Highlands rests starters in loss to Ringgold
By Bill Beckner
Published: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 11:54 p.m.
Talk about a confusion set.
Thumbing its nose at conventional thinking, Highlands went with a unique approach in its late-season nonconference game against Ringgold.
In a safe-mode tactic that coach Sam Albert based on injury prevention, the Golden Rams did not play most of their starters —except offensive linemen for the first series — and took a 45-20 loss on Senior Night at Golden Rams Stadium.
Both teams have secured playoff spots, but Highlands has a potential conference-winning game next week at Knoch.
“It's an exhibition game and we treated it like one,” Albert said. “We have a lot of other seniors who practice hard all week, and they got an opportunity to play tonight. And our younger guys got some good reps. We have to look at the big picture. We have some big games ahead of us, and we want to be healthy.
“I am extremely proud of our kids.”
A matchup of two top-10 teams —Ringgold came in No. 9 in Class AAA and Highlands No. 7 — had the feel of a Week 10 exhibition game between non-playoff teams.
Both of them canceled junior varsity games for Saturday after Friday night's game turned into one.
Both teams moved to 6-2.
Ringgold coach Matt Humbert got wind of what Highlands was planning but didn't tell his players until just before kickoff that this wasn't exactly the team for which they had prepared.
“I understand the rationale behind it, but we weren't treating the game any different,” Humbert said. “We already have third place in our (Big Nine) conference, but we wanted to make sure we got work in. It was very hard to prepare for this game.
“Was I surprised by what Highlands did? A little bit. Was I shocked? No.”
Sophomore scat back Chacar Berry scored three first-quarter touchdowns as Ringgold took a 28-0 lead.
Ringgold's offensive starters played three series. The defensive starters played four.
Nick Schran added two scores for Ringgold, which led 35-6 at the half.
Highlands, which remains in the chase for the Greater Allegheny Conference title and a home game in the first round, leaned on a pair of freshmen, clear future flag bearers for the program. Quarterback Brayden Thimons completed 8 of 21 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score.
He threw three interceptions, and Highlands lost a fumble. Running back Dom Martinka ran for 88 yards, 64 on a late third-quarter touchdown.
“We made the most of it,” Martinka said. “I knew I was going to go out and represent my community and past players, so I wanted to play well.
“I told the guys, would you rather win on Senior Night or in the state championship?”
Said Humbert: “We're physical teams, and you don't want to see anything crazy happen.”
Conner Gary also ran for a touchdown, and Josh Briscoe kicked a 28-yard field goal for Ringgold.
“We're happy to get the win, bu we're glad it's in the books and we can move on,” Humbert said.
Thimons' touchdown pass was a 20-yarder to Chris Fick in the second quarter for Highlands' first points.
Bill Beckner is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic dominates Clarion in PIAA semifinals
- Central Catholic delivers crushing defensive performance to qualify for PIAA championship
- Running game carries South Fayette past Hickory and into PIAA title game
- Friday’s PIAA semifinal football games postponed
- Southmoreland junior reflects on break long-standing school rushing record
- North Catholic football team earns trip to Heinz Field
- High school notebook: WPIAL career passing leader Williams commits to Temple
- Clarion’s explosive offense to test Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s stingy defense
- South Fayette, Hickory share simliar offensive schemes by spreading it around
- Central Catholic looks for knock out against District 3 champion in PIAA semifinals
- Young Plum tackle shares conference honors with big names