Southeast Guilford came into Friday’s game the favorite against Ragsdale, having beat Northwest just two weeks ago. But it was the Tigers who came away victorious in their 2016 homecoming game. The Tigers, led by their special teams, scored 18 unanswered points in the first half, and returned a kickoff in the fourth quarter to topple the Falcons, 25-22.
Southeast jumped out to an early lead and looked to be dominant as their wing-T offense ran all over the Tigers in the first quarter. With 1:01 remaining in the opening frame, Miles Fairley ran the ball into the end zone from one-yard out to give the Falcons the lead. Quarterback Ryan Douglas kept the ball on a successful two-point conversion attempt, and Southeast led 8-0.
The Tigers struggled throughout the opening quarter, running only 9 plays in the first twelve minutes.
Southeast struck again on a Ryan Douglas keeper from one-yard out with 5:42 remaining in the first half and put the team up 14-0. The Tigers responded quickly to the Falcons second touchdown when Jarious Drayton received the kickoff after the score and returned it 75 yards to put his team on the board.
It was the beginning of one of the most unexpected comebacks of the season.
Ragsdale’s defense, sparked by the Drayton score, held Southeast to three and out on their next two possessions.
The Tigers scored two more touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half, a one-yard run by Malachi Maness, and a 34-yard reception by Tre Goode 11 seconds before halftime, giving the Tigers their first lead of the night.
The Tigers’ Jarious Drayton also had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown that was called back, a call many believed questionable.
A smiling Ragsdale coach Tommy Norwood was pleased with the effort and determination to come back from a 14-point first-quarter deficit.
“Our kids just kept on fighting,” Norwood said. “We kept hanging in there and thank God that when the clock hit zero we had more points than they did.”
The second half of the game was uneventful until Southeast came up with a stop against Ragsdale with just over six minutes remaining in the game.
Ragsdale punted the ball and pinned the Falcons inside their own ten yard line. The Falcons went on a 10-play, three-and-a-half-minute drive that was punctuated by another one-yard touchdown run by Myles Fairley. The Falcons went ahead 20-18 with 2:02 remaining in the game.
Southeast coach Fritz Hessenthaler opted to try for a two-point conversion that would force Ragsdale to score a touchdown to win. The Falcons put the ball in the hands of Trey Love, who crossed the goal line for the deuce and put his team up 22-18.
The Falcons had already given up 7 points on a kickoff return on the night, and somehow, on the ensuing kickoff, junior Malachi Maness did it again, miraculously breaking out of the pile with the football at the 45 yard line. There was no one else between Maness and the end zone, and he went to the house, putting Ragsdale back in front 25-22.
“I saw the hole, and with my teammates pushing me from behind, I broke through,” Maness said of the game-winning score.
The Falcons had plenty of time left after the Ragsdale touchdown to score, but they came up just short, as the Ragsdale defense forced an incompletion from Ryan Douglas from the Tiger 39-yard line to end the game.
The Tigers rightly celebrated their dramatic win, accompanied by a thrilled homecoming crowd. It is only the second win of the season for the Tigers, but a huge one. Ragsdale is now (2-4), this night against Coach Norwood’s former team, the determined Falcons.
“A win is a win and it feels good no matter who you beat. A win is too hard to get,” Norwood added.
Coach Fritz saw positives from his team even if the win eluded them.
“I was proud of our kids’ effort,” Hessenthaler said. “We had a chance to come back and throw it in the end zone at the end.”
“As a coach, you’re looking for your kids to continue to work, stay together, and make the next play. Those last couple of drives we certainly did that, and our defense played great.”
Senior Jarious Drayton smiled and said, “Feels good!”, adding that the homecoming crowd made the win even more special.
Both teams will open conference play next week, with the Falcons, (3-3), taking on the Page Pirates. Ragsdale, (2-4), will face off with the Vikings of Northwest Guilford to start PT4A conference action.
SEG- Miles Fairley 1 run (Ryan Douglas run)
SEG- Douglas 1 run (Pass failed)
RAG- Jarious Drayton 75 Kickoff return (kick failed)
RAG- Malachi Maness 1 run (pass failed)
RAG- Tre Goode 34 pass from Eric Williams (pass failed)
SEG- Fairley 1 run (Trey Love run)
RAG- Maness 55 Kickoff return (Thomas Vernon kick)
SEG- 8 6 0 8 – 22
RAG- 0 18 0 7 – 25
Eric Williams: (5-13) 86yds TD
Jarious Drayton: 8car 31yds; 75yd KO ret TD
Malachi Maness: 9car, 28yds TD; 55yd KO ret TD
Tre Goode: 2 rec 72yds TD
Ryan Douglas: (7-17) 79yds; 3car -7yds, TD
Miles Fairley: 16car 46yds 2TD
Chad Stephens: 14car 51yds
Tavaris Best: 5car 51yds; 3rec 49yds
Guilford County Top-10 Football Poll
- TIE: Page/Southwest
- Eastern Guilford
- SE Guilford
- Southern Guilford
- Northwest Guilford
- High Point Central
- High Point Christian
- High Point Andrews