Wagener-Salley War Eagles hold off Ridge Spring Trojans in finale
WAGENER-SALLEY 35, RIDGE SPRING-MONETTA 28
MONETTA — With the area's top two running backs on display in a Thursday night battle between Ridge Spring-Monetta (5-5, 2-4) and Wagener-Salley (7-3, 4-2 Region 4-A), the run game figured to be a big factor. It was.
A flurry of big rushing plays had the War Eagles and Trojans tied at 28 heading into the fourth quarter. Early in the period, Ke'Aunri Holmes capped the scoring with a 46-yard touchdown run to put the War Eagles up for good in their 35-28 victory to close out the regular season.
“We were able to do what we needed to on the ground tonight,” Wagener-Salley head coach Ken Tucker said. “Santrale Moore and those guys on the line did a great job blocking and opening it up for us.”
The War Eagles finished the night with 287 team rushing yards. A majority of the yardage came for the area's leading rusher, Eric Corley, and Holmes. The two combined for all five of Wagener-Salley's scoring plays. Holmes finished with 101 yards on eight carries and two scores.
Corley carried the ball 19 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on what was perhaps the second-biggest play of the game in terms of momentum.
After Ridge Spring-Monetta took its first lead in the third quarter and had all the momentum, Corley took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to tie the game at 21. The touchdown wasn't the only special teams play to cost the Trojans.
“We work on it every week, and we work on it hard,” RS-M head coach Heath Corley said of the special teams. “We'll have to see what went on there because we gave up too many big plays.”
Corley went on to add that his team was just one big play away from having a different outcome. The Trojans did get several big plays of their own from Travious Wigfall, who scored all four of Ridge Spring-Monetta's touchdowns. Fresh off his selection to the North-South game, the senior back ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a 3-yard pass for a touchdown.
“Obviously he was big for us tonight,” Corley said of Wigfall. “But that's expected; he's been key for us all year.”
Wigfall was battling cramps most of the second half. With just over four minutes to go in the game, his coach turned to him and asked if he had anything left, to which he replied with an affirmative nod.
However, Ridge Spring-Monetta never got another chance on offense, as the War Eagles were able to run the clock out and close out the game.
Tucker was pleased with his team's final drive and its ability to finish the game after the team allowed Hunter-Kinard-Tyler to come back and win a crucial region game last week.
“I'm proud that we were able to finish out the game like that,” Tucker said. “We talked about finishing off games a lot, and tonight they did that.”
Both teams will advance to the playoffs next week and await word of who they will face in the opening round. The War Eagles will be monitoring tight end RJ Tyler this week after he missed the second half with a knee injury he suffered late in the second quarter. Tucker expects he will be OK for the playoffs but said he would wait to see what happens.
Wagener-Salley will likely have a home game, while the Trojans may be forced to travel.
Eric Russell covers sports for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from USC Aiken in 2012 with a degree in communications.
WS— 7 7 14 7
RSM— 0 7 21 0
WS— Eric Corley 1 run (Posey kick).
WS— Ke'aunri Holmes 44 run (Posey kick).
RSM— Samuel Bedenbaugh 3 pass to Travious Wigfall (Fernandez kick).
RSM— Wigfall 17 run (Fernandez kick).
RSM— Wigfall 1 run (Fernandez kick).
WS— Corley 85 kickoff return (Posey kick).
WS— Corley 2 run (Posey kick).
RSM— Wigfall 60 run (Fernandez kick).
WS— Holmes 46 run (Posey kick).
WS— Corley 19-124-2TDs, Holmes 8-101-2TDs, Stroman 9-56, Henry Odom 3-6. Totals 39-287-4TDs.
RSM— Wigfall 19-181-3TDs, Bedenbaugh 8-91, Jacob Deloach 1-0. Totals 28-272-3TDs.
WS— Malcolm Stroman 4-7-26-0TD-0INT.
RSM— Bedenbaugh 7-14-52-1TD-0INT.
WS— Corley 1-12, RJ Tyler 1-6, Nijae Jerry 1-8.
RSM— Ralfael Leaphart 2-24, Jonathan Elam 1-7, Johnathan Gibson 1-(-2), Wigfall 2-3-1TD, Corey Hopkins 1-16.