1. Correspondent photos by Don Long
Ridgeview High’s three-headed scoring bonanza came from runs from Rayhn Hutchinson and Kimal Marshall and pass-catching from Deshun Green in …
1. Correspondent photos by Don Long
ORANGE PARK - Ridgeview High’s running back tandem of Rayhn Hutchinson and Kimal Marshall combined for 210 yards and four touchdowns to carry the Panthers to their first win of the season, a 51-18 romp over Kissimmee Gateway on September 8.
“It feels really good, and it was very important,” Ridgeview head coach Bryan Arnette said of the win. “We had to have this game for morale.”
The Panthers offense, whose turnovers and untimely penalties were largely to blame for scoring only eight and 12 points in season-opening losses to Menendez and Clay, ran all over Gateway. Hutchinson ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries. Marshall gained 70 yards on nine rushes and scored once.
“Nowadays, you need two backs who can give you 15 touches per game,” said Arnette. “You cannot have it be like [former Yulee star and current NFL running back] Derrick Henry, one guy getting 30 carries a game.”
For their part, Hutchinson and Marshall see benefits in sharing the role, both in practice and in games.
“It gives me an extra drive, knowing that I got to compete for the spot,” said Hutchinson. “Competing every day helps you get better every day.”
“We are more fresh,” said Marshall. “If you get just a good amount of carries, you can run harder.”
“I cannot tell you how proud I am,” Arnette said of the duo, both of whom are seniors who have not played a lot of football. Hutchinson missed his junior season due to a broken collarbone, and Marshall lived in Japan with his military family until recently. “Hutchinson has a breakout week every week. Marshall runs a 4.49 40, and when he goes north to south, he is gone in a flash.”
It took Ridgeview just seven plays to take control. The Panthers marched 65 yards in seven plays on the game’s opening possession. Hutchinson finished the drive with a 10-yard run around the right end, cutting off a block from wide receiver Deshawn Green.
Gateway answered with a 67-yard run by Dashaun Reese on their first play from scrimmage to tie the game at 6.
Ridgeview’s offense went right back to work, again driving 65 yards. After an offsides penalty brought the Panthers five yards closer to a first down inside the 10-yard line, Arnette took his field goal unit off of the field and decided to go for it. Quarterback Travon Malone rolled left, stopped and fired a bullet to Green, who had hooked up deep in the end zone, to give the hosts a 12-6 lead. Marshall extended the lead to 18-6 three minutes later when he stiff-armed a tackler to reach the end zone from 28 yards out, and the rout was on. Ridgeview led 31-12 at halftime on the strength of a 26-yard pass from Malone to sophomore Christian Fielder and a one-yard plunge by Braylon Hawkins.
The hosts put the game away on their first possession of the third quarter. Marshall scored on an 18-yard run, sweeping right behind right tackle Jack Jones and then throwing Gateway safety Malachi McFadden out of the way inside the five-yard line.
After a second touchdown run by Gateway’s Reese, who finished with 149 yards on 21 rushes, cut the lead to 37-18 in the third quarter, Ridgeview reached the half-century mark on an eight-yard jet sweep by Green and a 35-yard scamper by Hutchinson.
Ridgeview totaled 265 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns, a fact Arnette partially attributed to the development of better cohesiveness among his young offensive linemen in their third game. Along with Jones, the lone senior, Ridgeview starts two sophomores and a freshman on the line.
The performance was not perfect, as Ridgeview lost three fumbles and committed 10 penalties.
“The thing I am most proud of is that in the past, adversity would eat at us,” Arnette said. “Tonight, either the defense responded with a stop or the offense responded with a score.”
Malone completed seven of 12 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
Arnette is hoping that the win provides a spark for the Panthers, who travel to St. Johns Beachside (2-1) on September 22 for a non-district game. The Barracudas have scored 107 points in their three games.
Gateway, like Ridgeview a Class 3S school, fell to 0-2.