Second half theatrics fuel win

By Randy Lefko
Posted 10/5/17

ORANGE PARK – Ridgeview High quarterback Tyler Huff has become the most dangerous guy with the ball on fourth down for the Panthers’ football team.

Against Orange Park, with his team down 14-7 …

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Second half theatrics fuel win

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Ridgeview High quarterback Tyler Huff has become the most dangerous guy with the ball on fourth down for the Panthers’ football team.

Against Orange Park, with his team down 14-7 in the second half and Huff himself lugging a heavily taped ankle, the wily junior signal caller converted a fourth and inches to tie the score 14-14 seven plays later, then doubled down with a fourth down touchdown pass to wideout Kiaran Turner with 29 seconds left on the clock for the Panthers 21-14 win in a key district 5-5A contest at Ridgeview High School on Sept. 29.

“I have total trust in my offensive line to deliver in those moments,” said Huff, who converted three fourth down touchdown passes two weeks ago in a 35-25 district win over Palatka. “They are confident that they can execute and we in the backfield just follow that.”

Ridgeview (5-1, 2-0) takes a district break with winless 6A-Middleburg (0-5) before their playoff destiny comes into play with a triad of Clay (3-2, 1-0), Menendez (3-3, 0-2) and Baker County (4-1, 2-0) in the following three Fridays.

Orange Park, now 1-4, 0-1 in district 5-5A play, came into the former home of Raider coach Tom Macpherson with a purpose in mind; to set themselves up for a future playoff berth.

The Raiders deferred the opening kickoff to give the Orange Park defense a sneak peek at two things; a sneak peek on who will play quarterback, and the matchup on the line of scrimmage between the two lines.

With Turner behind center, Ridgeview blasted right down the field with Turner keeping for 47 yards from the Panther 28 to the Raider 23.

From there, Raider linebacker Deonte Domenick stuffed a Brian Jackson run attempt to answer the early run.

Turner kept the ball again on second down and moved the the Raider 16. On fourth and inches, tailback Caleb Plyler pounded to the Raider 10 for first down, but the Raiders’ defense; led by defensive tackle Jacob Moore, Domenick and defensive end Carson Jackson stuffed Raider fullback Trent Coleman on fourth and goal from the one yard line.

Raider quarterback Terrance Johnson called his own number twice to the Ridgeview 15 as Orange Park looked every bit as shifty and fast as the Ridgeview offense until Johnson lofted a sideline pass toward wideout David Frederick near midfield that Panther defensive back Courtney Rockett wrestled away from Frederick for an interception.

With Huff back in at quarterback, running back Jaiden Turner rifled 10 yards in front of an 11 yard pass to Denali Lindo to put Ridgeview at midfield and give Huff some breathing room.

But, Huff missed to Jacolbi Sampson and Coleman got rocked by Shag Magwood to force a Panther punt with 1:29 left in the first quarter and still no score.

Macpherson decided on straight power football with running back Zykeim Sermons getting seven handoffs that netted 67 yards that ended with a 13 yard scamper through the heart of the Ridgeview defense for a 6-0 lead just two minutes into the second quarter. Sermons had a long run of 48 yards to keep the drive rolling.

Ridgeview seemed shell-shocked by the ferocity of the drive and got hit with two illegal procedure flags and a sideline warning call before punting in four downs.

Ridgeview’s defense doggedly went after the Raider offense with linebacker Steven Boyd and defensive tackler Dawson Smith crushing two handoffs to Robbie Reynolds and forcing a Raider punt.

From midfield after the punt, Jaiden Turner sprinted 17 yards to the Raider 35 with Coleman and Rolando Grey pushing the ball to the Raider 22. Plyler ended the drive with a zig-zagging run to paydirt to tie the game 6-6. Kicker Charlie Barrett put Ridgeview up 7-6 with 5:16 to halftime.

Johnson and Sermons continued to punch at the interior of the Ridgeview defensive line and moved from the Raider 35 to the Panther 21 with straight power running and a shoestring tackle from Boyd that thwarted a Sermons sweep left that had green grass to the end zone written all over it.

A fourth down sack by Dominic Stanfield ended the drive and gave Ridgeview 1:18 to get to the locker room with their slim 7-6 lead.

On the second half kickoff, a flag for a late hit on the fair catch of the pooch kick by kicker Matt Koziolek added 15 yards and put Orange Park on the Panther 48 to start.

Johnson went right sweep with a wicked stiff arm and 32 yards to the Ridgeview 30 where Sermons bounced three times to the Panther nine yard line before leading Johnson into the end zone with 9:56 left in the third and Orange Park now up 14-7.

A penalty flag and sacks by Orange Park defensive tackles Isiah Leavings and Kendy Charles put Huff back on the sideline in four downs on the Panthers’ next drive.

Ridgeview got 17 yards on a swing pass to Coleman, but no more as Charles and Hunter Moore stayed diligent on covering the Panthers’ corners.

The Raiders were sensing some momentum with Sermons cranking 12 yards from the Raider three and Johnson adding 13 and five and the next two downs, but Sermons would fumble the ball away to Smith near the Raider 40 to turn the field around.

Huff stayed with his multiple read offense minus himself as a running option and moved the Panthers to the Raider 27 yard line behind runs from Plyler and Coleman.

A painstakingly close fourth and inches from the 27 gave Huff his first hero moment as he surveyed the Raider defense, quickly stepped up behind center to call a quick snap that earned two yards and a first down.

From there, the Raider defense seemed stunned and Huff found Kiaran Turner with a floater pass in the end zone out of the reach of coverman Kadin Elmore to tie the game at 14-14 with 6:45 to go.

Ridgeview’s defense stiffened on the ensuing kickoff with the Panther’s district playoff hopes on the line with linebacker Anthony Drabek and defensive end Mark Butler nailing Sermons for one yard losses and Boyd catching Johnson on a keeper to force a punt from the Raider 25 with 5:03.

Huff would orchestrate the winning score from midfield with short handoffs to Jaiden Turner, Coleman and Zebion Bullock before Bullock took a reverse from the Raider 47 to the 17 in what looked like the winning play.

A trap to Coleman behind guard Josh Kuseck put Ridgeview at the six where Huff took two plays before finding Turner for the 21-14 gamewinner with 29 seconds. left.

Jaiden Turner would end the game with an interception on the final pass for Johnson.

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