By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
IRONDALE — Sophomore running back De’Qua Houston had a big night for Gardendale, scoring three straight touchdowns in the first half as the Rockets ran past Huffman 43-21 Friday night at Lawson Field near Irondale.
Late in the first quarter, Houston broke a 7-7 tie on a 5-yard touchdown run. He repeated that feat about four minutes later, then scored from 33 yards out with 54 seconds left before halftime.
Houston led the Gardendale ground game with a career-best 175 yards on 25 carries — exactly seven yards per rush.
Quarterback Hunter Crook put Gardendale on the scoreboard first with a 6-yard pass to Gabe Hill. Huffman answered three minutes later when Jaylan King intercepted a Crook pass and ran back 50 yards for the score.
Kicker Sam Peacock was a perfect 5-for-5 on extra points, and also kicked field goals of 27 and 23 yards.
The Rockets scored twice on defense — a 28-yard pick-six by Jay Washington, and a safety late in the game when D.J. Lewis tackled the Huffman punter in the end zone after a bad snap.
The Vikings also scored on a 7-yard pass from Demetrius Davis to Jamarcus McCoy, and on a 90-yard kickoff return by King.
Crook finished the night with 16 completions and two interceptions in 27 attempts for 144 yards. Austin Hicks also threw a halfback-option pass for 43 yards. Juan Jackson had two pass receptions for 57 yards, while Hicks caught six for 34 yards.
McCoy led all receivers with five catches for 91 yards for Huffman (1-5, 1-4 region).
The Rocket defense held the Vikings to just 25 yards rushing for the game. Gabe Hill led the way with eight tackles.
Gardendale (4-2, 3-1 region) faces its second ranked opponent of the season next week, as they host No. 9 Shades Valley in The North Jefferson News Big Game.