Ragsdale Review on Tigers win over Western Guilford from Mike Ellis at the Jamestown News

Posted by Andy Durham on September 5, 2012 at 10:16 am under High School | 4 Comments to Read

from Mike Ellis at the Jamestown News a publication of the Womack Newspapers…
(CLICK HERE to see all and read all from Mike at the Jamestown News.)

Ragsdale Tigers avoid Hornets’ sting

Two teams that had started out the season going in different directions met at Kenneth T. Miller Stadium on the newly renovated campus of Ragsdale High School Friday night. Western Guilford, who had started the season with two losses, traveled to Ragsdale to take on the Tigers, who had opened up the 2012 campaign with two consecutive victories. After a tight first half, the favorites averted the upset, coasting home with a 30-14 win.

Things could not have started any better for the Tigers. The offense scored the first two times they had the ball and the defense forced three Hornet turnovers on their first four possessions. With a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, Ragsdale seemed to put the game on “cruise control” and with an opportunity to put the game away, the Tigers let the Hornets back in the game. A Western Guilford fake punt that turned into a 53-yard pass play turned the momentum around and the Hornets scored two second-quarter touchdowns to tie the game at 14-14, a score that stood at the half. What had started out as if it might be an easy night for the Tigers had turned into a game with all of the momentum on the opponents’ side.

The Tiger defense answered the call in the second half. While the offense struggled to sustain drives and put points on the board after the first quarter, the Ragsdale defense completely shut the Hornets down in the second half. The first three Western Guilford possessions of the second half resulted in three and outs. Ragsdale was finally able to take the lead late in the third quarter on a Lucas Hicks 22-yard field goal after a 47-yard drive stalled at the Western 5 yard line. The defense came up with two more turnovers and the offense scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to blow open what had been a tight game.

Ragsdale got on the board on their first possession of the game as they used 10 plays to go 77 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Quarterback Colson Herndon connected with three different receivers on the drive and senior tailback Marquez Eleazer carried the ball seven times and went off left guard for the final seven yards and the score. Hicks converted the point-after and Ragsdale had taken a 7-0 lead.

The Tiger defense wasted little time in getting the ball back for the offense, as 43 seconds after the touchdown. Ragsdale defensive back Fred Davis made a big hit, forcing a fumble after a pass completion, and defensive end Will Sams made the recovery at the Western 24 yard line. Herndon dropped back on the first play after the turnover and hit Joe Pantuso at the 2, and Pantuso ran through the defender for the TD. Hicks booted the extra point and Ragsdale was in command at 14-0.

Western Guilford’s next two possessions also resulted in turnovers as Winston Craig recovered a fumble and Duncan Sparks came up with his second interception of the season, but the offense could not take advantage.

Western Guilford got back into the game on a trick play. Facing a 4th and 6 on their 40 yard line and having been unable to generate any offense, Coach Chris Causey went to his bag of tricks. He called for the fake punt and the snap went to the “up-man” who just happened to be quarterback Reid Flippin. With Ragsdale dropping back to field the punt, Flippin found Kevin Gehsman wide open on the right side, and 53 yards later Gehsman was dragged down at the Ragsdale 7 yard line. Emmanuel Khamala found the end zone around the right end on the next play and after the Craig Alley extra point, Western had cut the lead in half, 14-7.

The Hornets got another opportunity late in the second quarter and again it was set up by a big play. Taking over at their 31 yard line after a punt, Flippin and Jamal Rooks hooked up on a 48-yard pass play. Rooks went over the middle and got behind the Ragsdale defense before being caught from behind at the Ragsdale 21. Three straight running plays put the ball in the end zone with Rooks going the final nine yards for the score. Alley hit the PAT and Western had come all the way back to tie the game at 14-14.

The second half was all Ragsdale as the defense dominated, limiting the Hornets to six plays and two yards in total offense in the third quarter and 71 yards in total offense for the entire second half, with 54 yards coming on their last possession after the game was decided. The Ragsdale offense went back to hard-nosed, grind-it-out football, running the ball 34 times in the second half for a total of 224 yards. After Lucas Hicks kicked the 22-yard field goal late in the third quarter to give the Tigers the lead, Eleazer extended the lead early in the fourth. With a first and 10 at the Ragsdale 42, Eleazer went up the middle, broke into the secondary and made two outstanding cutbacks to get by defenders and go 58 yards for the touchdown. The Tigers took a 23-14 lead as the point-after was wide left.

The defense came up with another turnover after the Eleazer touchdown. Defensive back Ivan Milliken came up with an interception at the Ragsdale 38 yard line to set up the offense. Eleazer carried the ball five consecutive times and combined with two Western major penalties, Ragsdale had a first down at the Hornets’ 12 yard line. From there, senior tailback Taylor Booker did the damage with three carries, going into the end zone from three yards out for the score. Hicks was perfect with the conversion and Ragsdale had wrapped up a 30-14 win.

After the game, Coach Tommy Norwood was pleased with the victory but not quite as pleased with the Tiger execution and effort after jumping out to the early lead. When they had the chance to wrap up the game early, they allowed a couple of big plays that gave Western Guilford the momentum.

Senior Marquez Eleazer was the workhorse with 231 yards rushing on 27 carries and two touchdowns, including four runs in excess of 20 yards. The team combined for 297 yards in rushing with 224 of them coming in the second half. Quarterback Colson Herndon was 10 for 21 in passing for the night, for 112 yards and one touchdown. The passing game was on target early in the game as Herndon completed his first six attempts for 69 yards and a touchdown. The Tigers only attempted three passes in the second half, none in the fourth quarter as they kept the ball on the ground. Joe Pantuso was the leading receiver with four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown, while Erik Romer also had four catches for 33 yards.

The Tiger defense played well throughout the night and seemed to play even better after giving up the two second-quarter touchdowns. Although they gave up 222 passing yards to the Hornets on 21 completions in 39 attempts, 133 of those yards came on three long passing plays as the Tigers got beat deep. Ragsdale shut down the running game, limiting the Hornets to 47 yards rushing and more impressively, minus 12 yards in the second half. The defense also came up with four turnovers as Will Sams and Winston Craig recovered fumbles and Duncan Sparks and Ivan Millikan each had an interception.

This Friday, the 3-0 Tigers will go on the road to take on the defending 4A state champion Page Pirates. Page has gotten off to a rough start, dropping their first three games in 2012. After a lopsided opening game loss to Davie County by a 31-14 score, Page has lost two close games. They were beaten by two-time defending 3A state champion Northern Guilford by a 14-7 score and then were beaten in overtime last week by High Point Central, 20-14.

Don’t be fooled by the Pirates’ 0-3 record. They were hit hard by graduation from last year’s team and the new players have shown improvement each week. They play terrific defense and their offense, led by senior quarterback Jordan Putnam, has an excellent passing game. As always when these two teams meet, it will be a hard-fought, well-played battle.

Western Guilford 0 14 0 0 14
Ragsdale 14 0 3 13 30
First Downs 21R 12WG
Rushing Yardage 297R 47WG
Rushes 54R 16WG
Passing Yardage 112R 222WG
Pass Comp/Attempts/Int. 10/21/0R 21/39/2WG
Punts/Avg. Yards 4/32.5R 5/35.0WG
Fumbles/Lost 2/1R 3/2WG
Penalties/Yards 4/45R 10/77WG
Time of Possession 30:01R 17:59WG

  • MIM said,

    Time for coaching change at Western?

  • Mike E. said,

    Lot going on at Western. They only had 28 players on the roster which makes it very tough. They will hopefully be helped next year when they drop down to 3A and get out of the Metro.

    They showed some fight in the second quarter to get back in the game, but were just “man-handled” in the second half. Didn’t have the depth or quality to hang in and got over powered by a better team.

    Can only coach what you got to work with.

  • Observer said,

    Western is competing at the 4A level with 3A numbers.

  • Andy Durham said,

    The move down to 3-A will be a boost for WG and they do need more #’s and the community needs to step up and support this program….Used to be a lot of support from the Middle School and on a lower level the Guilford Steelers…..WG needs those feeder programs to start coming up big again for them….Coach Causey can get the job done, but he needs that support system……WG still has a chance to win some key conference games…..Games like Grimsley, SA and Smith will be vital to the Hornets’ success……