Yoe looks to start winning streak in Battle of the Bell

Sometimes a win can go a long way for a football team. For the Cameron Yoemen, the hope is that last week’s 55-0 win over Jarrell can ignite a new flame that continues to burn for several more weeks.


Yoe coach Tommy Brashear on last week’s win: “Winning the Jarrell game was fun for me personally to see them having fun. They had been kind of down with the losing streak and we needed this. We needed it more mentally than anything to regain our confidence and positive attitude.”


That losing streak is now over, and this Friday night the Yoemen will look to string together wins as Rockdale travels to Cameron for the 63rd edition of the Battle of the Bell.


Rockdale (4-2/2-0) has had no problems in their first two 10-3A contests, coasting by both Little River Academy (49-14) and Troy (49-10). The Tigers did finish non-district at 2-2 with wins over Taylor (21-14) and Rogers (34-6), while suffering losses to West (42-26) and Lexington (38-7).


“Rockdale was kind of banged up earlier in the year,” said Brashear. “They had Crawford out for a while but they are getting healed up and are playing good football right now. They will be a tough challenge. If I was guessing, I would say this would be a close game. If we can eliminate the turnovers like we did last week, then I think we have a real good shot.”


Rockdale did finish 2016 with a 11-3 record and regional semifinal loss to Malakoff, 27-14. Cameron now holds a 42-20 all-time lead in the BOTB series, but since 2007 the record is all tied up at 5 games a piece, excluding Cameron’s state quarterfinal win in 2014. Rockdale coach Jeff Miller was hired in 2006.



Rockdale received a big gift in the offseason with the move in of quarterback Torry Locklin. The 6’2” senior was immediately plugged into the starting role, filling the void left by departing senior David Franklin.


“He looks like a real good player on film,” said Brashear on the team’s leading passer and rusher. “He is a big key to their offense. He is an accurate passer but a very good runner as well.”


Surrounding Locklin is 4 returning starters, including JaQuayln Crawford, the Oklahoma commit. Rockdale is averaging just over 30 points per ball game, which is down from last year’s total of 42. Cameron’s offense has also declined in production, dropping from over 42 points to just under 32.


“I really see a different game this year,” said Brashear. “I think both defenses are better at this


point than they were last year, and I don’t know if the offenses are quite as explosive. I don’t see a big score fest. But, if you would have asked me that last year, I would not have seen it. It felt like we were in the PAC-12 with all the scoring that was going on.



The strength of this Rockdale team appears to come on the defensive side of the ball, where 8 of 11 starters have returned.


The Tigers’ defensive unit gave up 25 points per ball game last season and that average has now dropped to 20 points a game.


“They run the 3-4 defense,” said Brashear. ‘They are similar to what we do. They stunt their linebackers a little more than we do. Noseguard Cayden McBride is a hoss at noseguard. Both defensive tackles and inside linebackers are stout players that are good for them. Their safety, Josh Springer, is very aggressive and is a leader back there.”


Keys to Victory

Last season, Cameron gave up a series and school record 80 points in the 80-54 loss. A large portion of Rockdale’s production came on explosive plays from explosive playmakers. That is a key point of emphasis heading into this year’s matchup.


“We have to prevent the big play,” said Brashear. “Crawford is a big play threat any time that he catches the ball and we have to prevent him from scoring the big ones. That goes for Locklin as well when he gets to running.”


Turnovers have been a key in all five of Cameron’s losses this season, and limiting those will also be an essential key to victory.


“On offense, we have to execute and take care of the ball,” Brashear said. “We have to play a good, clean game. If we do, we will have a chance.”