Ridgeway strikes first and holds on to capture 4A Region 8 District championship

East running back sensation Timothy Taylor bottled up as Roadrunners beat the Mustangs..

Terry Davis, Special to The New Tri-State Defender | 10/31/2016, 1:59 p.m.
Ridgeway pushed past East for the 4A Region 8 crown.
East prepares to score on a quarterback sneak. (Photo: Terry Davis)

The battle between the East Mustangs and the Ridgeway Roadrunners for the 4A Region 8 District Championship at Melrose was packed with excitement, with both teams pushing forward to the very end.

Ridgeway won the game and claimed the championship with a 32-23 win.

The Mustangs’ running back Timothy Taylor, known for his offensive prowess, got East off to a good on defense making a couple of tackles for loss on Ridgeway’s opening drive. Mustangs’ quarterback Justin Lynn hit senior wide receiver Qwynnterrio Cole for a 47-yard completion to the Roadrunner’s two-yard line. From there, Lynn make it across the goal line on a quarterback sneak to give the Mustangs the early 7-0 lead after the kick.

The Roadrunners were not fazed by the early success of the Mustangs. Junior wide receiver Kundarrious Taylor would put on a show. He scored on 31-yard run, a two-point conversion and another 30-yard run to give the Roadrunners a 14-7.

With 5:18 left in the half, Roadrunners quarterback Tyrique Sandusky connected with senior wide receiver Vincent Taylor on a 30-yard touchdown to extend Ridgeway’s lead to 20-7. The run attempt after the touchdown was unsuccessful.

With 2:30 left in the half, East gained possession on its 26-yard line. Lynn fumbled the long snap for a loss of six yards, which led to a three-and-out possession.

As a result, the Roadrunners got the football back on the 42-yard line. Four plays later, Sandusky found K Taylor for a seven yard-receiving touchdown to further extend the lead to 26-7.

After a very short kickoff by the Roadrunners, the got a great kickoff return to Rigdeway’s 40-yard line. At the end of the play, there was a penalty for a late hit, which then placed the ball at the 25-yard line. Lynn hit senior wide receiver Shane Carpenter for 16 yards to move the ball to the 9 yard line. With 26 seconds left in the first half, Lynn connected with Jaylon Burrus for a 9-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 26-13. After a couple of offside calls, the football was placed on the half yard line and East decided to go for the two-point play. Lynn behind the power of his offensive line had no problem crossing the goal line to make it 26-15.

The scoreboard did not work anytime during the game and the time left in the game was kept on the field. That proved to be a factor the entire second half. The second half was a defensive struggle with each team getting an interception, but neither was able to capitalize on the turnover.

In the fourth quarter, the Mustangs put together a 49-yard drive capped off with an 18-yard pass from Lynn to senior receiver Darrian Caster. The two-point conversion was good and the Roadrunner’s lead was cut to 26-23 with three minutes left to play.

The game ended with Roadrunner senior defensive end Symon White forcing Lynn to fumble in the end zone. White recovered for the Ridgeway touchdown, making the final margin of 32-23.

Ridgeway head coach Durron Sutton put together a game play to contain Tim Taylor.

“We found ways to bottle him up. That was the focus of our whole week of practice. East goes as Taylor goes,” Sutton said. “We had opportunities throughout the game and we were trying to find ways to give it away. We have to find a way to shore that up and get ready for next week.”

Ridgeway (7-3) will host Hardin County (7-3) on Friday (November 4) at 7 p.m. in the first round of the state playoffs.

East Head Coach Marcus Wimberly said, “This is what a championship game should be, come down to the end. Hopefully we will see them again this season.”

Referring to Ridgeway’s containment of Taylor, Wimberly said, “We did not do a good job of blocking on the perimeter. Our receivers have to do a better job of blocking. That was the key to the game.”

East (8-2) will host Jackson Northside (7-3) on Friday at 7 p.m.