Rickards Gets Past Leon with 12-10 Victory
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer
Leon High School fans finally got something to cheer about in its game against Rickards High School.
Their football team was inside the 20 with fewer than 10 seconds left in the final quarter, needing just a field goal to secure a victory last Friday at Gene Cox Stadium.
Boom! Just as quickly as the Lions moved down field, the opportunity evaporated as Jack Digger’s kick sailed wide of the upright.
It was that kind of a night for the Lions in a game that Rickards controlled in the first half before the Raiders’ offense became anemic and they had to settle for a 12-10 victory.
For the second time in as many games, the Raiders could thank their defense. Constant pressure on quarterback Tyhran Glasco kept Leon off balanced – at least in the first half.
Then, the Raiders’ offense went cold.
“We were missing little things like blocks and missed reads,” said Raiders quarterback D.J. Phillips. “We’ve got to be dialed in for the whole four quarters but we were dialed in for one or two. It almost cost us. We weren’t mentally focused.”
“I think that was God; just blessing us with this win.”
But after taking a 12-3 lead at half time, the last touchdown scoring on a short run by Phillips near the end of the second quarter, Rickards wouldn’t score again.
The Lions also made their only trip into the end zone on the legs of their quarterback.
With the help of two penalties, Leon moved the ball 58 yards to the Raiders’ 2-yard line, just inches from a first down. They got that on the ensuing play and punched it in one play later on a 1-yard run by Glasco for the final score that would stand.
In addition to the lack of offense in the second half, the Raiders problems were compounded by two errant snaps in the fourth quarter.
“Really, it was a lack of focus for us,” said Raiders head coach Quintin Lewis. “We kept (Leon) in the game. I always tell those guys that championship teams find a way to win the tough ones and we ended up winning this one tonight.”
But Lewis was obviously concerned about the Raiders’ lackadaisical approach late in the game, saying it will be his mantra this week.
“We had total control for the first half, but I don’t know what team left the locker room (after halftime),” he said. “They weren’t the Rickards Raiders. We had to grit it out; fight it out. We’ve been having lapses. We need to stay focused.”
The most yards produced out of the Raiders’ backfield came from running back Marcus Riley with 20 on five carries. Phillips completed 13 of 22 passes for 158 yards. Most of that was accounted for by receivers Javon Wooten (four catches for 32 yards) and Carless Rollins (two catches for 54 yards).
Lake City Columbia 23, Lincoln 14.
After three football games, Lincoln High School is still winless. All against top-rated opponent.
But coach Yusuf Shakir wouldn’t have wanted his team to play a lighter schedule just to pad its record.
“To be the best; you’ve got to beat the best so we don’t want to go around stealing cupcakes because you get a false sense of who you really are,” Shakir said, following the Trojans’ 23-14 loss to Lake City Columbia. “That’s what we don’t want to do for our kids. We want to give them reality.”
In this case, the reality was consecutive dropped passes and an untimely interception that robbed the Trojans of scoring opportunities. Two missed field goals also contributed to Lincoln’s woes.
On top of that, the Tigers displayed a stout defense, especially in the second half.
“Lake City is a traditional state power,” Shakir said. “We knew it was going to be this way, but we’ve got to step up.”
That’s exactly the way Columbia’s coach felt after his team was beaten a week earlier. He said they spent the week of practice concentrating on doing exactly what they did against Lincoln.
“The main thing was being able to play hard and fast,” Allen said. “That was something we honed in and harped on.”