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Saturday, May 25, 2024

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Late TD gives Whitehaven win over Ridgeway

Ridgeway High School head coach Duron Sutton could only imagine what “could have been” when the final horn sounded after the Whitehaven Tigers defeated the Roadrunners 21-14. Moments earlier, Tigers quarterback Vincent Guy hit Cameron Sneed with a short screen pass and Sneed was able to go 58 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Ridgeway has lost to the Tigers the last eight years entering the game and were heartbroken at the final score of this game. The Tigers took advantage early on when Guy, a senior quarterback and University of Tennessee at Martin commit, found East High School transfer Keveon Mullins for a short touchdown completion to take a 7-0 lead with less than three minutes into the game.

The defense of Whitehaven got into the action on Ridgeway’s opening drive, intercepting Quincy Casey by none other than Guy, who is Whitehaven’s starting quarterback but will play defensive back when he goes to college next fall. Guy returned the interception deep into the Roadrunners territory.

Guy again found his favorite target Mullins with 7:38 left in the first quarter for a touchdown reception and the Tigers were off to the races to another fast start and quickly went up 14-0. Tigers kicker Ahmadues Taylor was successful with the extra point and is perfect on the year with all extra point attempts.

The Tigers defense was physical early in the game led by juniors Bryson Eason and Martavius French. The combo platter linebackers were delivering good, hard tackles on the Roadrunners.

Whitehaven head coach Rodney Saulsberry and the rest of the Tigers fans held their collective breaths as their star linebacker Eason laid in the middle of the field on his back in extreme pain. Eason suffered an ankle injury and will receive additional examinations to determine the extent of his injury.

Casey, a senior quarterback, just shook off all of the big hits and regrouped to lead the Roadrunners to a scoring drive when he found senior wide receiver Daniel King to cut the deficit to 14-7.

Casey again found senior tight end Jaylen Norphlet on a 20-yard touchdown reception to tie the football game at 14-14. Both teams had opportunities to get a leg up, but either penalties or unforced errors prevented that from occurring. The Tigers had more than 150 yards in penalties in the game that either extended their time on the field on offense or shortened their ball control offense.

This game meant Ridgeway falls to 0-2 so far this season, but this is by no means the team that lost 34-0 last week to MUS. Casey threw four interceptions last week that led to the one-sided football contest.

The Roadrunners will face division rival Kirby next week. Last season the Roadrunners defeated Kirby to knock them out of the state playoff race and Kirby will be looking to get even with their close neighborhood rivals.

“We just left too many opportunities on the field. I am very proud of our guys as they gave it their all,” said Sutton. “They hit us in the mouth early, but our team responded and we had our chances. We just did not do enough to win.”

“Great game. Great competition. We love playing Ridgeway as it is a battle we have every year,” said Saulsberry. “They have a great offense. Qunicy Casey did a great job. Defensively we had a couple of breakdowns but overall, guys played great.”

On the penalties, Saulsberry said, “Guys are playing hard. They are trying to make plays. Guys are playing aggressive. It is a fine line there. I would rather tell them ‘Whoa,’ than to tell him to sic ‘em. We don’t have a problem with guys being aggressive. They just have to know when to rein it in.”

On the game-winning drive, Saulsberry said, “The key thing about Vincent Guy is the kid has heart. I know he is going to come through in the end and make a play to win the game. Even though he was making a few mistakes and trying to do too much at times, I knew he was going to make a play to win the game. He made some throws in the end that were great.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Tigers as they will host the Cordova Wolves at Whitehaven Stadium on Friday and will try to remain perfect on the season. Cordova is also undefeated (2-0) and coming off a 42-0 rout over Southwind.

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