Football News 2012 Football News 2012 Ragland Write Up
2012 Ragland Write Up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Allen J. Dunavant   
Monday, 12 November 2012 00:00

The Lion football team traveled to St. Clair County on Friday night to take on the undefeated Ragland High School Purple Devils. Senior players serving as Captains for the game met at center field for the coin toss with the Lions winning the toss and electing to receive to open the much anticipated game.
Jordan White made the reception at the 12-yard line and returned the ball up field where he was met by the defender at the 32-yard line for the stop. Vess Benton led the Lion offense down the field with rushing attacks by Aaron Dillard and Corey Stewart to face fourth down and inches just outside the 42-yard line. Benton called his own number and followed Austin Bourland across the first down marker to keep the opening drive alive. Landon Miller took the hand-off on first down and burst over right tackle gaining 7-yards and Aaron Dillard took the pitch-out on second moving the ball around the right end to the Devils 37-yard line. Stewart and Miller continued pounding the defensive line with their rushing attacks, along with an offside's penalty against Ragland, the Lions were facing third down and 1-yard at the 28-yard line. Aaron Dillard took the hand-off and raced around the right end untouched into the end zone for the first score of the evening with 6:44 remaining in the first quarter. The kick by Dillard on the PAT was no good.
Aaron Dillard's ensuing kick sailed deep down field with White quick to make the tackle at the 7-yard line. The Devil offense got off to a rocky start with an off-sides penalty on first down to move the ball back half the distance to the goal line. On the replay of down, Anthony Dillard rushed into the backfield and sacked the quarterback in the end zone for the safety quickly adding two additional points to the Lions side of the scoreboard. Penalty flags against Ragland resulted in the kick-off from the 20-yard line.
V. Benton and the Lion offense returned to the field to start their second possession after White returned the kick from the Lion 32-yard line across mid-field to the Devils 33-yard line. Rushing carries by Aaron Dillard and Stewart moved the ball to the 17-yard line with Stewart taking the ball up field for a 13-yard gain on second down. The Lions were penalized for a false start on first down moving the ball back to the 22-yard line. Aaron Dillard took the hand-off and raced around the right side of the line of scrimmage but the ball was moved back to the 29-yard line following the rushing gain with the Lions being penalized for holding. Facing first down and 22-yards, Stewart took the hand-off and rushed up the middle with the ball being knocked out by the Devils but Stewart managed to recover the ball to put the Lions facing second down and 26-yards. Before the ball could be snapped the Lions were penalized once again for delay of game moving the ball deeper back to the 38-yard line. V. Benton attempted an air connection with David Aldridge but the ball was just beyond reach setting up third down and 31-yards. Misery continued for the Lions as V. Benton was brought down behind the line bringing up fourth down and 36-yards at the Devil 43-yard line. McKain Hubbert was sent to the field to punt the ball away with the ball taking a deep roll before rolling out of bounds at the 10-yard line.
The Devils quarterback caught the Lion defense off guard on first down by scrambling around the left side line for the first down before being forced out of bounds by Stewart and Blayke Hill. With the snap of the ball the Devils had another first down at the 36-yard line following a pass over the middle. Devin Marcum and Calan Robertson made the stop on first down after a 5-yard rushing attack. T.J. Pratt and Justin Franklin made their presence known on the field on second down by sacking the Devil quarterback in the backfield for a 1-yard loss. Robertson made the tackle on third down leaving Ragland facing fourth down and 4-yards at their own 42-yard line. Following a time-out by the Devil coaching staff, the Purple Devils quarterback connected deep down field with his receiver putting the Lion defense on notice deep in their own red zone. With the snap of the ball the Devils were in the end zone following a 14-yard rushing attack around the right side line. Lining up for the two point conversion on the PAT, the Devil ball carrier scrambled around in the backfield eluding would be tacklers reaching the end zone. With .44 seconds remaining in the first quarter the score was tied.
Stewart received the ensuing kick making a 10-yard reception return as the first quarter came to a close. Sticking with rushing carries by Stewart and Aaron Dillard the Lions moved the ball to the Devil 42-yard line facing fourth down and inches following measurement. Aaron Dillard got the call to carry advancing around the right side of the line of scrimmage following blockers before breaking away down field to the 9-yard line where the stop was finally made. The Devil defender was penalized for a horse collar tackle moving the ball half the distance to the goal line. With the snap of the ball, Dillard burst up the middle for the score with 7:42 remaining in the first half of play. Lining up for the kick on the PAT, Aldridge who serves as the holder passed the ball to Gabe Stidham who raced into the end zone for the two point conversion.
Anthony Dillard booted the ball on the ensuing kick with the Devil receiver signaling for a fair catch at the 34-yard line. The Purple Devil offensive front wasted little time reaching the end zone on first down with a pass connection along the right side line. After making the reception the receiver cut back to the middle of the field racing untouched for the score with only .17 seconds off the game clock. The two point conversion was unsuccessful with the stop being made short of the goal line by Miller and Robertson, leaving the score standing at 16 - 14 in favor of the Lions.
Aldridge received the ensuing kick at the 29-yard line rambling up field to the 36-yard line before the stop was made. Aaron Dillard took the ball to the Lion 49-yard line with two rushing attacks setting the offense up with another set of downs. First down brought Miller over left guard for a 4-yard gain but the Devils made the stop on Stewart on second down leaving the Lions facing third down and six at the Devil 47-yard line. Miller was stopped just short of the first down marker bringing up fourth down and inches for V. Benton and the offensive front. Electing to go for the yardage, changed the count enticing the Devil defense to jumped off-sides allowing the drive to continue. Stewart gained 4-yards on first down and Aaron Dillard took the ball to the 20-yard line following a 13-yard rushing attack over left guard. With the Lions setting at their red zone the Devil coaching staff called a time-out. Following the time-out, Aaron Dillard moved the ball deeper into the red zone after taking the hand-off and racing over right tackle breaking away from would be tacklers before the stop was made at the 8-yard line. Miller advanced behind blockers to reach the 4-yard line on first down. Facing second and goal, Aaron Dillard rushed up the middle for the touchdown with 1:50 remaining in the first half of play. The Lion coaching staff called time-out and elected to go for the two point conversion on the PAT. Aaron Dillard got the call to carry the ball but was met just short of the goal line leaving the score at 22 - 14 in favor of the Lions.
Aaron Dillard's onside kick was recovered by the Purple Devils at their own 47-yard line. First down brought a pass completion over the middle moving the ball to the Lion 37-yard line. Attempting to connect with a receiver deep down field was unsuccessful on first down forcing the Devil quarterback to scramble around in the backfield before running out of bounds. Following the play Ragland was penalized for an illegal block moving the ball back to the Lion 41-yard line. Pressure by the Lion defense forced another scramble by the Devil quarterback but he managed to escape and find a receiver deep down field where the connection was made and the receiver running out of bounds to save time on the clock. Facing first down with one minute remaining, Aaron Dillard burst into the backfield and sacked the quarterback for a loss. Following the play the Purple Devils were penalized for holding moving the ball to the 24-yard line. On first down Ragland went for it all attempting to make a pass connection in the end zone but Justin Franklin was not caught off-guard knocking the ball to the ground. Second down brought a pass completion over the middle with Stewart on the stop. Facing third down with time ticking off the clock the Devils called time out. With 30.1 seconds remaining, the quarterback couldn't find a receiver open so he tucked the ball away and raced for the end zone but was stopped just short of the goal line by a host of Lion defenders. On first down the ball was spiked to save time on the clock with only 20.1 seconds remaining. Second down and goal brought more of the same with the quarterback scrambling to elude tacklers in the backfield before passing into the end zone for the score with 14.4 seconds showing on the game clock. Electing to attempt the two point conversion to take the game into the locker room with a tie was unsuccessful as Aldridge knocked the ball away from the receiver.
Following an off-sides penalty on the ensuing kick, the Devils were forced to re-kick with the ball rolling to the 35-yard line where Dax Benton raced to the ball making the recovery for the Lions. On first down V. Benton took a knee allowing time to expire on the first half of play.
Opening the second half of play, Aaron Dillard's kick was received at the 7-yard line and returned to the 36-yard line where the runner elected to run out of bounds. Sticking with the air attack on first down, the Devil quarterback connected with his target deep down field with Franklin racing to make the saving stop at the 17-yard line. First down brought a rushing attack around the right end and out of bounds just short of the 15-yard line. A keeper with the quarterback scrambling around in the backfield proved successful on second down to give the home-standing Purple Devils their first lead of the night with 10:51 showing on the clock. The two point conversion was successful as well with the quarterback scrambling around the left side for the points leaving the score at 28 - 22.
The ensuing kick came to an abrupt stop at the 2-yard line with White scooping the ball up in an attempt to gain yardage for the Lion offensive front. Following the play the ball was moved back to the 3-yard line after the Lions were penalized for an illegal block in the back during the return. Miller was met on first down by a host of defenders after a 4-yard gain. Second down brought Aaron Dillard with the ball around the right side but he was stopped bringing up third down and 3-yards. Aaron Dillard got the call to carry again but was met immediately for the tackle setting up fourth down and 2-yards deep in the Lion red-zone at the 11-yard line. McKain Hubbert was sent to the field to punt the ball away, but the Lions caught the Purple Devils off guard by faking the punt and moving the ball to the 15-yard line to keep the short drive alive. Aaron Dillard took the hand-off on first down and raced around the right end where he was stopped. Penalty flags for a chop block resulted in a first down at the 25-yard line. Aaron Dillard was met for the stop on first down after a two yard gain. Second down brought Miller over left tackle bursting his way up field for a 14-yard gain. Aaron Dillard took the pitch-out from V. Benton and raced around the right side where he was shoved out of bounds at the Ragland 47-yard line. Rushing attacks by Stewart and Aaron Dillard moved the ball deeper into the Purple Devil territory with the Lions facing first down at the 18-yard line. Aaron Dillard once again took the pitch-out and burst his way behind blockers before being brought down from behind just inches from the goal line. V. Benton attempted the score with a quarterback keeper but was stopped at the goal line bringing up second down. On second down, Aaron Dillard was met in the backfield for the stop after a two yard loss. Facing third down and goal, Aaron Dillard got the call to rush up the middle but was met by a host of defenders for the stop at the 1-yard line setting up fourth down and goal. Sticking with Dillard on the rushing attack proved successful as he took the hand-off and raced around the right side of the line of scrimmage into the end zone for his fourth touchdown on the night. The PAT kick by Aaron Dillard, with Aldridge holding was blocked leaving the score tied 28 - 28 with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter of play.
Following the touchdown the Lion offensive front found themselves returning to the field quickly following a recovery of an on-side kick from the foot of Aaron Dillard. The excitement and momentum was short lived as on second down Stewart had the ball stripped from his hands with the Purple Devils recovering the loose ball at their own 32-yard line. Stewart and Aaron Dillard made the stop for no yardage gained on first down and on second down the attempted pass fell incomplete. Miller sacked the quarterback on third down for a five yard loss to bring up fourth down and 15-yards as the third quarter came to a close. Misery continued for the Devils as the snap on the punt attempt was high with Miller and Dakota Dozier in the backfield to make the tackle immediately. The Lion defense had made their strong stand after the turn-over resulting in a first down for V. Benton and the Lion offense deep in Ragland territory.
The Devils defense got off to a rocky start on first down after a penalty for jumping off-sides moved the ball to the 14-yard line. Aaron Dillard got the call to carry on the replay of down and raced to the 7-yard line where he was knocked out of bounds. Following measurement the Lions were facing first down and goal. Dillard once again took the hand-off and was brought down after a three yard gain. Sticking with Aaron Dillard on the rushing attack, the Lions moved the ball to the 2-yard line and following the play the Devils were penalized for a face mask penalty on the tackle moving the ball half the distance to the goal. Third down brought Aaron Dillard carrying the ball straight up the middle but he was met immediately by a host of defenders for no gain. Not to be withheld, Aaron Dillard fought his way over left guard for the score on fourth down and with 9:49 remaining in the game the Lions had regained the lead. Electing to attempt the two point conversion, Dillard took the hand-off from V. Benton and passed the ball to Aldridge in the end zone for what appeared to be a successful conversion but following a conference among the officials the ruling on the field was overturned and the points were taken from the scoreboard leaving the Lions with the lead at 34 - 28.
Aaron Dillard's ensuing kick was signaled for fair catch at the 39-yard line where the Ragland offense anxiously returned to the field. First down brought the ball carrier scrambling around the left end and forced out of bounds by Franklin at the Devils 45-yard line. With the snap of the ball the Lion defense found themselves with their backs against the wall as the Devil ball carrier took the pitch out and raced down field to the 15-yard line before being stopped. Aldridge and a host of angry defenders made the stop on first down at the 10-yard line. On second down the quarterback called his own number scrambling around the left side line where Blayke Hill forced him out of bounds at the 6-yard line. Facing third down and one, the quarterback scrambled his way up the middle where Stewart made the saving stop just short of the goal line. On first down, the ball carry rushed over right guard for the score with 7:53 showing on the clock. Following the successful kick on the PAT the Purple Devils regained the lead 35 - 34.
Attempting to catch the Lion kicking team off guard proved unsuccessful as Taylor Oden successfully recovered the onside kick setting the Lions up at their own 44-yard line. Stewart got the call to carry on first down gaining 2-yards and Aaron Dillard took the hand-off around the right side of the line of scrimmage reaching mid-field on second down. Facing third down and 4-yards, V. Benton on a keeper was met at the line of scrimmage for the stop. Faking the hand-off to Aaron Dillard, V. Benton instead gave the ball to Stewart who rambled around the left end reaching the 43-yard line keeping the drive alive before being tackled by a host of defenders. Miller got the call to carry on first down and picked up an additional 5-yards with Aaron Dillard taking the ball to the 28-yard line for another set of downs. Sticking with Aaron Dillard on the carry on the next three downs proved successful as the ball was moved inside the Devil red zone to the 14-yard line. First down brought Miller over left guard for a one yard gain. Aaron Dillard took the hand-off on second down and gained 4-yards setting up third down and 5-yards at the 8-yard line. Dillard got the call once again and rushed around the right end where he was met by a host of defenders for the stop just short of the first down marker. Facing fourth down and inches, Dillard again was called upon to advance the ball taking it to the 3-yard line where the saving tackle was made but not before setting up first down and goal with time ticking off the game clock. First down brought more of Aaron Dillard as he took the ball into the end zone for his sixth touchdown of the evening and reverting the lead back to the Lions with only 45.7 seconds remaining in the game. The PAT was successful with Aldridge taking the hand-off from V. Benton and passing the ball to Stewart in the end zone to leave the score standing at 42 - 35.
Aaron Dillard's ensuing kick was a line-driving kick which bounced off the face mask of the Devil receiver resulting in a scramble by both teams to recover the ball. The Purple Devils successful recovered the kick and set up their last offensive drive at their own 42-yard line. Blayke Hill made the stop on first down at the Devils 45-yard line following a scramble by the quarterback. In an attempt to elude the Lion defense with only 37 seconds remaining on the game clock, the Ragland quarterback attempted a passing attempt deep down field but Aldridge ended up making the reception by remaining in place to make the interception by snatching the ball from the receivers finger tips at the 15-yard line with only 28.5 seconds to play. Numerous penalty flags followed the play resulting in the Lions taking over at their own 30-yard line.
On first down, V. Benton took a knee allowing time too tick away with out the need for taking another snap of the ball from Bourland as the hard-fought game pursuit resulted in a first round play-off victory for the Lions with the final score 42 - 35.
The Lions will host the Spring Garden Panthers of Cherokee County on Friday night at 7p.m. The Panthers come into Wiley Hollingsworth Stadium with an overall 9 - 2 record following an over-time victory over the Shoals Christian Flame in the first round of the play-offs.
Comments from Coach Lamar Harris:
"Extremely proud of the team. The guys hung in really well tonight and played awful hard throughout the game. Ragland had a chance to win at the end but the fourth quarter was truly a rough one. We're just elated that we held on to secure the win. There were several times even late in the game when we could have folded but we didn't and that speaks volume for this group of guys. There were two faucets to the game tonight - the speed of Ragland's team and our conservative approach. It was a very decisive game and I'm glad the guys stuck with our game plan and as a team did what it took to bring home the win. We will make some adjustments from tonight's game and with hope we will continue our success as we prepare for the opportunities that lie ahead with the next game back home in our stadium."

Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 08:50
 
 

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