Austin Day (6) picks up yards in the Rockets win over Callaway Friday night.
Austin Day (6) picks up yards in the Rockets win over Callaway Friday night.
The Neshoba Central Rockets will be hosting their first playoff game since 1993 this Friday night when they collide with the Grenada Chargers for the second time this year.

Neshoba Central closed out its region season last Friday night with an overwhelming 49-6 victory over Callaway. The Region 2-5A champion Rockets enter this week with an 8-3 record.

Grenada comes in with a 7-4 record. The two teams played in the season opener at Neshoba Central with the Chargers taking a 30-20 victory. Grenada closed out its regular season with a 45-28 win over Center Hill and enters the game as the No. 4 team out of Region 1-5A. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

“They play in a tough region and we cannot overlook them in anyway because they are the No. 4 team,” Coach Patrick Schoolar said. “We are a better team than we were the first time we played them and they are probably a better team, too.

“We set some big goals at the beginning of the year. We wanted to make it back to the playoffs and win the region championship. We have done that. Now we want to win this playoff game and go to the next round.”

The Rockets dominated and frustrated the Chargers during the first half. The running clock started sometime in the second quarter.

The Rockets finished with 345 total yards and played their reserve players for the entire second half. Neshoba Central had 250 rushing yards on 31 carries and completed 6-of-10 passes for 95 yards.

Callaway had 20 rushing yards and 84 passing yards, giving them 104 total yards.

The Chargers took the opening kickoff. The Neshoba Central defense forced them to punt on fourth down and Jarquez Hunter returned it for a touchdown. A.J. Watkins passed to Tyler Mathis for the two point conversion and the Rockets led 8-0.

Again the Rocket defense forced the Chargers to punt in fourth down. The Rockets went on an 11-play scoring drive that covered 80 yards. Hunter scored on a 15-yard run. Hunter Bavetta kicked the extra point and the Rockets led 15-0.

The Rockets scored again the second quarter when Mathis hit pay dirt on a one-yard run, capping a five-play, 37-yard drive. The try for two failed and the Rockets led 21-0 with 10:43 left in the second quarter.

The Rockets forced another punt. A good return by Hunter followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Chargers put Neshoba Central on the Callaway 30-yard line. Two plays later, Austin Day scored on a five-yard run. Bavetta kicked the extra point and the Rockets led 28-0.

Neshoba Central kicked off. On first down, Hunter intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for the touchdown. Bavetta kicked the extra point and Neshoba Central led 35-0 with 7:33 left in the second quarter.

At that point, the game was played under a running clock for the rest of the half and through the second half.

Callaway scored its points on the following kickoff as the Chargers returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. The extra point try failed and Neshoba Central led 35-6.

Neshoba Central took the ensuing kickoff and drove it 40 yards in four plays for the final touchdown of the half. Mathis scored on a three-yard run. Bavetta kicked the extra point and the Rockets led 42-6 at the half

Neshoba Central fielded its reserves for the entire second half. Grayson Fulton threw a 15-yard TD pass to Adam Parrett for the Rockets’ final touchdown. The kick was good.

Mathis rushed for 107 yards on 10 carries and caught two passes for eight yards, giving 115 total yards. Hunter finished with 154 all-purpose yard including 40 rushing markers on four carries.

Jaharon Griffin was the leading tackler with six. Gyd Easily, Ray Gibson and Kelbee Holmes all had five tackles while Jason Bell had four.

“Some of our younger guys got to play a lot and I was glad to see that,” Schoolar said. “They work hard in practice and they got a chance to get out there and play during a varsity game,”