from Mike Ellis sports editor with the Jamestown News at CLICK HERE…..
Ragsdale suddenly becomes ‘the hunted’ with OT win
Ragsdale and Dudley met Friday night in the 2012 season’s second game on a perfect night for football. But it turned out to be more perfect for the visiting Tigers, as they prevailed in overtime, 27-20
Dudley was hosting its second game in newly renovated Tarpley Stadium. With seating for 5,000 fans, a newly sodded field and new concession stands, restrooms and field house, all built for $5.1 million as a result of the 2008 bond referendum, the Panthers were eager to build on the excitement of the new facility and the momentum of last week’s win over Southern Durham. Ragsdale, coming into the game off their own week-one win over Grimsley, had their own plans, however.
Two evenly matched teams exchanged “punches” on the gridiron as both offenses showed the ability to move the ball at times, while both defenses hit hard and shut down the offenses at times. With the Tigers up 7-6 at halftime, they fell behind twice in the second half and had to battle back, scoring a tying touchdown with just over a minute left to force overtime. A Tiger touchdown in OT, followed by an interception in the end zone by Ragsdale’s Aaron Washington ended the game with Ragsdale recording the victory.
After a defensive first quarter that included five punts, Ragsdale started a sustained drive when Xavier Jones went off the left side to pick up 28 yards and a first down at the Dudley 17 yard line. They continued the drive but had to overcome a false start and illegal shift penalty which brought up a third and 6 from the 7 yard line. QB Colson Herndon then found Brandon Walker in the right corner of the end zone, giving the Tigers their first score of the night. Lucas Hicks kicked the extra point and Ragsdale was up 7-0.
Early in the second quarter, Dudley’s Connell Young ran for 24 yards and the Tigers were called for two personal foul penalties at the end of the play, which set up the Panthers with a first down at the Ragsdale 13. On the next play, Dudley fumbled and Ragsdale’s Winston Craig picked up the loose ball and galloped 87 yards behind a wall of blockers for what appeared to be a “game-breaking” TD. However, two flags were thrown, nullifying the touchdown and the Tigers were assessed two more major penalties. The upside to the play was that the Tigers had stopped the drive and taken over possession as the fumble recovery stood, but the points that would have opened up a two-touchdown lead were wiped off the scoreboard.
Later in the quarter, Dudley got on the board, aided by a Ragsdale turnover. After the Tiger defense forced a punt, a fumble on the return gave the Panthers possession deep in Ragsdale territory. Two plays later, they were in the end zone as Edward Moseley turned the corner around the left side and went 20 yards for the score. The extra point attempt went wide left as Ragsdale maintained the lead at 7-6, a score that remained at halftime.
Dudley took their first lead of the game on their first possession of the second half. After forcing a Ragsdale three and out, Dudley took over on their 19 yard line and embarked on a 13-play, 81-yard scoring drive that took over five minutes. Dudley used a balanced attack to move down the field with eight running plays and five passes. The big play on the drive was a 40-yard completion from QB Richard Hayes III to Moseley which moved the ball into Ragsdale territory with a first down at the 26 yard line. From there Hayes took over, running the ball on five consecutive plays and scoring on a six-yard carry over left tackle to give the Panthers their first lead of the night. The two-point conversion attempt was stopped by the Tiger defense as Dudley took the 12-7 lead.
Ragsdale answered on their next possession. Marquez Eleazer got things started from his tailback position, carrying the ball four times for 13 yards moving the ball into Dudley territory. After a Herndon to Joe Pantuso pass picked up seven and Herndon ran off tackle for seven more, Eleazer carried three more times to set up a third and goal from the 1 yard line. Herndon covered the final yard with a QB sneak behind the blocking of center Grayson Collins and guards Austin Huber and CJ Gilchrist to put the Tigers back into the lead. After a try for two failed, Ragsdale was up by a 13-12 score.
Neither team was able to move the ball against tough defenses early in the fourth quarter. With just over five minutes left in the game, Dudley got another break. With Ragsdale facing a fourth down on their 22 yard line, punter Brandon Walker couldn’t handle a low snap and was forced to run. He was stopped at the 20, turning the ball over. With a short field, it took Dudley only five plays to move the ball into the end zone and recapture the lead. QB Hayes did most of the work, keeping the ball four times and getting the touchdown on a two-yard run off right guard. Just to cap off the drive, Hayes went around right end for the two-point conversion to give Dudley a 20-13 lead with three minutes remaining in the game.
Ragsdale knew they would have one last drive to avoid their first defeat. A short kickoff was fielded by up-man Joe Pantuso who returned the ball to the Ragsdale 46 yard line. A face mask penalty on Dudley moved the ball into Panther territory at the 40. Two plays later, Ragsdale faced a third and eight. Herndon lofted a pass down the right side and it appeared the Dudley defender was in position to pick it off, but Pantuso went up over him and pulled in the reception at the 10 yard line and turned upfield before being pulled down at the 1 for a 37-yard gain. Just when it appeared the Tigers were on the verge of scoring, a bad snap that went by Herndon moved the ball back to the 23 yard line and looked as if the drive might stall, but Herndon connected with Walker at the 5 yard line. From there, Eleazer went off right tackle and into the end zone. Hicks’ point-after tied the game at 20 with 1:08 remaining.
Dudley was unable to move the ball and the gun sounded sending the game into overtime. The format for overtime gives each team a possession from the 10 yard line with four downs. Ragsdale had the first possession. Xavier Jones went around left end for four yards and Eleazer got the ball down to the 1. Dudley then stopped Eleazer for no gain on third down bringing up fourth and 1. Herndon took the snap and after being stopped on his first push, used second effort to just get over the goal line. Hicks converted and Ragsdale went up by 27-20.
Dudley was penalized for running into the kicker on the extra point, forcing them to start their possession from the 15 yard line. They gained seven yards on first down but then the Ragsdale defense stacked up the runner for a seven-yard loss on second down to move the Panthers back to the 15. A Hayes pass was knocked down on third down and Ragsdale defensive back Aaron Washington cut in front of the receiver in the end zone on fourth down and picked off the pass to end the game and seal the Ragsdale 27-20 victory.
The Ragsdale offense gained 125 yards on the ground with Marquez Eleazer carrying the ball 23 times and picking up 74 hard-earned yards and scoring the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Colson Herndon had another efficient game, completing 12 of his 18 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Herndon also picked up 33 yards on the ground on five carries and ran for two touchdowns. Joe Pantuso had five receptions for the second game in a row, this time for 62 yards including the key 37-yard catch on the last drive of regulation. Brandon Walker had four catches for 28 yards and a touchdown.
The defense did a great job of controlling the high-powered Dudley offense and their big-play quarterback Richard Hayes III. In their season opener, Hayes ran for over 200 yards and scored five touchdowns. He had another good game against Ragsdale, scoring two touchdowns and picked up 97 yards on 26 carries, but the Tigers shut down the rest of the Panthers. They also held the passing game to 92 yards on 6 for 15 passes with 40 of those yards coming on one play. The Tiger defense was aggressive and showed outstanding effort in getting to the ball. Duncan Sparks led the Tigers once again from his middle linebacker position and was credited with 12 tackles. Defensive back Ivan Milliken was in on nine tackles, while lineman Sidney Thompson had seven tackles and linebacker Bryce Walker and defensive back Fred Davis were each credited with six. Defensive end Brian Nwokolo had two quarterback sacks and Will Sams and Winston Craig had one sack each. Craig also had the fumble recovery and Aaron Washington came up with the game-ending interception in the end zone.
The Tigers will be at home this Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff against the Western Guilford Hornets. The Hornets suffered a 46-0 thrashing at the hands of Northwest Guilford and will be looking to turn their season around against the Tigers. Dudley will be on the road, traveling across town to take on the two-time defending 3A State Champion Northern Guilford Nighthawks.
Ragsdale 0 7 6 7 7(OT) 27
Dudley 0 6 6 8 0 20
First Downs 12R 11D
Rushing Yardage 12R5 139D
Rushes 38R 44D
Passing Yardage 94R 92D
Pass Com/Att/Int. 12/18/0R 6/15/1D
Punts/Avg Yds 6/34.3R 6/30.5D
Fumbles/Lost 2/1R 2/1D
Penalties/Yards 12 for 87R 7 for 60D
Time of Possession 24:35R 23:25D
R – Brandon Walker 7 yard pass from Colson Herndon (Lucas Hicks kick) (9:09)
D – Edward Moseley 20 yard run (kick failed) (3:47)
D – Richard Hayes 6 yard run (2 point conversion failed) (5:22)
R – Herndon 1 yard run (2 point conversionfailed) (1:21)
D – Hayes 2 yard run (Hayes runs for 2 point conversion) (3:03)
R – Marquez Eleazer 5 yard run (Hicks kick) (1:08)
R – Herndon 1 yard run (Hicks kick)