Rockets open season with former PAC-6 foe

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The Person High School football team will open up a new season with a familiar opponent.

The Rockets will welcome former PAC-6 rival Jordan for their season opener Friday at home. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

The game marks the debut for first-year coach Joey Carroll, who accepted the position in March following a successful stint leading Marion High School in Virginia.

The Rockets are coming off a 3-8 season a year ago and will be looking to make the playoffs after a two-year absence.

They will meet a Jordan squad, coached by former Garner High and N.C. State star Anthony Barbour, that is coming off a strong finish to the 2018 season after a shaky start.

Jordan lost five of their first six games before ripping off four consecutive victories in conference play to set up a regular-season finale showdown with Riverside that would determine the Triangle 6 champion.

The Falcons led until the final minute when Riverside took advantage of a late fumble and kicked a game-winning field goal to win 22-19. Jordan nearly pulled off a huge upset but fell to eventual 4A state finalist Scotland County, 26-25.

Jordan is returning a host of skill players, including leading rusher Andrew Hayes who gained 568 yards with seven touchdowns. Hayes, a rising senior, had four games where he rushed for at least 100 yards.

The Falcons are bringing back four of their top receivers from last year, all of whom caught at least 25 passes for 400 yards, but will have to find a new signal caller.

Four-year starting quarterback Ben Miller graduated after passing more than 3,200 yards and 27 touchdowns a year ago and committed to play baseball at Penn after a senior season on the diamond that including winning the Triangle 6 Player of the Year.

Miller was the only Jordan quarterback to complete a pass last season.

Person has won four of its last five meetings with the Falcons, with the last game being a 29-17 Rocket victory in 2016. This is the team’s first meeting since the last realignment split up the PAC-6.

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