer in remission, Miller was able to play one final snap for his dad to help lock up a state title.

“That was cool, it was cool,” an emotional Jeff Miller told FSN. “[I’m] glad he got to take a snap in a varsity football game. Pretty cool. But the guys, my God, what a great day for everybody associated with Rockdale. What a great day.”

With the championship, that means the “Victory V” sign at the stadium in Rockdale will stay lit for another year. The lighted sign was started to honor Matt Lehmkuhl, a player’s father who died of a heart attack.

The game was such a big deal for the town of 6,000 that city employees were given the day off to make it to the game.

Rockdale Tigers won the 3A Division 1 state championship against the Brock Eagles on Dec. 21, 2017. (Courtesy: Chris Whittaker)
Rockdale Tigers won the 3A Division 1 state championship against the Brock Eagles on Dec. 21, 2017. (Courtesy: Chris Whittaker)

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