Knights survive feisty Ashley Ridge effort

  • Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stratford defenders Cecil Smith (40) and Jordan McArthur stop Ashley Ridge running back Tyler Garland. ROB GANTT

There was certainly no shortage of tremendous plays turned in by both sides on Friday night at Stackley Field.
Stratford quarterback Jacob Park threw for 346 yards and connected on four touchdown passes to power the Knights to a 42-27 victory over Ashley Ridge.
Park’s touchdown tosses covered 88 and 80 yards to Thad Thompson and 64 and 17 to Tyree Scroggins as he torched the winless Foxes.
Jordan Johnson added 101 yards rushing and scored on runs of 6 and 3 yards for the Knights. Thompson finished with three catches for 178 yards while Scroggins made four grabs for 98 yards as Stratford improved to 4-0.
Ashley Ridge fell to 0-4.
Knights coach Ray Stackley praised Ashley Ridge for its effort but was concerned with his own team’s mental approach heading into the game.
“I’m really upset with them a little bit,” Stackley said of his players. “We’ve talked about respecting your opponent and valuing your opponent and doing what you do best and not worrying about team’s records.”
And Ashley Ridge was in it until the end.
The game got interesting, especially in the second half.
Ashley Ridge had some big-time plays itself, mostly from dazzling return man Donovan Thompson. Thompson returned a kickoff 98 yards and a punt return 80 yards, both for scores when Stratford was up by 21 points.
Thompson’s punt return cut Ashley Ridge’s deficit to 35-21 with 10:11 left in the game and the Foxes pulled within one possession when Chandler Avenel hooked up with Sean White on a 76-yard score with 7:32 left.
A blocked extra point left Stratford clinging to a 35-27 lead. Avenel finished with 149 yards.
Ashley Ridge got the ball back at its own 26 with 4:12 remaining but Stratford linebacker Menre Rice got through to jar the ball loose from Avenel and teammate T.J. Deveaux returned it to the Foxes 4.
Two plays later, Johnson’s second touchdown run iced it with 2:25 left. Kicker Tyler Tekac was perfect on six extra points.
“We fought back and I’m proud of the guys for that,” Ashley Ridge coach Kenny Walker said. “We’ve got something to build on for the second half of the season… If we play like we did tonight, we’re going to win some ballgames down the road.”
Ashley Ridge’s other touchdown was a 14-yard run by Tyler Garland early in the second quarter after a punt hit a Stratford player.
“I said (to the players) if you’re going to beat the good teams you want to beat you can’t play down to your opponent,” Stackley said. “You can’t give up three specials teams touchdowns to anybody. They turned the momentum around two or three times on us.”
Taylor Morrison had two interceptions for the Knights and Michael Simmons blocked a punt.
Stratford plays Colleton County on Friday, while Ashley Ridge takes on Cane Bay.

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