At the midway point in the high school football season, the Ridgeway Roadrunners faced the Munford Cougars. The Cougars entered the game with an overall 5-0 record (2-0 in Region 8 Division 5A) and a true triple-option offense that makes defense difficult for most opponents.
The Ridgeway defense was no exception, yielding 359 rushing yards. And while that was massive, Ridgeway outscored Munford 38-32 to claim victory.
“We came out squandered some early opportunities, let them get a lead,” Durron Sutton, Ridgeway’s head coach said. “We came back and we played well in the second, third and early part of the fourth quarter. We didn’t do enough to finish the game, but it is a win none the less.”
On the Cougars’ second play from scrimmage, senior running back Kylan Washington broke through the Roadrunners’ defense for a 90-yard touchdown run. That gave Munford the early lead, 7-0.
The Roadrunners started the game by driving down to the Cougars 10 before turning the football over on downs after failing to convert on a fourth and goal. The defense of the Cougars denied the Roadrunners any points despite having a first and ten from the Munford 15-yard line for that drive.
The Cougars only ran 5 offensive plays in the first quarter. However, when they did have the football, they gave the Roadrunners more than they could handle.
“We knew coming into this week it was going to be a battle,” said Munford head coach Nick Markle. “Ridgeway is in and out every year a powerhouse. They got their kids healthy again and they came out and they had a great game plan for us offensively and defensively.
“We didn’t make the tackles when we needed to. We turned the ball over early and we shout ourselves in the foot. Our kids played hard. It was a great battle. Anyone that bought a ticket tonight got their money’s worth. We got tested tonight and we needed that.”
The Roadrunners have been banged up all season. They welcomed back one of their most dynamic players in Kundarrius Taylor. Taylor has been sidelined all season with a sore hamstring. The Cougars knew he was back and avoided kicking him the football.
On the return of Taylor, Ridgeway’s Sutton said, “He helps to makes the difference in our team. Some people have to do some different things. Hopefully, he stays healthy and we can keep going forward.”
Ridgeway quarterback Quincy Casey was happy to have Taylor back. Going into the game, Casey was ranked in the top ten in the city in passing, with 948 total yards and 9 touchdowns. He was the difference against the Cougars. He ran when he had to and completed passes down the field when needed. Casey had 22 rushing yards, but he also had 2 rushing touchdowns.
On the development of Casey, Sutton said, “He is getting better every week as a quarterback. He has done a lot of training in the summer to get better. … He took it upon himself to do better than what he has been doing.”
Ridgeway running back Cameron Stansbury was the workhorse, especially extending drives in the second half. He rushed for 118 yards and a rushing touchdown. Taylor added 5 receptions for 83 yards and caught his first touchdown of the season.
Nathan Davenport did a great job of running the option offense for the Cougars. Davenport had 144 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Washington finished the game with 130 yards and Noah Robertson rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Markle called Davenport “a great kid; he runs the option really well. They were keying on number 1 (Chaz Hayes) tonight, they tried to eliminate him from the game plan. It gives me something to work on for next week.”
The win by Ridgeway pulls them into a three-way tie for third place in Region 8 division 5 with Kirby and Munford. All three teams have a 2-1 lead record, trailing division leaders Southwind and Brighton (both 3-0 in the division).
Next week the Cougars of Munford (5-1, 2-1) will travel to face the Southwind Jaguars.
We have been talking about these two weeks as being a tonesetter for the backend of the season to figure out where we stand,” Markle said. “We rolled on through the first part of the season. We only trailed one time and this challenged us.”
Ridgeway (2-4, 2-1) will stay home to play winless (0-6) Overton at Kirby Stadium next week. Both games will be played on Friday (September 29) at 7 p.m.