NEW MARKET — Gardendale finished its season on a disappointing note, as they let a first-half lead slip away to host Buckhorn in a 31-21 loss.
Juan Jackson scored on runs of 1 and 22 yards, and Austin Hicks threw a 67-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option to D.J. Lewis midway through the first quarter, as the Rockets held a 21-14 lead at halftime.
But the Bucks dominated the second half, as Khari Blasingame tied the game with 7:28 left in the third quarter on a 1-yard run. It was his second touchdown of the night, coming after Buckhorn drew first blood on his 65-yard score a little more than two minutes after the opening kickoff.
Quarterback Dalen Morris put the Bucks up for good with 3:32 left in the third, as he found Mackenzie Graham on the other end of a 72-yard bomb.
Oleksandr Nikonchuk gave Buckhorn insurance points later in the quarter on a 32-yard field goal.
The Rockets struggled in the ground game, with just 140 yards on 37 attempts compared to the Bucks’ 228 yards on 39 plays. Quarterback Hunter Crook led with 58 yards, while Jackson added 46.
Gardendale had a slight advantage in the air with 190 yards; Crook was 18-for-24 for the night for 123 yards. Hicks caught seven passes for 55 yards.
Justin Filmore had 10 tackles for the Rockets.
Gardendale finishes the season with a 5-5 record under first-year coach Matt Plunkett.