Rosewood running back Terquavis Butler finds space as he looks to pick up a first down.

PIKEVILLE — The Rosewood Eagles defeated the Charles B. Aycock Golden Falcons in Monday night’s season opener by a score of 27-26.

After not having the rivalry game last year due to a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, both teams were ready to once again play the Little River rivalry on Monday night.

Rosewood received the ball first to start the game, and things got off to a rough start for the Eagles as their kickoff returner fumbled the ball out of bounds at the 5-yard line on the return.

Then just three plays later on third down and three, Rosewood fumbled the ball and C.B. Aycock recovered the ball on the Rosewood 9-yard line.

C.B. Aycock was able to take advantage of their great field position and they scored on the next play with a 9-yard touchdown run from David Reid III.

When Rosewood got the ball for the next drive, they once again struggled to move the football and were forced to punt. The punt did not go very far, though, and the Golden Falcons started their drive on the Rosewood 44-yard line.

When C.B. Aycock got the ball, they also struggled to move the ball. At the Rosewood 25-yard line, they faced a fourth down and eight. The Golden Falcons elected to go for it on fourth down, and their decision paid off when quarterback Ethan Brock threw a 25-yard touchdown to Tyler Horton, which gave C.B. Aycock a 14-0 lead.

After going down 14-0 with 4:48 remaining in the first quarter, the Eagles started their next drive at their own 40-yard line. Rosewood was finally able to get their running game going and, on the drive, both Terquavis Butler and David Lamm found success carrying the ball.

The Eagles capped the drive off with a 26-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Rocco Raper to receiver Micah Cox to cut Aycock’s lead to eight points.

In the second quarter of the game, after putting together a great drive to score in the first quarter, Rosewood once again made a costly mistake.

With 9:23 left in the quarter the Rosewood punter fumbled the ball, and although he was able to recover the fumble, he was tackled for a loss and a turnover on downs. When C.B. Aycock took over after the turnover on downs, running back Daniel Frederick scored a 34-yard touchdown. It was only the second play of the drive, and it gave the Golden Falcons a 20-6 lead.

With 3:57 left in the quarter, C.B. Aycock made their first costly mistake of the game when they fumbled the ball on the 37-yard line. The Eagles took advantage of the fumble and Lamm scored on an eight-yard rushing touchdown with 2 minutes left before halftime.

In the second half, the momentum continued to swing in Rosewood’s favor, and with 9:24 left in the third quarter, the C.B. Aycock punter lost control of the ball in his own end zone, which led to Rosewood earning a safety. The safety penalty resulted in Rosewood getting two points and the ball back.

After the safety punt, Rosewood took advantage of getting the ball back and they almost immediately scored on 27-yard touchdown run for Lamm to take their first lead of the game at 21-20.

The rest of the game remained a stalemate with neither team being able to score until, with 8:30 left in the game, Rosewood took over at their own 36 after a turnover on downs.

Lamm and Butler continued to dominate in the running game and they helped the Eagles march all the way down the field. With 3:04 left, Lamm scored his third touchdown of the game on 7-yard run to give Rosewood a 27-20 lead. On the extra point attempt, Rosewood fumbled the snap and was unable to score, which meant C.B. Aycock would have one last chance to score a touchdown and kick an extra point and tie the game or score touchdown and go for the two-point conversion to win the game.

Rosewood played deep to try to prevent a deep pass down field, and C.B. Aycock took advantage of this and worked their way down the field with short passes.

The Golden Falcon passing attack stalled, however, and with just over 20 seconds left, C.B. Aycock faced a fourth down on the Rosewood 28-yard line.

With so little time left, Brock decided to go for the touchdown play instead of picking up the first down, and it paid off as receiver Demario Price came down with the ball in the end zone to make the game 26-27.

With just 16 seconds left in the game, the Golden Falcons had the choice of kicking the extra point and sending the game to overtime or going for the two-point conversion to win the game. The Golden Falcons elected to go for two, and it didn’t pay off as the Rosewood defense was able to tackle Reid at the 2-yard line.

With the stop, Rosewood held on to win 27-26 and win the Little River rivalry for the first time since 1999.

“It’s been 20-plus years since we beat them,” Rosewood head coach Robert Britt said. “It’s the first time that I’ve beat them since becoming the head football coach here.

“They are a quality football team, they have been in arguably one of the toughest football conferences for the last several years. For our small team to compete like they did and come back and after early on being outplayed, it shows the heart and the determination that our kids play with.”

Rosewood will take on North Johnston Friday at home at 7 p.m.