Doctor writes prescription for Swamp Fox recovery
The Swamp Fox football team scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter Thursday to extend its season.
With its back against the wall, Ashley Ridge (4-7, 3-2 in Region 8-AAAA) had one of its best performances of the year to earn a 41-20 victory over Fort Dorchester (5-6, 2-3) and earn a playoff berth.
“Our team was resilient and this was by far the most complete game we have played all year,” Ashley Ridge coach Kenny Walker said. “We played well on special teams, offense and defense.”
Ashley Ridge entered the game with only three wins so it was unlikely the Swamp Foxes would make the playoffs unless they could upset the Patriots to finish third in the region to get an automatic bid. Several Swamp Fox players were key in the win, but it was senior running back Romelo Doctor who wrote the prescription for the Swamp Foxes’ recovery. He carried 28 times for nearly 230 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
“We knew we needed to come together as a team so we could make the playoffs,” Doctor said. “Tonight we came together and played Ashley Ridge football.”
Swamp Fox quarterback Jacob Thompson added 73 rushing yards, completed a 27-yard pass to Mikey Goodwine and had an 11-yard reception. Running back Vernon Moree finished with 67 rushing yards and made some big kick returns.
Fort Dorchester will also likely make the playoffs, but won’t likely have as favorable of a matchup because of the loss.
The Patriots tied the game at 20 in the first minute of the final quarter, but then yielded a 73-yard scoring drive and turned the ball over twice in the closing minutes.
A fumble recovery by linebacker Matt Alewine led to Doctor’s fifth TD and then Monquez Whaley intercepted a Fort pass and returned it into the end zone for the 21-point lead with Cameron Smith’s fifth extra-point kick on the night.
The Swamp Fox defense was a huge factor. In addition to the turnovers, it had six sacks and held the Patriots to less than half of their normal rushing yards. The Fort entered the game averaging 233 yards per game on the ground, but only managed just more than 100 yards Thursday.
Senior lineman Malik Graham and senior linebacker Tray Cutler were both in on three tackles in the backfield.
The Patriots did have success through the air as QB Baptiste Staggers completed 10 f 15 pass attempts for 180 yards. Charles Loftland caught a screen pass and went 68 yards for the Patriots’ first TD. Junior De’Monte Bailey made four receptions for 56 yards.
After Loftland kicked off the scoring, the Swamp Foxes answered with a 60-yard scoring drive that featured a 24-yard run by Moree and an 11-yard pass from Doctor to Thompson. Doctor capped the drive with a two-yard run into the end zone.
On the first play of the second quarter, Doctor capped a 55-yard drive with his second TD run to give the Foxes a seven-point lead with the PAT kick.
The rest of the quarter was a back-and-forth affair. The Patriots drove 57 yards into striking distance in the final 40 seconds of the half, but a pass into the end zone with no time remaining on the clock was batted down by Ashley Ridge DB Mike Davis.
Fort Dorchester’s Kenny Fenton-Griffith returned momentum to the Patriots with an interception that ended the Foxes’ first drive of the third quarter. That set up a five-yard TD run by Daitwan Commodore. Christian Baker then hit the PAT kick to tie the game at 13 with 6:44 remaining in the quarter.
Ashley Ridge answered with a 69-yard scoring drive. Doctor and Thompson provided most of the key plays and Doctor capped the drive with a four-yard run into the end zone.
The Fort responded with a 65-yard scoring drive to retie the game. Staggers had a 25-yard run on the series and the Patriot running tandem of Loftland and Commodore did most of the rest. Loftland scored his second TD of the night on a one-yard run, but then things started to go down hill for the Patriots.
Ashley Ridge 6 7 7 21–41
Fort Dorchester 6 0 7 7–20
FD —Charles Loftland 68 pass from Baptiste Staggers (kick failed)
AR — Romelo Doctor 2 run (kick failed)
AR — Doctor 6 run (Cameron Smith kick)
FD — Daitwan Commodore 5 run (Christian Baker kick)
AR — Doctor 4 run (Smith kick)
FD — Loftland 1 run (Baker kick)
AR — Doctor 5 run (Smith kick)
AR — Doctor 7 run (Smith kick)
AR — Monquez Whaley 25 interception return (Smith kick)
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org