Emerald Coast Stingrays shutout Rocky Bayou

Tina Harbuck | The Walton Sun

Kyle Armer scored three touchdowns to lead the Emerald Coast Stingrays in a 40-0 win over the visiting Rocky Bayou Knights in middle school football action Tuesday evening in Santa Rosa Beach.

Armer carried the ball 11 times for 89 yards and three TDs to set the pace for the Stingrays.

The shutout was big for the Stingrays after suffering a 34-6 loss last week to the Lewis Falcons.

“The big difference (this week) was just taking more reps in practice,” said Stingray Coach Matthew Brooks. “We got the guys out there and started tackling more. We just got them doing a lot more drills.”

And the hard work paid off Tuesday evening.

The Stingrays dominated on both sides of the ball rolling up 339 yards total offense and then holding the Knights scoreless.

“It was our offensive line that was the biggest difference that I saw,” Brooks said. “They were taking guys off the ball; they were getting that push up front.”

As for the defense, “you’re always happy with a shutout,” Brooks said.

“My hat is off to the Knights for coming out here and battling the whole way. It was a great effort out of those guys,” Brooks added.

To start, Rocky Bayou had the ball first with quarterback Kody Rothchild picking up 15 yards on a carry for a first down on the second play. The Stingrays stopped them and took over on their own 19 yard line.

On the first play, Armer picked up 14 yards and a first, and then Beau Adams rushed for 42 yards. Armer had another big gain of 17 yards before he capped off the drive with a 2-yard run up the middle for the score. Adams ran in the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.

On Rocky’s second possession they picked up another first down on a 16-yard pass play from Rothchild to Ryan Duncan. But that was the last first down the Knights would make.

Stingrays took over and put together a six-play drive with Armer scoring his second TD of the night on a 7-yard run around the left end. Armer also ran in the 2-point conversion for a 16-0 game.

Emerald Coast scored once more before the half. Quarterback Dalton Romano connected with Barrett Waldrop for a catch-and-run 73-yarder for the score. Romano went to Waldrop again for the 2-point conversion and a 24-0 lead at the break.

At the start of the third quarter, the Stingrays put together a 12-play drive for the score. Romano hit Logan Stewart for a gain of 9 yards, and then he went to Adams for a pickup of 28. Armer finally took it in on a 7-yard run. Romano scored the 2-point conversion for a 32-0 ball game.

The Stingrays booted an onside kick with Anderson Enslen getting the recovery for Emerald Coast. Four plays later, the Stingrays were in the end zone again. Romano rushed for 21 yards and Armer picked up 6. The Stingrays finally scored on a 5-yard run up the middle. Romano carried it in for the 2-point conversion.

Rocky had the ball one more time but failed to gain any ground.

For the game, Emerald Coast rushed for 223 yards with Armer leading the effort with 89 yards. Adams rushed five times for 61 yards and Romano four for 45 yards. Romano also completed four of four attempts for 116 yards. Waldrop had a catch for a 73 yard touchdown. Stewart had two catches for 15 yards and Adams one for 28 yards.

Up next, Emerald Coast takes on Walton Middle at 6 p.m., Sept. 6 at Walton High School.