Highlands holds off Ringgold
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A pair of Highlands sophomores spoiled Ringgold's Senior Night at Joe Montana Stadium on Friday.
Quarterback Blake Leri and tailback Elijah Jackson scored touchdowns as the Golden Rams downed the Rams, 14-7, in a nonconference contest, avenging last year's 14-10 defeat on the same field in a first-round WPIAL Class AAA playoff contest.
Ringgold (4-4), who have lost two straight for the first time under third-year coach Matt Humbert, came within 26 seconds of getting shut out at home for the first time since Oct. 27, 2006.
That's how much time was left when backup quarterback Dayshore Majors hit Alan Pritchett with a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Majors had to come in when sophomore quarterback Nico Law left the game with 2:40 remaining after suffering a neck injury on a late hit.
“We've had a consistent theme from game one of shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Humbert. “I thought it was one of our better effort games, but we just couldn't get it done. This was a big loss because we needed to prove we could rebound after last week's loss.”
Highlands (4-4), which has won four straight, capitalized on the first of six Ringgold fumbles to score the lone touchdown of the first half.
Law fumbled on a 16-yard loss back to the Rams' 9 late in the opening quarter.
Two plays later, Jackson went over from 7 yards out for his 10th touchdown of the season. The Golden Rams' Mike Masarik missed the extra point.
The Rams, who were limited to 49 yards of offense in the first half, threatened on their opening drive, reaching Highlands' 26 before running out of downs.
Highlands lost a touchdown with 35 seconds left in the half when Jackson fumbled into the end zone on a 10-yard run for a touchback.
The Rams threatened late in the third quarter when Law scampered 42 yards and a 15-yard personal foul penalty put Ringgold on the Highlands' 23.
After Pernell Barner gained three yards, Demetrius Louis was tackled for an 11-yard loss.
On third down, Law gained five yards but was tackled for a 7-yard loss on fourth down.
That set the stage for Leri to come up with two big plays. The first was a 33-yard pass to Deion Fletcher on a third-and-25. Two plays later, Leri raced in from 46 yards out to make it 12-0 with 8:11 remaining.
Alan Cratsenberg, Highlands' tight end who was also used at quarterback for a couple of crucial fourth-down plays, ran in the two-pointer.
Leri finished with a game-high 92 yards on 10 carries, and Jackson added 75 on 29 carries.
Louis, who missed the previous two games with injuries and was leading the WPIAL with a 13-yard average per carry, was limited to 29 yards on 12 carries.
Brian Herman is a freelance writer.
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