The defense gives it and it takes away. The Whitehaven Tigers’ defense had its way with the Ridgeway Roadrunners, and won 23-7 in Whitehaven’s last home game until October.
The Tigers only allowed the Roadrunners 99 total yards for the game.
The Whitehaven defense had five sacks by five different players, a fumble recovery, and one interception. The Tigers accumulated 75 yards in penalties on defense alone. The team had 131 total yards in penalties.
“They should have had more,” said Whitehaven Coach Rodney Saulsberry of his squad’s five sacks. “They left a couple on the field. We’ll fix it as we prepare for Little Rock next week.”
Whitehaven scored first when senior quarterback Keyshawn Harris found Tamarion MacDonald on the 3-yard line and the went into the endzone for opening touchdown (7-0) of the game. MacDonald has added receiver to the list of positions he plays. He is also a linebacker, a defensive back and starting punter for the team.
The pair connected again in the second quarter for a 27-yard touchdown, extending the Tigers lead to 14-0. Those were the only two catches on the day for MacDonald. A 35-yard field goal by junior Abdoul Ba gave Whitehaven a 17-0 lead at the half.
Ridgeway did have a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter. The Roadrunners had a first and goal from the eight-yard line, but a penalty and back-to-back sacks put an end to that drive.
Ridgeway made some critical third down conversions. The Tigers aided the drive by the Roadrunners by making two personal foul penalties. Ridgeway junior QB Anterrion Martin made a few clutch completions and did some damage with his running game.
“We gave up some plays early,” said Ridgeway head coach Duron Sutton on his team’s play. “If we don’t give those up, we put a team in a situation they are not used to in a tight game. We fought better in the second half. We showed a lot of effort we have to keep moving forward.”
Sutton said his team looked “like we were deer in headlights” to start the game. But when the game slowed down, Ridgeway matched the scoring of the Tigers in the second half.
Ridgeway’s Martin rumbled 16-yards toward the goal line but fumbled into the endzone. Teammate offensive lineman Marcus James was in the right place at the right time to recover the fumble for the touchdown (17-7).
The Tigers would quickly answer the scoring drive by the Roadrunners conducting a three-play drive powered by a 64-yard run by senior RB Cameron Sneed. Sneed was forced out of bounds at the one-yard line. Harris would complete the drive by going over the center for the touchdown (23-7).
The defense for the Tigers forced the Roadrunners into consecutive three-and-out drives. From there, Tigers running game took over behind Sneed. Sneed would continue to assist the Tigers move the chains.
“Whitehaven will be one of the best defenses we play all year,” Sutton said. “We are going to continue to grow. They took it to us before we had our feet under us.”
Saulsberry was happy with the win, but said his team needs to clean up some things.
“We were our own worst enemy. We made a lot of errors,” Saulsberry said. “But our hat goes off to Coach Sutton. He is always going to have his team prepared. We like the results, but it gives us something to improve upon.”
Next up for the Whitehaven Tigers (2-0) will be a rematch against North Little Rock High School on Friday, September 6 in Arkansas at 7 p.m.
The Ridgeway Roadrunners (0-2) will try to get in the win when they travel to West Monroe, LA on September 6.