The Ragsdale Report on Tigers’ Monday night win over East Forsyth from Mike Ellis at the Jamestown News
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After Friday night’s game was postponed until Monday because of torrential rains that made the field unplayable, Ragsdale and East Forsyth met in Jamestown for a key Piedmont Triad Conference battle. Both teams came into the game with identical 4-1 records and both had won their first conference game the previous week. The Flying Eagles and the Tigers were pre-season picks to contend for the PT 4A title along with Northwest Guilford and both knew that the winner of this game would have a decided advantage as the season progresses.
It was a battle of the defenses as both teams seemed to take away the offensive strategies of their opponents. East Forsyth came in with a strong running game led by quarterback Garrison Duncan and senior tailback Amon Giles. Ragsdale had demonstrated a more balanced attack, mixing the run and pass, led by senior quarterback Garrison Herndon, running back Marquez Eleazer and receivers Anthony Stewart and Brandon Walker.
Neither team could generate any first-quarter offense, but the Tiger defense came up with a turnover on East Forsyth’s second possession. Ragsdale eventually called on senior placekicker Brad Davis, who converted a field goal from 36 yards out to give the home team a 3-0 lead in the first minute of the second quarter.
On their next possession, the Eagles moved down to the Ragsdale 33 yard line and facing a fourth and 7 tried to pick up a first down. Ragsdale’s defensive end Will Sams came up with a huge sack and the Tigers took over on downs.
Ragsdale then went 65 yards in nine plays for the first touchdown of the night. Herndon and Brandon Walker hooked up on a 12-yard pass play to move the ball to midfield. Eleazer then carried the ball up the middle for 16 yards and another first down. Walker took a pitch and went around the left side for 15 and a first down at the Eagle’s 19-yard line. Eleazer carried twice for eight yards and Herndon ran a quarterback sneak for a first down at the 9. Eleazer then followed the blocks of Ryan Hurley and Mike Radford off the right side for the score. Davis’s extra point put the Tigers up 10-0.
Neither team threatened again until East took over after a punt on their 31 yard line with 28 seconds left in the half. Two running plays picked up 18 yards and a first down, and a 15-yard personal foul penalty moved East to the Ragsdale 36. Duncan then found Paul Jones streaking down the left sideline, moving the chains to the 2-yard line with 4 seconds left in the half. After a time out, Coach Todd Willert sent in his kicker, Chad Hollandsworth, who kicked a 19-yard field goal, sending the teams into the locker room with the Tigers on top 10-3.
The Ragsdale defense forced a punt from the East 17 yard line on the opening second-half possession. Brandon Walker fielded the short punt on the run at the Eagle 48 and returned it 11 yards to give the offense the ball at the 37. Herndon found Erik Romer on the right side for a 13-yard gain to set up a first down at the 23. Two Eleazer runs picked up five yards and facing a third and 5, Herndon and Anthony Stewart hooked up for the Tigers second touchdown of the night. Stewart lined up on the right side, got the defensive back to bite on a fake and Herndon found him wide open in the right corner of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown, after the PAT extending the lead to 17-3 halfway through the third quarter.
East Forsyth wasted little time in responding to the score. Staying exclusively on the ground, the Eagles went 70 yards in seven plays with Giles covering the last 34 with a burst off the right side. Once he broke the line of scrimmage, he used his speed to go untouched into the end zone. Hollandsworth’s extra point made the score 17-10 and Ragsdale took that seven-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Starting their possession late in the third quarter, East Forsyth was moving the ball again and on the first play of the fourth quarter Duncan ran for 10 yards and a first down at the Ragsdale 26 yard line. Facing a third and nine for the 25, Duncan connected with Giles on a screen pass, but Ragsdale’s Trey Grimes sniffed it out and tackled Giles for no gain. Hollandsworth came on to kick his second field goal of the night, this one from 42 yards out, to cut the deficit to four, 17-13.
The two teams exchanged punts with Ragsdale taking over again at their 47 with just under four minutes left. Facing a third and 8, Herndon found Walker on the right side. With defenders in his face, Walker made a great catch for a 33-yard gain and a first down inside the Eagle 20 yard line. Unable to move the ball, Ragsdale again sent in Davis on fourth down. He converted the field goal from 31 yards to put the Tigers up 20-13 with 2:32 left in the game.
After the kickoff, East Forsyth needed a touchdown, were 65 yards away from the end zone and were running out of time. Going to the air, Duncan picked up four yards with a pass to Mike Wright. Trying to pass over the middle on second down, Ragsdale’s Duncan Sparks cut in front of the intended receiver and made a diving interception. The Tigers offense was able to run out the final 2:15 to end the game and record the 20-13 victory.
The field was wet and slippery, and neither team played particularly well, but the Tigers found a way to win. East Forsyth came into the game averaging scoring 26 points a game and the Ragsdale defense held them to half of that. The Eagles were also averaging almost 300 yards a game on the ground, but the Tigers held them to 184 yards, definitely one of the keys to the win. Amon Giles carried the ball 16 times for the Eagles for 102 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown, but nine of his carries were for less than five yards. Quarterback Garrison Duncan was the second leading rusher with 35 yards on 12 carries. The Ragsdale defense came up with two fourth-down stops and also came up with two turnovers, a fumble recovery and the big Duncan Sparks interception.
East Forsyth kept the Tiger running game from gaining big yardage although Ragsdale did generate running offense late in the second quarter. They scored their first touchdown by covering 50 yards on seven consecutive runs. Eleazer carried the ball 25 times and picked up 77 yards to lead the Tiger ground game. Garrison Herndon was effective in the passing game, connecting on 11 of 21 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Herndon completed some key third-down passes, picking up first downs through the air six times when facing crucial third downs. Herndon also rushed for two first downs, one on fourth and one from his own 29 and again to set up a first and goal at the 9. Anthony Stewart was the leading receiver with 6 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Walker had 2 receptions for 45 yards, including a huge 33-yard third down reception which set up the last Ragsdale field goal. Walker also ran four times for 10 yards and had a big 11-yard punt return to set up a touchdown.
Brad Davis continued his excellent senior year in the kicking game, scoring eight points with a 36- and 31-yard field goal and was 2-for-2 on extra points. Davis also handled the punting duties and averaged 36.6 yards on five punts with no returns.
It’s now a short week for the Tigers as they travel to Southwest Guilford on Friday night to face their arch-rivals in the Cowboys. Ragsdale now shares first place with Northwest Guilford as both are 2-0 in conference play and have identical 5-1 overall records. Southwest Guilford also played on Monday night and was defeated by Northwest by a 28-7 score. The Cowboys are 0-1 in conference play and 2-4 overall.
East Forsyth 0 3 7 3 13
Ragsdale 0 10 7 3 20
First Downs 12-R 13-EF
Rushing Yardage 91-R 184-EF
Rushes 37-R 37-EF
Passing Yardage 127-R 72-EF
Pass Comp/Att/Int 11/21/0-R 7/16/1-EF
Punts/Avg Yds 5/36.6-R 3/30.3-EF
Fumbles/Lost 3/1-R 3/1-EF
Penalties/Yds 3/15-R 6/50-EF
Time of Possession 27:38-R 20:22-EF
R – Brad Davis 36 yard FG (11:43)
R – Marquez Eleazer 9 yard run (Davis kick) (5:40)
E – Chad Hollandsworth 19 yard FG (0:00)
R – Anthony Stewart 18 yard pass from Garrison Herndon (Davis kick) (5:57)
E – Amon Giles 34 yard run (Hollandsworth kick) (2:49)
R – Hollandsworth 42 yard FG (9:43)
R – Davis 31 yard FG (2:32)