Big plays (for the other football team) spell a 50-14 RCHS loss

Junior running back Tim Ridgeway (88) sweeps around the end and continues upfield in the RCHS game against Clear Spring (Md.) last Friday. Photo by Christine Krapf.

Big plays.

Those two words best describe the reason Clear Spring High School’s varsity football team won its fourth consecutive game, beating the Rappahannock Panthers.

Four times in the first half, junior quarterback Adam Mellott hit his receivers with touchdown passes of 30 or more yards.
Toss in a couple of long touchdown runs from senior running back Mike Etzel, and the Blazers walked away with a 50-14 win last Friday night at Panther Stadium.

The defeat dropped the Panthers to 1-5. They will host Roanoke Catholic on Friday at 7 p.m.

Mellott completed 10 of 11 passes for 226 yards for the Blazers (4-2). Mike Sensenbaugh hauled in two of Mellott’s passes for scores. Sam Elwood and Ryan Aaron also pulled in Mellott tosses for scores.

“Clear Spring is a good team,” Rappahannock County assistant coach Scott Stephens said, “but it was the big play that hurt us. We had some very nice plays against them. We’d stop them on first and second down. Then, boom, they were running for the end zone. It was a breakdown or a missed assignment. If everyone does his job, and he is in the right spot, the game would be a lot closer.”
The Blazers took advantage of the Panthers’ early mistakes and built a 20-0 lead after the opening quarter.

“Their quarterback was decent, and they ran some good routes against us,” Stephens added. “We don’t have a high-powered offense. We didn’t do badly against them. We were moving the ball, but we need to gain yards every time we touch it.”

The Panthers got their only scores late in the game. Freshman fullback Billy Hogan rambled 10 yards for one touchdown. Senior quarterback Matt Fletcher scampered 12 yards for the other.

Etzel anchored the Clear Spring ground game. He rushed for 141 yards on eight carries.

The Panthers hope to rebound Friday night against Roanoke Catholic (4-1).

The Celtics, who started off the season with four straight wins, are coming off a 45-12 loss to Virginia Episcopal. Their offense features an experienced running back in Nick Ollie, who had 95 yards against Virginia Episcopal.

“They run an offense that’s similar (to Clear Spring),” Stephens said. “They have a quarterback who likes to throw and a good-sized running back.”

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