Defense, Special Teams Lead Grimsley to First Victory Under Brown
Jamestown- Ragsdale Coach Tommy Norwood told his team prior to their first game of the season on Friday night against Grimsley that kicking and penalties would determine the game. He was right.
The Grimsley Whirlies, led by an entirely new coaching staff, exceeded on defense and special teams play and came away with a resounding victory, much as the opposing coach had predicted.
Things didn’t look promising for Grimsley on their opening drive, when only four plays in, senior quarterback Garrett Hudnell fumbled the ball and the Tigers recovered. The Whirlie defense held the Tigers after the turnover to three and out, and the ensuing punt was blocked by Grimsley.
The blocked punt put wind back in Grimsley’s sail and its offense embarked on a five minute, 12-play drive that was punctuated by a burst through the goal line by Hudnell from three yards out. Grimsley’s Nile Harris was successful on a swing play for the two point conversion and Grimsley took a lead of 8-0.
The game was dominated by Grimsley’s defense – mostly 6’2”, 225-pound senior DE Canyon Duncan and recent Penn State commit, Brelin Faison-Walden. The two were in the face of Ragsdale quarterback Eric Williams and held 2015 All-Conference RB Jarious Drayton to short bursts the entire game.
The opening kickoff of the second half was returned for a touchdown a stunning 89 yards by Grimsley’s Nile Harris. The Whirlies’ extra point attempt failed and they led by 14.
Although the Tigers maintained possession for the majority of the third quarter and even made it to the goal line, it was to no avail as only four minutes after the kickoff return by Harris, Grimsley’s Canyon Duncan intercepted an Eric Williams pass and returned it 70 yards for a pick six. Garrett Hudnell’s run was successful for the two point conversion, and the Whirlies led by 22. Their defense had yet to allow a point.
“Coach Phillips did a great job of preparing me for tonight,” senior Duncan said, starting his first game as defensive end. “I knew the position like I had been playing it for four years.” Of his interception return he said: “That might have been the fastest I’ve run in my life!”
The Tigers saw first and goal from the two yard line and runs by Drayton and Williams up the gut couldn’t get the Tigers on the board. Facing fourth and goal on the one, the Tigers caught an agonizing penalty for illegal procedure and penalized 5 yards. On fourth and goal from the six, Drayton only made it halfway to the end zone as Grimsley’s defense showed their power again.
Ragsdale finally scored in the fourth quarter with 1:13 remaining on a 33-yard pass from Williams to Dominick Parker. Their two point conversion attempt failed.
“Coach Phillips, our defensive coordinator, did a great job preparing our guys and they flew around all night,” Grimsley head coach Darryl Brown said following his first win at the school. “We know that we are going to have things that we are going to have to correct and get better at, but we just want to make sure that we are getting better each and every week. I’m just proud of how our kids fought. It shows they have heart and character and I think that will carry us.”
GRM: Garrett Hudnell 3 run (Nile Harris Run)
GRM: Harris 89 Kickoff Return (Kick Failed)
GRM: Canyon Duncan 70 Interception Return (Hudnell run)
RAG: Devan Boykin 33 Rec (Pass Failed)
GRM – 8 0 14 0 – 22
RAG – 0 0 0 6 – 6
Garrett Hudnell: 1-5, 22yds; 13 rush, 59 yds, TD
Nile Harris: 4 rush 11 yds: 89yd K.O. Ret, TD
Brelin Faison-Walden: 1 rec, 22yds
Dallas Goins: 7 rush, 60yds, Fum
Canyon Duncan: 70yd INT Ret, TD
Eric Williams: 13-23 134, TD, INT; 10 rush 20 yds
Jarious Drayton: 20 rush 47 yds; 4 rec 35 yds
Devan Boykin: 4 rec 23 yds
Dominick Parker: 4 rec 61 yds, TD
Malachi Maness: 3 rush 40yds, Fum Rec