Gardendale lost its second game of the season on Thursday night at Lamar Field in Oxford.
The eighth-ranked Rockets (7-2, 4-2 Class 6A, Region 6) kept it close for three-plus quarters, but eventually fell to No. 7 Oxford (8-1, 5-1 Class 6A, Region 6) by a final of 31-14. This brings the region-portion of Gardendale’s schedule to an end and locks the Rockets in as a 3-seed in the 6A playoff bracket where they stand opposite Region 5 runner-up Minor.
Gardendale will visit Minor Stadium on Nov. 8 following its regular-season finale against Mountain Brook next Friday.
On Thursday night, the Rockets were driving early in the fourth quarter, trying to cut into a 17-14 deficit when things went wrong. Junior quarterback Will “Goose” Crowder tossed a 74-yard pick-6 to linebacker Trequon Fegans that extended his team’s lead to 24-14 with 9:12 remaining. According to reports, a tough call went against the Rockets one play before the costly interception. Gardendale receiver Stephen Lewis was flagged for an offensive facemask deep inside Yellow Jackets territory on a call that initially looked like a defensive pass interference.
The penalty proved costly, as Oxford went on to score the next 14 points of the game and pulled out of reach.
After going to the half even at 14-all, Oxford ended the game on a 17-0 run.
For the Yellow Jackets, Jonovan Carlisle ran for 237 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. His one score covered 74 yards with just over a minute remaining in the contest.
For Gardendale, L.T. Sanders caught two passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, Bailey Parsons added six receptions for 48 yards and Kendale Allen pulled down four receptions for 52 yards. Crowder threw for a touchdown and ran in another from a yard out.