Rickards escapes with homecoming win over Bainbridge

By St. Clair Murraine

Outlook Staff Writer

The strategies were clear from the outset: Rickards High School was going to throw the ball and Bainbridge High School was going to take its chances on the legs of running back Dameon Pierce.
The script couldn’t have played out better. It just wasn’t anticipated that the Raiders would have to go down to the wire for the second consecutive week for a two-point win, 36-34.
The homecoming win was the third straight for the Raiders.
Phillips completed 15 of 24 pass attempts for 208 yards, including a 52-yarder to Javon Wooten in the fourth quarter for the deciding touchdown. Wooten hurdled two Bearcat defenders to make the leaping catch.
Not for one second did he second-guess his decision to make the pass, said Phillips, stressing the Raiders’ advantage in man-to-man matchups.
“It’s very hard to cover us man-to-man because of a lot of skill we have on our team,” Phillips said. “We just exploited that the whole time.”
Phillips found Wooten four times for 127 yards. Phillips also led the Raiders in rushing with 95 yards on 10 carries.
The one time the Raiders didn’t have the edge against Bainbridge’s secondary was on their final possession. After engineering a drive that put Rickards on the Bearcats’ 2 yard line, Phillips lobbed a pass into the end zone that was picked off.
That left it to Raiders’ defense to make one more stop, as they did twice when they stalled Bainbridge on downs inside the red zone. They delivered; stopping Pierce who carried the ball on every remaining Bearcats’ possession.
Phillips heaped praise on the defensive unit that was led by Justin Cruse’s seven tackles, a sack and a quarterback hurry.
“They were great,” Phillips said of Cruse and the rest of the unit. “When they (the Bearcats) forced me outside, they were great.”
Pierce finished the night with a school record 330 yards.
“We knew he was going to be tough; that it would be real hard to stop that guy,” said Raiders coach Quintin Lewis. “We knew it was going to take every last one of us in a big effort to win the game.”