By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
Some of the numbers were very unlike Jordan Howard’s usual efforts. Others were, and then some.
The Gardendale running back only gained 60 yards on seven carries, but four of those were for touchdowns as the Rockets demolished Carver 43-16 on Thursday night.
It was a milestone victory for Gardendale on two counts: it secured a spot in the Class 6A playoffs in two weeks’ time, and it was the 300th win in the history of the program.
Howard also scored on 87-yard pass from Hunter Crook. Along with another 19-yard reception, Howard only had the ball in his hands nine times, but scored on more than half of them. His scoring runs were for four yards (twice), six and nine, and all in the first half.
Crook also scored on a 33-yard run in the second quarter.
The Rockets had their way with the winless Rams, with 295 yards total offense in the first half compared to Carver’s 41 yards. The Rams also turned the ball over six times, five on fumbles.
Coach Chris Fancher played his second and third strings after halftime, which allowed Carver to put points on the board twice: a 7-yard pass to Darrian Steele from Tyler Sadler, and a 3-yard run by Montago Morris-Kennan.
The win is the fifth straight for Gardendale, and came on the heels of losing the first three region games. The Rockets (6-3, 4-3 region) will get the No. 3 seed for the playoffs even if Shades Valley wins Friday, thanks to the defeat of the Mounties last week. They will face the loser of Friday’s tilt between top-ranked Hoover and No. 9 Tuscaloosa County.