No comment from coach as Ringgold streak hits 16
WASHINGTON — Ringgold football coach Jeff Matty surely knew his rebuilding Rams did not stand much of a chance in their first four games against Quad-A powers, but felt his team could win Friday night in Trinity.
Ringgold’s performance appar-ently so disgusted Matty that he was left speechless.
The Rams (0-2, 0-5) committed 12 penalties for 120 yards and blew numerous opportunities in their 16th consecutive loss, a 31-17 defeat in a Quad West showdown at Hiller Stadium.
Matty offered little after the game, yelling from outside the locker room, “I have no comment. I really have nothing to say.”
Ringgold’s offense clicked for the first time all season, thanks largely to sophomore quarterback Phil Kevech, who in his first career start threw for 132 yards. He completed 10-of-23 passes while under heavy pressure from Trinity’s defense.
Adam Zewe started the season at quarterback for the Rams but has missed the past two because of an ankle injury. Corey Lomax, who was slated to run Ringgold’s offense at Trinity, was suspended a game for disciplinary reasons.
Kevech received plenty of help from fullback Mike McCurry, who rumbled for 121 yards on 20 carries.
But it was another fullback who put the Rams down early.
While Ringgold’s kickoff to start the game went through the end zone for a touchback, Ringgold committed the first of its 12 penalties, a 15-yarder on McCurry for a late hit.
Trinity then called a fullback trap run on the first play from scrimmage. Fullback Chance Varner scored the first of his three touchdowns by breaking through the Ringgold defense on his way to a 65-yard touchdown run.
“That’s the first time we’ve started fast all season,” Trinity coach Ed Dalton said. “It was a perfect way to start the game. Our running game was pretty effective all game.”
While the Rams were losing to North Allegheny, North Hills, Gateway, and Upper St. Clair in their first four games, the one thing Ringgold did particularly well was stop the run.
But against the Hillers, the Rams’ run defense did not resemble the unit that earlier in the season gave Andrew Johnson and Justin King, two of the WPIAL’s best runners, plenty of resistance.
Trinity and the Rams traded field goals later in the first. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Trinity faced a fourth-and-1 at its 48.
Dalton decided to go for it, and it paid off. Trinity faked a hand-off to Varner, who torched Ringgold earlier in the game. The Rams bit on the fake and back-up tailback Joey Allison took a pitch and went virtually untouched down the right sideline for a touchdown that put Trinity up, 17-3.
“Our tailbacks are almost interchangeable,” Dalton said. “They did a quality job tonight.”
To Ringgold’s credit, the Rams roared back on their next possession. McCurry, who had seen little resembling a hole in his first four games, ran behind the left side of Ringgold’s offensive line on his way to a 39-yard touchdown run.
“They showed us a lot of different looks tonight,” Dalton said. “They certainly wounded us at times. I think Coach Matty and his team did a good job. They play hard.”
Leading 17-10 late in the first half, Trinity marched through the Ringgold defense again, and Varner capped off the seven-play drive by plunging into the end zone from four yards our for his second score.
Ringgold received the second half kickoff, and Robert Heller gave the Rams good field position at their own 40. But on third down, Kevech was hit from behind, which forced a fumble recovered by Trinity at the Ringgold 35.
Anderson Hutchinson raced down the right sideline on the next play for 34 yards to the one, and Varner scored for the third time on the next play.
“Every time Ringgold made a big play, we came right back,” Dalton said.
But the Rams, down 31-10, came back again with the sophomore quarterback leading the way. After Kevech found Robert Heller for a big third-down conversion, McCurry scored his second touchdown from seven yards out.
Ringgold then established itself on defense for the first time. Facing a third down deep in Trinity territory, Hillers’ quarterback Jim Johnson was sacked by talented Ringgold linebacker Darnell Hawkins, forcing a Trinity punt.
The Rams took over at their own 43 and looked poised to get within a touchdown of Trinity. On fourth-and 10 from the Trinity 43, Kevech hit McCurry in the flat. McCurry broke a tackle, made a man miss, and picked up a great block from Hawkins on his way to an 11-yard reception that kept the drive alive.
A 15-yard Trinity penalty gave the Rams first down at the Hillers’ 17. Then the Rams’ fell apart.
Ringgold committed three pre-snap penalties on the next four plays. Kevech tried two desperation passes later in the drive while facing third and fourth downs and needing 18 for a first down, but both passes to Heller fell incomplete.
Ringgold got the ball back later in the fourth and Kevech again moved the Rams down the field. On fourth-and -12 at the Trinity 33, Kevech hit Heller for a 19-yard play down the right sideline.
But on fourth-and-one at the Trinity 6 with 2:50 left, Kevech’s sneak attempt fell inches short, giving Trinity the ball, and the win.
“It was a good football game,” Dalton said. “Both teams made a lot of mistakes, but both teams made plays.”
NOTES- McCurry’s 121 yards led all rushers…Heller’s 6 catches for 77 yards led all receivers…Hutchinson ran for 55 yards while Allison chipped in 59.