Football News 2014 Football News 2014 Ragland Write-up
2014 Ragland Write-up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Allen J. Dunavant   
Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00

The Hubbertville Lions football team boarded buses and headed west to meet up with the Ragland Purple Devils in the quarter finals of the Alabama High School State Play-offs on Friday night. Serving as team captains for the Lions were Dax Benton, Antony Dillard, D.J. Pitts, Jr. and Tre Tranum. Ragland won the coin toss and elected to defer sending D. Benton and Austin Palmer back to receive Christopher Burnham's opening kick. A. Palmer fielded the ball at the 14-yard line advancing up field to the 31-yard line with John Brewer and Rodney Isbell on the stop for the Devils.

Vess Benton and the Lion offensive front took the field for their opening possession and wasted little time taking the ball down the field for the early score. The Lions elected to pursue the rushing attack with D. Benton taking the ball over right guard for ten-yards on first down. Nathan Young took the hand-off around the right side of the line of scrimmage but the Lions were penalized for an illegal chop block moving the ball back to the 26-yard line. The replay of down brought A. Dillard with the rushing attack around the left end with Brewer and Jadon Killings making the stop at the 28-yard line but following the play the Devils were penalized for a personal foul moving the ball up field to the 43-yard line. D. Benton took the hand-off over the right side of the line of scrimmage for a two-yard gain on first down with Coby Fuller and Killings making the tackle. On second down, V. Benton called upon D. Benton to continue the rushing pursuit and he took the hand-off out of the backfield for the 55-yard rushing touchdown putting the Lions on the scoreboard first with 10:02 showing on the clock. The PAT kick by McKain Hubbert was unsuccessful leaving the score 6 - 0.

The Purple Devils offense took the field for their first possession beginning at the Lions 47-yard line. Keeping the ball on the ground on first down proved unsuccessful with N. Young on the stop after a two-yard gain. Second down brought penalty flags flying prior to the snap for an illegal procedure moving the Devils back to their own 49-yard line. On the replay of down, Stoney Merritt connected with his receiver thru the air along the left side with Gabe Stidham and Zack Reeves making the tackle immediately setting up third down and nine-yards at mid-field. The Devils reverted back to the ground attack with Triston Turner rushing up the middle with M. Hubbert, K. Parson and a host of others on the stop. The Devils were penalized for an illegal block pushing the ball back to their own 36-yard line. Merritt went back to the air attack and connected with Killings over the middle resulting in a first down at the Lions 35-yard line. Turner took the hand-off advancing up the middle with Parson, M. Hubbert and others on the tackle and following the play the Devils were moved back as the result of another personal foul. Facing second down at the 49-yard line, Merritt attempted a pass to Killings along the right side line but V. Benton was on coverage resulting in an incompletion. N. Young made the solo tackle on Killings on third down leaving the Devils facing fourth down and two yards with the Devils punting the ball away on fourth down.

The Lions started their second offensive possession at their own 20-yard line as the result of the ball rolling into the end zone on the punt. A. Palmer took the ball out of the backfield for an eight yard gain on first down with Dylan Lively and others on the stop. Second down brought more of D. Benton with the hand-off advancing around the right end and out of bounds at the 43-yard line resulting in a 15-yard gain. N. Young got the call to carry on first down advancing to the Devils 45-yard line for another first down and with the snap of the ball the Lions were setting at the Devils 34 yard line with another first down due to another excellent rushing attack by D. Benton. V. Benton called D. Benton's number once again resulting in an additional three-yard gain with the stop being made by Lively and a host of others. Second down brought more of D. Benton with the ball around the right end where Donovan Turner remained in position making the stop leaving the Lions facing third down and six-yards at the Devils 29-yard line. D. Benton took the pitch-out advancing deeper but the play was called back after the Lions were penalized for an illegal procedure resulting in third down and 10-yards at the 34-yard line. A. Palmer took the hand-off advancing around the left side of the line of scrimmage where he was stopped two-yards short leaving the Lions facing fourth down. A. Dillard got the call to fight for the needed yardage but following the play he was ruled down just short of the first down marker resulting in the ball over on downs to the Devils just shy of the 24-yard line.

Merritt called his own number on first down but D. Benton and N. Young were in position for the tackle after a five-yard gain. Second down brought Turner out of the backfield rushing up the middle with V. Benton on the tackle at the fifty-yard line. Killings rushed around the left side of the line on first down with Parson on the stop after a five-yard gain. Braxton Thomas got the call to fight for yardage advancing over the right side of the line for the first down at the 30-yard line. Merritt moved the ball deeper on first down after a 4-yard gain with M. Hubbert, D.J. Pitts and G. Stidham on the stop. Second down brought Merritt connecting thru the air on the passing attack with Adam Sanders but he was met immediately for the stop by G. Stidham, M. Hubbert and others resulting in a two-yard loss. Facing third down and eight-yards, Merritt was brought down at the line by a host of defenders resulting in fourth down and nine-yards. The Devil coaching staff elected to fight for the needed yardage with Merritt attempting a pass connection with Killings but V. Benton was on coverage knocking the ball out of Killings hands, resulting in the ball going over on downs to the Lions.

V. Benton and the Lion offense wasted little time finding the end zone on their possession. First down brought N. Young over left guard for a three-yard gain with Killings making the stop. A. Dillard was met near the line on second down resulting in third down and five at the Lions 35-yard line. With the snap of the ball, V. Benton connected deep down field with G. Stidham who raced to the end zone for the score with 9:46 remaining in the second quarter of play. The two point conversion was unsuccessful on the PAT leaving the score 12 - 0.

Coby Fuller and Killings lined up deep to receive the ensuing kick from M. Hubbert with Justin Hancock making the solo tackle at the Devils 44-yard line. First down brought Killings rambling around the right end where A. Palmer and V. Benton made the saving tackle at the Lions 22-yard line. Misery continued for the Purple Devils as D.J. Pitts, Jr. pounced on the loose ball recovering the fumble for the Lions at their own 24-yard line. First down brought Thomas, Turner and others into the backfield making the stop on D. Benton resulting in a five-yard loss. V. Benton called upon N. Young to fight for needed yardage with Young taking the hand-off around the left end fighting off would be tacklers advancing to the Lions 34-yard line for a 15-yard rushing gain with Jagger Phillips making the saving tackle. Dylan Lively made the stop on D. Benton at the line of scrimmage on first down. D. Benton took the hand-off from V. Benton on second down then passed the ball back to him with V. Benton advancing down the left side line for another first down at the Purple Devils 47-yard line with Noah Hollingsworth making the stop. Levi Campbell, Merritt, Turner and others made the stop on D. Benton on first down and on second down V. Benton called his own number scrambling down field to the 34-yard line to keep the drive alive. A. Dillard took the hand-off up the middle for a nine-yard gain with Killings, Merritt and a host of others on the stop. V. Benton rambled for seven additional yards for the first down setting the Lions up in the Devils red-zone at the 18-yard line. First down brought more of A. Dillard up the middle with Coby Fuller, Killings and others making the stop after an eight-yard gain. N. Young took the hand-off rambling across the left side of the line of scrimmage for the first down at the 4-yard line with Brewer making the saving tackle. With the snap of the ball, D. Benton found himself standing straight up in the end zone for his second touchdown of the night with 4:05 remaining in the first half. The Lions lined up for a two point conversion on the PAT but found themselves being penalized for an illegal procedure resulting in a kick attempt by M. Hubbert on the replay. Once again the Lions were unsuccessful adding additional points to their score on their PAT attempts, resulting in the scoreboard reading 18 - 0 in favor of the visiting Lions.

M. Hubbert's ensuing kick was fielded at the 34-yard line where a host of Lion defenders made the immediate tackle setting up the Purple Devils offense. First down brought Killings out of the backfield with the hand-off with M. Hubbert, D.J. Pitts, Jr. and others making the stop after a four yard gain. Sticking with Killings on second down the Devils moved the ball to the Lions 47-yard line where he raced out of bounds. First down brought more of Killings with the rushing attack with A. Dillard on the stop at the 42-yard line. Facing second down and five-yards, Merritt went to the passing attack connecting with Thomas along the left side line with Thomas stepping out of bounds at the 12-yard line. With the ball deep in the Lions red zone, Turner took the hand-off over the right side of the line of scrimmage with G. Stidham and N. Young making the tackle at the 7-yard line. Facing second down and goal, Killings took the hand-off to the end zone over the right side for the score with 1:57 remaining on the clock. The PAT kick by Burnham was perfectly executed and the homestanding Purple Devils had points on their side of the scoreboard with the Lions still in the lead 18 - 7.

Burnham's ensuing kick was fielded by Hancock at the 24-yard line and advanced to the Lions 41-yard line where he was brought down by a host of defenders. First down brought A. Palmer out of the backfield with the hand-off for a two-yard gain with Killings and a host of others on the tackle. V. Benton went to the air in an attempt to connect with A. Palmer on second down but the pass fell incomplete leaving the Lions facing third down and eight-yards. D. Benton got the call to fight for the needed yardage and gained seven yards fighting his way around the right side of the line of scrimmage before being stopped by Lively, Turner and a host of others. Facing fourth down and inches, the Devils jumped off-sides resulting in a first down for the Lions at the Ragland 46-yard line. First down brought a pass from V. Benton to G. Stidham along the left side line with Stidham being ruled out of bounds at the 27-yard line. D. Benton took the hand-off out of the backfield around the left end where he was forced out of bounds at the 12-yard line. First down brought D. Benton with the carry once again but he was met after a one yard gain for the stop leaving the Lions facing second down and nine-yards at the Ragland 11-yard line. V. Benton called upon D. Benton to fight for yardage with D. Benton taking the pitch-out to the 5-yard line where the stop was made by Killings and others. On third down V. Benton was sacked in the backfield leaving the Lions facing fourth down and six-yards at the 8-yard line. V. Benton connected with G. Stidham who was standing in the end zone all alone for his second touchdown of the night. The two point conversion was successful on the PAT with V. Benton calling his own number and fighting his way behind blockers up the middle for the points. With 16.9 remaining in the first half the Lions lead increased to 26 - 7.

John Upton and N. Young made the stop on Killings following M. Hubbert's ensuing kick with the Devils being penalized for a personal foul at the end of the run moving the ball back down field to the 25-yard line. First down brought Merritt completing a pass over the middle to Thomas who was brought down for the tackle immediately by D. Benton at the Devils 39-yard line. Merritt was brought down behind the line on first down by D. Benton, Caleb Palmer and A. Palmer as time expired on the first half of play.

The on-side kick by M. Hubbert opening the second half of play was fielded by the Devils at their own 45-yard line. Merritt returned his offense to the field and on first down attempted a pass connection with Thomas deep down the right side line but V. Benton was on coverage for the Lions knocking the ball away. Second down brought Thomas over right guard but Parson was on the stop after a five-yard gain. Facing third down, Merritt connected with a pass to Killings in the backfield with Reeves and A. Palmer on the stop immediately leaving the Devils facing fourth down and five-yards at mid-field. Following a time-out by the Ragland coaching staff, Merritt attempted a pass connection with Killings but the ball was overthrown with pressure applied to Merritt by M. Hubbert, resulting in the ball being turned over on downs to the Lions.

D. Benton took the hand-off around the right end on first down with Dale Darden, Jr. and Fuller making the tackle after an eight yard gain. Second down brought N. Young over right guard fighting off would be tacklers advancing down field to the 30-yard line where a host of angry defenders finally brought him down for the stop. D. Benton took the hand-off around the left side for another seven yards with Turner making the solo tackle at the 13-yard line. The Lions lost five-yards after being penalized for a delay moving the ball back to the 18-yard line. With the snap of the ball D. Benton regained the yardage moving the ball deep on the Devils with the stop being made by Hollingsworth near the 4-yard line. Facing first down and goal, D. Benton finished the drive by marching his way untouched into the end zone for his third touchdown of the evening with 8:16 remaining in the third quarter. The two point conversion on the PAT was unsuccessful as the pass intended for G. Stidham was deflected near the line of scrimmage by Hollingsworth leaving the score standing at 32 - 7.

M. Hubbert's ensuing kick was fielded at the 16-yard line by Phillips who met at the 35-yard line by Nick Smith and N. Young for the take-down. First down brought Killings out of the backfield with the ball but Reeves and A. Palmer were in position for the stop resulting in no yardage gained on the play. Killings continued the rushing attack on second down but was brought down in the backfield by D. Benton for a two-yard loss. D.J. Pitts, Jr. and Luke Stidham made their way across the line of scrimmage and sacked Merritt on third down resulting in a seven yard loss bringing up fourth down and 11-yards for the Devils. Burnham lined up in the backfield and punted the ball away with Hancock back to make the reception for the Lions. Hancock allowed the ball to roll dead at the Lions 39-yard line setting V. Benton and the offensive front up.

First down brought D. Benton scrambling around in the backfield and fighting around the right end for a four yard gain before a host of defenders made the stop. N. Young took the hand-off but was met immediately for the stop after a one-yard gain and on third down V. Benton's pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage by Brewer bringing up fourth down and five-yards. M. Hubbert dropped back and punted the ball away with the ball rolling out of bounds at the Devil's 37-yard line.

Killings took the direct snap and was brought down by N. Young after a four yard gain on first down. Second down brought T. Turner up the middle with Jacob Stovall, G. Stidham, Parson and a host of others on the tackle after a five-yard gain. Facing third down and one yard, Killings fought for the needed yardage up the middle for the first down at mid-field. V. Benton made the interception deep down field at the 22-yard line snatching the ball out of the air directly in front of Campbell's reach.

First down for the Lions brought more of D. Benton with the rushing attack around the left side of the line of scrimmage with Brewer, Lively and others on the stop after a three yard gain. Following a time-out by the Lions, N. Young took the ball out of the backfield rushing up the middle for a 15-yard gain. First down brought A. Palmer around the left end with the carry where he was forced out of bounds after a five-yard gain. D. Benton got the call to carry fighting his way up the middle behind blockers for an additional six yard gain awarding the Lions the first down at the Devils 49-yard line. N. Young fought his way over left guard for an additional five yards with Devin Turner making the solo stop. D. Benton took the hand-off over right guard for additional yardage moving the ball across mid-field to the Devils 47-yard line as the third quarter of play came to a close. With the snap of the ball the Lions were penalized for a holding call moving the ball back to their own 47-yard line. First down brought Joseph Rutledge out of the backfield with the rushing attack for a two yard gain. N. Young took the hand-off around the left end and was forced out of bounds by Hollingsworthafter a four yard gain setting up third down and three yards for the Lions at the Devils 46-yard line. V. Benton called upon G. Stidham and went to the air attack connecting with Stidham deep down field with Stidham making a sliding catch at the 20-yard line. First down brought J. Rutledge over right tackle for a seven yard gain. N. Young took the hand-off over left guard on second down fighting for three yards setting up first down and goal for the Lions. First down brought A. Dillard up the middle where he was met for the stop by Hollingsworth, Thomas, Lively and others resulting in no gain on the play. Facing second down and goal, Mason Stidham took the hand-off out of the backfield and rambled around the left end for the score with 7:43remaining in the game. The PAT kick by M. Hubbert was good but penalty flags resulted in a re-kick after the Lions and the Devils were both penalized. On the re-kick the ball hit the right side of the goal  post resulting in no additional points leaving the score standing at 38 - 7 in favor of the Lions.

M. Hubbert's ensuing kick was received at the 22-yard line by Phillips who was brought down for the stop at the 32-yard line by Smith. The Devils were moved back an additional five yards for delay of game and on the replay of down, Thomas advanced the ball to the Lions 35-yard line on the reverse where he was brought down by Hancock. First down brought another penalty flag against the Lions for an interference call on the passing attempt to Thomas. Facing first down at the 20-yard line, Reeves stepped in front of a pass intended for McClendon, almost intercepting the ball. Sticking with the passing attack, A. Palmer defended against Killings in the end zone knocking the ball to the ground with A. Dillard applying pressure on Merritt in the backfield. A. Dillard and D.J. Pitts, Jr. fought their way across the line of scrimmage sacking Merritt on third down with penalty flags being thrown against the Devils for holding. Facing fourth down from the 24-yard line, Merritt went deep to the end zone for the pass completion with Thomas for the score and with 6:19 remaining in the game the Devils added additional points to their side of the scoreboard. The two point conversion on the PAT was unsuccessful leaving the score at 38 - 13.

Burnham's ensuing on-side kick was fielded by Hancock at mid-field setting up the Lion offense with short field position. Hancock brought the Lion offensive front to the line with M. Stidham taking the hand-off for a two yard gain on first down. Second down brought more of M. Stidham advancing the ball out of the backfield around the left end for an eighteen yard gain. Facing first down at the 30-yard line, Hancock called upon Rutledge to move the ball deeper with Rutledge taking the hand-off to the 25-yard line. Second down brought M. Stidham around the left end once again for another first down before being shoved out of bounds by Adam Cotton at the 6-yard line. First and goal brought Rutledge with the hand-off over the right side into the end zone for the touchdown with 4:08 remaining in the contest. M. Hubbert's kick on the PAT was blocked and the score stood 44 - 13.

M. Hubbert's ensuing kick sailed out of bounds setting the Devils up at their own 35-yard line. First down brought Killings out of the backfield with the carry over the right side of the line of scrimmage M. Stidham making the stop at the Lion's 42-yard line. Sticking with Killings on the rushing attack, the Devils were penalized for a holding call placing the ball down at the Lion 40-yard line. Second down brought more of Killings with the carry around the right side of the line of scrimmage and M. Stidham and a host of other defenders on the tackle for the Lions. Facing third down the Ragland coaching staff called for a time-out and with the restart of the game, Merritt went to the air connecting with McClendon who rambled his way down field for the score with 2:27 left on the clock. The PAT kick by Burnham was good and the score increased 44 - 20.

Rutledge recovered the on-side kick from Burnham at mid-field setting Hancock and the Lions up with short field position once again. The Lions were moved back five yards on first down for a false start and following a time-out by the Lions they found themselves penalized once again for delay moving the ball back to the 40-yard line. Third down brought additional yardage loss as Killings made the stop in the backfield forcing M. Hubbert back onto the field to punt the ball away. Hubbert's punt rolled dead at the Devil's 15-yard line.

First down brought Merritt connecting on a pass with Phillips deep down field with Phillips racing out of bounds after the catch at the Lions 46-yard line. Sticking with the passing attack, Merritt connected with Killings down field with Smith and Mason Drummond making the stop at the 15-yard line. First down brought another pass attempt to Thomas but the ball fell incomplete setting up second down and ten yards in the Lions red zone. Sticking with the passing attack was unsuccessful on second down as Merritt attempted a pass connection with McClendon deep in the end zone but pressure by Clay Gary forced the ball to be over thrown setting up third down. J. Rutledge ended the scoring threat by intercepting Merritts pass intended for McClendon in the end zone with only 6.2 seconds remaining in the contest.

Hancock took the snap on first down at the Lion's 20-yard line and took a knee ending the game with the scoreboard showing 44 - 20 in favor of the visiting Lions.

The Lions (12 - 0) will host the Marion County Red Raiders (8 -5) in the semi-finals of the Championship Play-offson Friday night at Wiley Hollingsworth Stadium. Game time is 7pm.

Comments from Head Coach Lamar Harris:
"The guys came out and played really well tonight. We really had a very good game offensively and our confidence grew in this contest tonight as the game continued. We had an outstanding performance on both sides of the ball during the first half of the game and that was a big part of the game plan. Our defense stood strong during the first half except for the one quick score just before the break at half. The strong defensive stands as well as the offensive scoring drives allowed us to utilize our younger guys in the second half of the game. We had a hard physically fought game tonight and we knew what to expect before we made the trip out here. Our plan was to come out on the field and take control of the game early in this contest and that's just what we did. The guys remained focus and showed their composure through some critical points during the game and we just need to continue playing our "game". We are still pursuing our goals and we are excited about the opportunity to continue playing on our home field in front of our home crowd on Friday night."

Last Updated on Sunday, 23 August 2015 20:15
 
 

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