Courtesy of Mike Ellis from the Jamestown News(www.womacknewspapers.com):
Homecoming was a bad night for the winless Parkland Mustangs to come to Jamestown to face the unbeaten Ragsdale Tigers. On a perfect night for football and with a capacity crowd on the home side of the stands, the Tigers kept their perfect record intact with a 29-0 victory.
It did not, however, start out as a walkover. After two consecutive games in which the offense dominated the line of scrimmage and ran the ball with great success, the Tigers could not sustain a drive, had difficulty picking up a first down and were able to put only seven points on the board in the first half, in spite of having excellent field position. The first-half offensive totals were 16 carries for 37 yards, two first downs and no pass completions.
The difference in the game was the outstanding play by the defense. As good teams do, when one side of the ball isn’t hitting on all cylinders the other side of the ball picks them up. Ragsdale’s defense shut the Mustangs down with outstanding play from their front four, who were in the Parkland backfield all night. The linebackers and defensive backs made plays and the Mustangs never threatened.
The numbers don’t lie. Parkland ran the ball 32 times and was held to minus 34 net yards. Of the 32 rushing attempts, 13 of them were for negative yardage and another seven rushes had no gain. Ragsdale recorded 11 sacks with five of them coming from defensive end Brian Nwokolo. Nwokolo also recorded a second-half safety as he rushed into the backfield and tackled the quarterback in the end zone. Defensive end Will Sams and defensive tackle Winston Craig each had two sacks. Middle linebacker Duncan Sparks was all over the field and was credited with 11 tackles. The longest run from scrimmage the Mustangs had all night was 10 yards and that came on the last possession of the game. Parkland was also held to a total of 81 yards passing on a 6-of-18 night and the defense picked off two passes. Xavier Jones had an interception to halt the deepest drive of the night in the first half and Aaron Washington picked off a pass at the Parkland 12 yard line and waltzed into the end zone early in the third quarter. It was the Tigers’ first shutout of the season.
Ragsdale got on the board first as the defense set them up in excellent field position on their second possession of the game. With Parkland punting out of their end zone after quarterback Brandon McCray was sacked at the 2, Marquez Eleazer made a fair catch of a poor punt at the 12 yard line. With a short field, Ragsdale covered the distance in three plays, with Colson Herndon going off the left side for the final four yards. Lucas Hicks converted the point-after.
That was the extent of the offense in the first half. Ragsdale picked up only one more first down in the half as they couldn’t move the ball on the ground and couldn’t complete a pass. Part of the credit has to go to the Parkland defense, as their front four and linebackers, many of whom were also playing on the offensive side of the ball, continued to clog up the Tiger running game. The Ragsdale defense also did its job, and the Tigers went into the locker room at the half with the 7-0 lead.
The difference in the second half was that Ragsdale was able to strike on a couple of big offensive plays. After taking the second half kickoff, the Tigers faced a 3rd and 9 from their 41 yard line. Quarterback Herndon hit Marquez Eleazer on a quick pass out of the backfield on the left side. Eleazer turned the corner and went up the left sideline for a 59-yard touchdown. After only three plays in the second half, Ragsdale had extended the lead to 14-0.
Washington’s touchdown interception came following the Ragsdale kickoff. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Nwokolo recorded his safety to up the lead to 22-0. With the defense continuing to shut down the Mustang offense, Ragsdale wrapped up the scoring on their final possession of the game. Starting at their 40 yard line with 6:13 to go, the Tigers picked up a first down on a Taylor Booker run to the Parkland 42. From there, junior back Jerry Gaither got his first varsity carry and made the most of it. He took the handoff from Herndon and went around right end untouched and used his speed to race the distance for the touchdown. Hicks kicked the extra point and the final score read 29-0.
It wasn’t a pretty game, but the result moved the Ragsdale record to 5-0 and was the first Piedmont Triad Conference win of the year. The Ragsdale offense just was not in synch all night with their lowest offensive yardage production of the year. The defense gave the offense excellent field position all night, but they were not able to take advantage of it. The offense started six drives inside the Parkland 35 yard line and only produced one touchdown on those six drives. Ragsdale had 130 yards rushing with Taylor Booker carrying seven times for 34 yards and Gaither had the one carry for the 42-yard touchdown. Quarterback Herndon was 4-for-12 passing for 75 yards, with 59 of it coming on the Eleazer touchdown pass. Herndon also rushed for a touchdown.
This Friday night the Tigers travel to Kernersville to take on the 5-0 East Forsyth Eagles in a key PTC matchup. East is one of the top-rated teams in the state, coming in No. 8 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the Carolina Prep football ranking. East is loaded on both sides of the ball and has dominated their first five opponents. On offense they returned four linemen, two running backs, and quarterback Garrison Duncan (6-foot-2, 220) and have averaged 37 points a game. They also returned seven starters from the defensive side of the ball and have allowed an average of 6 points a game. Ragsdale’s offense will have to figure out a way to move the ball while the defense will have to be prepared to contain the balanced attack that the Eagles will use. The winner of this game will take the early-season lead in the conference race. Ragsdale is 3-0 against East Forsyth over the last three years of conference play, having recorded a 20-13 victory last season.
Parkland 0 0 0 0 – 0
Ragsdale 7 0 13 9 – 29
R – Colson Herndon 4 yard run (Lucas Hicks kick) (3:29)
R – Marquez Eleazer 59 yard pass from Herndon (Hicks kick) (10:31)
R – Aaron Washington 12 yard interception return (kick blocked) (8:52)
R – Brian Nwokolo tackle for safety (11:55)
R – Jerry Gaither 42 yard run (Hicks kick) (4:45)
First Downs 5R 7P
Rushing Yardage 126R -34P
Rushes 30R 32P
Passing Yardage 75R 81P
Pass Comp/Attempts/Int. 4/12/1R 6/18/2P
Punts/Avg. Yards 3/35.3R 4/19.3P
Fumbles/Lost 1/1R 1/0P
Penalties/Yards 7/60R 7/52P
Time of Possession 20:43R 27:17P