ORANGE PARK – An 80 yard touchdown pass from Richie Lewis to Joequon Glenn was the highlight of the game for Ridgeview, but could not offset an offensive clinic put on by Fort White as the host …
ORANGE PARK – An 80 yard touchdown pass from Richie Lewis to Joequon Glenn was the highlight of the game for Ridgeview, but could not offset an offensive clinic put on by Fort White as the host Panthers lost 32-15 to the Indians in a non-district game on October 21.
With fullback Hayden Adams pounding the middle, the shifty Najeeb Smith probing the perimeter and quarterback Clayton Philpot faking handoffs, making quick pitches and mixing in the occasional deep pass to keep the Ridgeview safeties from creeping too close to the line of scrimmage, Fort White’s old fashioned wing T offense kept the Panthers off balance all night. The Indians only punted once while racking up 426 yards of total offense, 283 of them on the ground.
The 5’9”, 190-pound Adams pounded the interior on dives and traps for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 15 attempts. Smith also carried the ball 15 times, circling around the end for 103 yards.
“It is hard to give a good scout look in practice, because it is hard to simulate their timing,” Ridgeview head coach Bryan Arnette said of the Fort White offense. “They knew what they were going to run, and we knew what they were going to run, but when we did not read the pulling guards correctly or weren’t in our assigned gaps, they sprung a long one.”
Fort White was especially efficient in a dominant first half during which they scored on their first three possessions and were driving at the Ridgeview 30 yard line when the first half clock expired.
The Ridgeview second half was much more competitive. After not running a single play in Indians territory in the first half, Ridgeview began each of their first two possessions of the second half on the Fort White side of the field. Conner Hupp provided a spark with a 55 yard return of the opening kickoff to the Indians 40 yard line, and while the Panthers could not capitalize on the field position, they were able to pin Fort White deep in their own end on a 29 yard punt by Kaleb Robison that was not returned. After the Panthers’ defense forced a three and out for the first time all game, Cupp again set the offense up in prime position with a 14 yard punt return. Taking over at the 29 yard line, Lewis connected with freshman Deshun Green for 12 yards on a quick slant pattern. But after a tackle for loss by the Indians’ Avery Giddens and a holding penalty, the Panthers faced fourth down and 15 yards to go for a first down. Lewis found Baptiste for 22 yards on well-timed skinny post route.
“I told Lewis, just put it [the ball] on him, and it will work,” Arnette said of the fourth down call. “Baptiste made an insane catch, holding the ball to his helmet.”
The Panthers substituted seven players for the next play, a one yard scoring plunge by Bridges, who took a direct shotgun snap and followed two wingbacks over right tackle. “We call that our ‘Black Panther’ package,” Arnette explained. “It is our best 11 players.”
Robison booted the extra point, drawing Ridgeview to within 18-7 with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
After an interception touchdown by Fort White, Ridgeview started from the 20 yard line where Lewis completed a pass to Glenn in the right flat. The junior turned upfield, evaded cornerback Maliki Clark, cut to the middle and, picking up speed, thwarted the safeties’ angle on him and sped all the way to the end zone.
“Glenn is darn fast,” Arnette said of Glenn, who transferred to Ridgeview from Ed White High School over the summer. “He is definitely a weapon, even though he is a little raw, with it being his first year here.”
Bridges carried over the goal line up the middle for a two-point conversion, providing the final margin with 2:22 left in the contest. The Panthers, now 1-8, travel to Lake City Columbia for the final game of the season on October 28.
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