The second week of the regular season offers a chance for a pair of old friends to reacquaint themselves as Rowlett hosts Rockwall in the Lake Ray Hubbard Rivalry at 7 p.m. Friday at Homer B. Johnson Stadium.
Both teams are looking to rebound from setbacks a week ago. The Eagles were unable to get their offense untracked in a 31-7 loss to Prosper. Scoring was not a problem for the Yellow Jackets, but it was not quite enough in a 66-59 setback to three-time reigning Class 5A state champion Highland Park.
These teams first met in 1996 and have played nearly every season since, with the exceptions being in 2004-2005 and last season, when the game was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Rowlett features a new look on offense with several new starters and it is going to take some time to develop some cohesiveness. Alex Routt was 15-of-38 for 147 yards passing and rushed 10 times for 30 yards.
As expected, Antonio Hull was the primary target, as he had eight catches for 100 yards, while Jeremiah Tarwo added three receptions.
D’Wonyae Newton had eight carries for 31 yards and look for the Eagles to try to get the ground game going this week.
The Rowlett defense provided the highlight on Friday when Taiwan Edwards returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring, but Prosper was able to wear them down as the game progressed.
They will try to slow down a Rockwall offense that rolled up more than 750 yards of total offense last week.
Sophomore Braedyn Locke lived up to his hype in his first start, completing 30-of-47 passes for 569 yards and five touchdowns.
Rowlett will attempt to contain Jaxon Smith-Njigba, one of the top receivers in the country, as much as possible, which is easier said than done. Smith Njigba was once again a force on Friday with 13 catches for 311 yards and three touchdowns.
Rockwall is not a one-dimensional team. They do have balance on the ground with Zach Henry, who had 22 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns.
The Yellowjackets led 31-14 at one point on Friday before Highland Park, on the strength of nine touchdowns from quarterback Chandler Morris, came roaring back.
Though there is still plenty of talent on the Rockwall defense, but it is breaking in some new faces and that could be just what Rowlett needs to get going.
Many expect the Yellowjackets as the heavy favorites in this game, but it is a rivalry that has featured some surprises.
Rowlett’s first-ever district win came at Rockwall’s expense in a 28-21 win back in 1997.
The Yellowjackets were also favored in the last two meetings, but the Eagles came out on top in both in a couple of wild games, a 34-32 win in 2016 and a 48-41 victory in 2017.