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Uniontown's struggles with Ringgold continue

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Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Uniontown's Jordan Pratt (10) pulls down a pass and makes his way to the endzone in the first half of Uniontown's game against Ringgold held at Bill Power Stadium in Uniontown on Friday, September 21, 2012.
Top high school sports
By Dave Stofcheck
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, 12:18 a.m.

Playing catch-up did not suit Uniontown well Friday night.

The Raiders dug themselves holes at the beginning of each half and never recovered in a 30-13 loss to Ringgold in Big Nine Conference play at William Power Stadium.

The Rams' Demetrius Louis scored three touchdowns, the second coming on a 50-yard screen pass early in the third quarter that gave Ringgold a 22-7 lead. Louis also scored on runs of 1 and 83 yards.

In total, he carried the ball just 11 times but wound up with 261 yards.

“He's a great ball player,” Uniontown coach John Fortugna said. “I think he's Division I (caliber). If he doesn't break those two long runs, it's a different ballgame.”

Ringgold (3-1, 3-1) has won three straight after dropping its season opener to Thomas Jefferson. Uniontown lost for the third time in four games. Despite outplaying Ringgold for stretches, Uniontown took the loss.

“We had a lot of injuries tonight. We were playing a lot of kids who were clueless,” Ringgold coach Matt Humbert. “But I don't want to take anything away from Uniontown. They fought hard the entire game.”

Ringgold jumped to a 14-0 first-quarter lead on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Nico Law to Joey Wall and Louis' first touchdown, an 83-yard run. Uniontown's defense stiffened from there, and the Raiders finally put points on the board with the first half winding down.

With 52.6 seconds left, Uniontown forced a punt and took over at its 38-yard line. Three plays later, the Raiders faced second-and-11 from their 47 when Xavier Ellis dropped back and found Jordan Pratt behind the defense down the right slot. Ellis hit Jordan in stride at the Ringgold 10 and, just like that, Uniontown cut the Rams' lead in half.

But Ringgold regained momentum early in the second half when Humbert caught Uniontown blitzing and called for a dump-off to Louis, who needed just one block to turn a short pass into a long touchdown.

Trailing by 15, Uniontown moved 87 yards in 14 plays and cut into Ringgold's lead again when Ellis called his own number from 1 yard. The Raiders missed the extra point, making it 22-13.

Uniontown had one last gasp after stopping Ringgold on downs at the 20 early in the fourth. Uniontown moved to the Rams' 8 but, on third-and-4, Ellis fumbled, and Ringgold's Prenell Barner recovered.

On the next play, Louis dashed 90 yards to the Uniontown 1 and scored on the following play to seal the victory.

“It's nice to have a player like him, but we have to have more than one guy we can count on,” Humbert said.

Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.

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