By ZACH HARMUTH
Page coach Charles Rathbone, loudly and without excuse, said his team could have played better.
The Patriots (1-2) threw two interceptions in the end zone en route to a 21-14 loss against Forrest (4-0) at home Friday.
“Ultimately we had a very bad night offensively,” Rathbone said. “We took a step back; we weren’t making our reads, we couldn’t hit the open guy, we couldn’t take the 5-yard outs and instead tried to throw it deep every time.”
Page, after studying the Rockets’ wing-T offense all week, at times looked without answers on defense. In the first half, it gave up a 51-yard touchdown run and a 73-yard run that led to a touchdown.
“We have played wing-T teams before, and stopped them,” running back/linebacker Bubba Johnson said. “Today, they were just a little shifty and had a bigger line.”
Johnson brought a rare bright spot to Page’s night. He had 23 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown run with 7:26 left in the second quarter to give the game its only tie at 7.
Page gave up 300 yards rushing, with Jacob Jones leading the Rockets with 108 yards on 8 carries.
It was Jones’ 73-yard dash halfway through the second quarter that set up an 8-yard Wes McCoy touchdown run to give the Rockets a 14-7 lead halfway through the second quarter.
Every time Page looked like it would get back in the game, it missed an opportunity.
Trailing 14-7 five minutes before half, the Patriots put together a drive that took them to the Forrest 9-yard line. But a throw by quarterback Jacob Van Landingham with 3:54 to play in the first half was intercepted in the middle of the end zone.
Patriots missed another opportunity in a big way in the fourth quarter.
A successful, balanced drive, put the Patriots in a goal-to-go situation with 6:34 left in the game.
But then Van Landingham, who finished 11 of 28 for 242 yards, a TD and 2 INTs, threw deep left and was picked, again, in the end zone.
Forrest responded with a quick scoring drive for a 21-7 advantage.
Page, too little too late, scored on a 63-yard pass to Andrew Metkler with less than two minutes left, bringing it to 21-14, but did not recover the ensuing onside kick.
Forrest, which finished with 355 total yards to 362 for Page, ran out the clock.