Updated Sat, Nov 2, 2013 12:12 am
After a 17 year drought, Ritchie County defeated Williamstown 38-31 Friday, Nov. 1 to give the Rebels their first victory over the Yellow Jackets since 1996. Ritchie County’s win snaps a Williamstown 14-game win streak in the series and marks the first home loss for the Yellow Jackets this season.
With 6:49 remaining in the game, the Rebels seemed to have the game in the bag, but the Yellow Jackets wouldn’t give in without a fight. Gridiron Glory Player of the Year semifinalist quarterback Jake Tracewell marched the Yellow Jackets downfield in a valiant effort that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Hunter Neely with 1:34 on the clock. A failed Williamstown onside-kick attempt gave the Rebels possession at midfield with 92 seconds left.
After two quick plays and a couple Williamstown timeouts, Ritchie County faced a third-and-14 with 1:22 remaining. Rather than running and punting, Ritchie County head coach Mike Dawson aggressively drew up a pass-play, one that would prove to be the game-changer. In utter surprise to the Williamstown defense, quarterback Alex Lipscomb dropped back and tossed a 38-yard pass to wide receiver Dylan Frye for the first down. The Rebels ran out the clock via quarterback kneels on the ensuing plays.
Although the Rebels ultimately held off the Yellow Jackets, Williamstown showed determination to come back throughout Friday’s contest.
Following a quick Williamstown three-and-out, Ritchie County lit up the board with consecutive touchdown drives in the first quarter. The first was a three-play drive ending with a 49-yard pass from Lipscomb to wide reciever Jayden Allender. Lipscomb finished 5-of-13 for 177 yards and just the one touchdown. The Rebels’ second scoring drive was capped off by a Dylan Frye 3-yard TD run, putting Ritchie County up 14-0 with 4:12 remaining in the first quarter.
After a 37-yard kick return by Dakota Watson, the Yellow Jackets rebounded with a four-play touchdown drive lasting 49 seconds to make it 14-7. Tracewell ran the ball to pay dirt from 1 yard out to reduce the deficit. The senior finished the night with 129 yards on the ground via 26 rushes.
Williamstown fed off the momentum and forced the Rebels into a three-and-out. Tracewell then started a 71-yard drive with a 55-yard run and ended it with a 15-yard pass to Neely to knot the game at 14-14 with 27 seconds left in the first quarter. Tracewell finished 17-for-32 with 213 yards and three scores through the air – all caught by Neely. The receiver had a game-high 97 yards on seven catches.
Ritchie County and Williamstown traded touchdowns in the second quarter to arrive at a 21-21 tie at halftime.
The Yellow Jackets forced a fumble early in the third quarter, leading to a field goal to put them up 24-21. But Ritchie County responded with 17 unanswered points to go up 38-24 with 6:49 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Rebels outgained the Yellow Jackets in total yards 412-371. Ritchie County’s Lipscomb was the game-high rusher with 165 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.
Ritchie County secures a Class AA playoff spot by improving to 6-3. The Rebels will travel to Grafton (0-8) on Nov. 8. Williamstown remains a lock-in for the Class A playoffs, but falls to 7-2. The Yellow Jackets will end their season at home against Roane County (6-2) on Nov. 8.