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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Highlands-Ryle Game Story

Ryle rolls past Highlands

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior wide receiver Griffin Huber (14) hauls in a pass during Friday's game at Ryle.
Things began to look bleak when two starting offensive linemen showed up not dressed before the game.

They became worse as the game dragged on. The host Ryle Raiders scored on the opening kickoff and never looked back in a 50-14 non-district victory Friday to stay undefeated at 4-0 while Highlands dropped its third straight to fall to 1-3.

Highlands junior center Sam Sparks broke his left hand against Scott County and said he could be out for three to four weeks. He showed up wearing a cast on his left arm. Bluebird senior offensive lineman Kyle Finfrock did not play because of an infection in his right arm, but he hopes to be back next week. Back-up junior running back Logan Aubrey also showed up with a brace on his left foot nursing a stress fracture.

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Highlands put running back Grant Murray under center in the first half before senior Michael Dunn took over in the second half. The Bluebird offense managed just 250 yards on 53 plays for an average of just 4.7 yards per touch. Highlands converted just 1-of-7 third-down tries for 14 percent and 2-of-5 on fourth down for 40 percent.

"When you lost two starting offensive linemen in the middle of the week against a defense like that, it put us behind a little bit," said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "They're really, really good up front. It's the best defense we've played by far, not even close. We had new guys playing positions. They never quit though. They learned as the game went on at their new spots. We were outmatched."

Highlands quarterback Brady Gosney completed 23-of-33 passes for 216 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Junior Braden Posey led the Bluebirds with six receptions for 58 yards and a score.

But Highlands again struggled running the football. The Bluebirds gained just 34 yards on the ground.

On the other side, the Bluebird defense again struggled against a balanced Raider offense. Ryle senior quarterback Tanner Morgan, a Western Michigan University commit, completed 16-of-18 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Bryce Ashley led Ryle with 10 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown and junior Jake Chisholm had three receptions for 104 yards and a score.

Ryle finished with 354 yards offensively on 42 plays to go for an average of 8.4 yards per touch with 18 first downs to 12 for Highlands. The Raiders rushed for 100 yards led by Cole Burch's 12 carries for 57 yards and four touchdowns.

Chisholm took the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown and Mason Molique hit his first of six extra-point attempts to put Ryle up 7-0. Highlands did not convert on first down on the first possession, but Cam'Ron Johnston punted and Murray recovered a fumble giving Highlands the ball at the Ryle 47.

After Highlands did not convert on fourth down, Ryle drove down the field and Burch scored from two yards out to put the Raiders up 14-0. Chisholm took a hook-and-ladder 54 yards for a score minutes later to put Ryle up 21-0 with 1:59 left in the quarter.

Ryle then went for the knockout recovering an onside kick. Burch scored his second touchdown about a minute later to put the Raiders up 28-0. The Raiders then put up the running clock with nine minutes left in the second quarter when Burch scored from three yards out.

Highlands scored with 4:14 left in the first half when Gosney completed a 1-yard pass to Posey and Nick Bowman made the extra-point attempt. But Mogan found Ashley for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 1:23 left in the quarter to put Ryle up 43-7.

Neither team scored in the third quarter. But both teams scored one touchdown each in the fourth quarter. Burch scored from seven yards out with 11:08 left in the game and Jared Pulsfort had a 6-yard touchdown run with 7:15 left in the game for Highlands.

The Bluebirds travel to Louisville St. Xavier (2-1) on Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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