For three quarters it was your typical Eastern Randolph/Ragsdale dog fight until the Ragsdale offense and a couple of ER turnovers ended in a 31-12 Ragsdale win.
ER took the opening kickoff and QB Coward led ER straight down the field with a strong running game behind good blocking and a couple of key completions. However the drive stalled at the 14 yard line as ER passed on the 1st two downs and was unable to move the ball. A field goal attempt went just wide left and Ragsdale held on downs.
Ragsdale them moved downfield behind nice holes opened by the O line for Dâ€™Onavon Smith. Romer completed a couple for nice passes and it was 1st and goal from the ER 10 yard line. However that is where it ended as a holding call out on the edge and well behind the line put Ragsdale back to the 25 yard line with 1st and goal. Romer had to take to the air and a ball just off the out-stretched fingers of Mearite was tipped and intercepted by ER. ER then began to move the ball again however a ER pass was tipped on a deep in route and Gilyard for Ragsdale intercepted the tipped ball and ran it back 10 yards to the Ragsdale 47. Romer proceeded to take Ragsdale down the field but on 3rd down another ball just a bit high went off the finger tips of Jenkins and the ER safety was once again where he was supposed to be and intercepted the pass.
The Ragsdale defense held again and once again Romer led the Ragsdale team down the field and completed a deep out for 10 yards to Sonricker in the corner of the end zone to give Ragsdale a 7-0 lead midway through the 2nd quarter. After an exchange of punts the half ended with Ragsdale leading 7-0 at the half.
Ragsdale received the 2nd half kickoff but was unable to move the ball. After exchanging punts Ragsdale was able to pin ER back deep in their territory. ER picked up one 1st down however on 2nd down Coward rolled to his left on an option play. Ragsdale DE Daniel McNeill stayed home and had Coward pinned in with help from Ragsdale LBer Walt Sparks. Coward was able to get off a rushed pitched to his running back but the pitch was slightly behind him and Sparks scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for a touchdown from 17 yards out to make the score 14-0 after Redfernâ€™s kick.
Redfern kicked off and once again sent the kickoff completely out of the end zone. Only one of his kickoffs could be returned by ER. The Ragsdale defense quickly stopped ER and forced a punt. Romer wasted no time directing a short drive capped off by a 15 yard run by Ragsdale FB Ed Ross to put Ragsdale up 21-0. A key play in the drive was a 50 plus yard reception from Romer to DeSean Anderson.
There was no quit in ER as they took the kickoff and move the ball steadily down the field. A key play in the drive was a pass from Tucker Coward to Bill Stanley to move the ball too the Ragsdale 4 yard line for a 1st and goal. ER was able to punch the ball in on 2n down from the 3 on a nice o-line push for ER back Malcolm Greene. The kick was just wide and the score was 21-6.
Ragsdale was unable to sustain a drive and ER forced a punt. ER took over after the Ragsdale punt. ER was able to pick up one 1st down however ER tried a pass down the middle late and Ragsdale LBer Billy Stone stepped in front of the Tucker Coward pass and intercepted the ball. Ragsdale moved the ball down to the 4 yard line where the offense stalled and Redfern was called on to kick a 20 yard field goal which was successful making the score 24-6 in favor of Ragsdale.
Again ER and Ragsdale exchanged punts however with ER moving the ball they called a flat pass that the whole Ragsdale defense had seen on tape all week and Ragsdale LBer Jonathon Ashworth broke on the ball and intercepted the pass in full stride and raced into the end zone. The kick from Ryan Wall was successful making the score 31-6. Ragsdale Coach Norwood begins substituting freely and ER continued to move the ball on offense. On the last play of the game Coward connected with ER receiver Terrence Street from about 40 yards out for a touchdown making the score 31-12. The extra point was not attempted since the clock had run out.
Once again Ragsdale was paced by a complete team effort. The defense was tough with many players stepping up and making plays such as Ellison and Jones at DT, McNeill, Garner and McCoy at DE, Lbers Stone, Sparks, Jon and Josh Ashworth, and Gilyard, Armwood, Benjamin, Mearite and Lecompte in the defensive backfield. On offense Smith ran hard behind Cobb, Ritter, Jenkins, Gabel, Morris, Fennison and Cates. Romer was steady as usual and Jenkins, Sonricker, Anderson and Mearite did yeomanâ€™s work at the receiver positions.
The score of the game does not indicate how close the game was for 3 quarters. The ER team that took the field did not have the talent of recent ER teams due to ER losing many players to the new Providence Grove School. Even though ER coach Burton Cates had his feet swept out from under him, there was no quit in ER. They were a typical Burton Cates coached team. ER played hard and never quit all night. They played tough on defense and had creativity on offense. ER actually out-gained Ragsdale 211 yards to 186 for Ragsdale. However the 4 turnovers and 2 defensive touchdowns were too much for ER to overcome. As ER moves to 2A next year and Ragsdale moves to 4A the fans can only hope this series will continue as an OOC game.
While the game was exciting we all turn our focus and prayers to Cameron Scott Wayne from Southern Guilford and his family. He was taken from this world in a car accident early Saturday morning.