All the momentum seemed to be going Ridge Spring-Monetta’s way late in the first half and early in the second of its 20-13 loss in the homecoming game against Hunter-Kinard-Tyler. H-K-T was without its leading rusher Jarius Jenkins, who left the game early in the second quarter with what his coach said is a sprained ankle at halftime it was evident Jenkins wouldn’t return.
To add insult to injury Travious Wigfall returned the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards for a touchdown to put Ridge Spring-Monetta up 13-6.
However, from that point on the H-K-T defense shut Ridge Spring-Monetta out.
Considering we have about 1000 yards of offense on the sideline with injuries, I’m pretty pleased with the outcome,” H-K-T head coach Dan Holland said. “Our defense came up big for us tonight and stopped them on some big drives.”
After the Wigfall return, it took H-K-T only two plays to get in the endzone and take the lead. Khaliq Anthony connected with Darius Hammonds on a 50-yard pass to put the team in the red zone, and he followed that with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Hammonds.
Ridge Spring-Monetta had several chances late in the game but H-K-T was able to hold each advance off.
“It makes me proud as a coach that we played hard, but as I’ve said before we’re not into moral victories,” Ridge Spring-Monetta head coach Heath Corley said. “We felt like we had a shot at winning this game coming in, and we did. We gave them everything we had, and at the end they made a play and we didn’t.”
The second half turned into a chess match, as Corley went away from his spread offense and tried to pound the ball. After some success, H-K-T made adjustments and Corley went back to passing more.
“We saw something, and we thought we could get in there and run it a little bit,” Corley said. “They did a good job of correcting it on defense and didn’t allow us to get a push.”
Corley’s team got several chances in the final minutes of the game, including another drive after H-K-T scored with 1:26 remaining but failed on the two-point conversion. Ridge Spring-Monetta’s last ditch effort ended with an incompletion on fourth and ten with eight seconds left.
“We’re going to use this as motivation and a learning experience for us,” Corley said. “Our kids fully expect to win ball games now and stuff like this will push us in the right direction.”
Ridge Spring-Monetta will head to Lions Field to take on Fox Creek next week, and Corley is hoping the tough loss motivates his squad.
“We’re under the eight ball now... We’re in the bottom half of the region right now and that’s not where we want to be,” Corley said.
Eric Russell covers sports for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from USC Aiken in 2012 with a degree in communications.