By Greg Perkins
This year’s Blue Ridge-Snowflake match up was billed as the game of the week in many camps, and it turned out to be just that. The two teams battled until the final minutes of the game when Blue Ridge forced a Lobo turnover to conserve a hard fought, 38-35 victory. The two highly ranked teams may meet up again in the post-season, but it will be hard to imagine another game as good as this one was.
Snowflake moved down the field early in the game and drew first blood on a three-yard run by Ty Reidhead, taking the early 7-0 lead. The Yellowjackets countered with a pair of short touchdown runs before Reidhead again scored on a three-yard run. The conversion failed, leaving the Lobos trailing 14-13. Blue Ridge quickly regained the momentum and widened that gap when Brennan Schimmel returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards for a score. The Jackets scored again with just a minute left in the period, building a 28-13 halftime lead.
Blue Ridge scored on its opening drive of the second half on a one-yard scoring run, giving the Jackets a seemingly comfortable 35-13 advantage. Snowflake quickly countered with just over five minutes left on a nice 39-yard scoring run by Lehi Caldwell, trimming the lead to 35-20.
Early in the fourth Caldwell found the end zone again this time from seven yards out and Reidhead’s conversion run closed the gap to 35-28 in favor of the hometown Jackets. Just three minutes later Blue Ridge moved the ball deep into Lobo territory and Cody McBride kicked what turned out to be the winning points on a 22-yard field goal that ricocheted off the goal post before going over, making the lead 38-28. Not giving up, Reidhead hooked up with Rick Shumway on a 20-yard scoring toss, cutting the lead to just three at 38-35.
They needed a defensive stop and the Lobos earned it, giving the ball back to their offense late in the game. With the Lobos threatening to at least tie, if not move out in front, Blue Ridge intercepted a Reidhead pass attempt and closed out the game, preserving the three-point win and handing Snowflake its first loss of the season.
Statistically, this game was also very close. Unofficially, the Lobos finished with 386 yards of offense compared to 339 by Blue Ridge.
Reidhead completed six of 13 pass attempts for 127 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Shumway caught four of those passes for 58 yards and the score. Porter Black had one grab for 66 yards and Caldwell made one three-yard catch.
On the ground, Caldwell rushed for 65 yards and two scores on six attempts. Reidhead also scored twice, gaining 64 yards on 10 rushes. Shumway gained 55 yards on 10 tries. Nik Hall rushed seven times, gaining 49 yards, and Trevor McCray gained 26 yards, also on seven attempts.
Both teams are now 5-1 on the season. This week the Lobos continue their difficult schedule when they host Fountain Hills. The Falcons come in with a 4-2 mark after winning their last two outings.
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By Greg Perkins