Indians pull away from Rockets in fourth quarter
Mount Gilead’s football team broke into the win column on Friday thanks to a second-half scoring explosion.
The Indians only held a 7–0 advantage at the intermission and, despite their offense starting to click more consistently in the second half, didn’t seem able to shake the Rockets, who matched them score for score until the early moments of the fourth quarter.
However, after the Rockets got a touchdown on the first play of the fourth period on a 21-yard scoring reception by Spencer Golden to climb within a 21–14 margin, the Indians took over the game, which they wound up winning by a 41–14 score.
Tyler Bashaw gave the Indians good field position by returning the ensuing kickoff to the Ridgedale 30. The Indian senior then continued to help the team by running for 16 yards on a play that also saw the Rockets flagged for a personal foul — moving the ball to the seven-yard line.
Ronnie Ferguson then gained six to set up a one-yard score by Bashaw. Michael Bland, who hit five of six extra point tries, then made the score 28–14.
Bashaw then made a big play on defense, recovering a Ridgedale fumble and sprinting roughly 45 yards for another Mount Gilead touchdown to give them a 35–14 lead with 9:46 to play in the game.
After the Indians stopped their guests on downs on their next possession, it didn’t take long for them to put the game away, as quarterback Brandon Young hit Bland on a 38-yard completion that resulted in another touchdown. While the extra point was missed on that score, Mount Gilead’s 41–14 lead easily held up the rest of the way.
Mount Gilead coach Steve Ringer was happy with how his team finished off the game, especially after last week when Elgin made a second-half comeback to topple the Indians.
“I hope we learned from last week,” he said. “It was disheartening to lose that game, but this week, whenever Ridgedale answered, we’d come back. We played hard in the second half and really stepped it up, but still have to put a full game together.”
Ringer felt that his team made too many errors in the first half. The main problem was issues in the shotgun formation with the center/quarterback ex-change, as misplayed snaps stalled more than one drive.
Fortunately for the Indians, their defense prevented Ridgedale from capitalizing on anything in the early going. The Rockets had a golden chance to score on the game’s opening drive, as they moved the ball to the Mount Gilead 16, but a fumbled snap followed by two quarterback sacks pushed them back to the 36 and forced them to punt on fourth-and-30.
While the Indians struggled to get things going offensively in the first half and suffered two turnovers, they did muster one strong drive that led to them holding a seven-point halftime advantage.
Young led the team on a 13-play drive that ate nearly seven minutes off the clock and ended with a two-yard score by Bashaw with 10:32 remaining in the second period. A 44-yard pass to Bland was a key play on the drive, moving the ball from the Indian 5 to their 49, as they went the length of the field for their touchdown.
In the second half, the MG coaches decided to scrap the shotgun and also worked on running the ball to the outside — two factors that contributed to their 34-point second half.
“We noticed we were having trouble with the shotgun snap and decided to go under center,” said Ringer. “We got them the jet sweep in the second half.”
While Mount Gilead didn’t score on their first possession of the second half, their defense shut down the Rockets again and they got the ball on the Ridgedale 36 after a bad snap on a punt attempt.
Then, with the ball on the Rocket 17, a pass to Kolby Fisher was deflected, but landed in Steven Harman’s hands to boost the Indian lead to a 14–0 margin.
Ridgedale came right back with a 59-yard scoring run by Daniel Payne, but the Indians responded; going 64 yards in seven plays. Both Bland and Ronnie Ferguson had runs of 20 or more yards on the drive and Ferguson finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make the score 21–7.
While the Rockets kept the score close into the fourth quarter, Mount Gilead pulled away over the final 12 minutes to improve to 1–2 on the season. Ridgedale falls to 0–3.
Ringer noted that his team stepped up when they needed to on both offense and defense to both prevent the Rockets from getting momentum and then to put the game away in the final minutes.
“That’s what we need to be a good football team — someone to step up and make big plays,” he said. “It’s about knowing their assignments and doing their assignments and making a big play.”