By nick Terry
Special to the Aiken Standard
MONETTA — Ridge Spring-Monetta established its ground game early on in Friday’s opening-round Class A, Division II playoff game with Whitmire and rode it to the tune of 373 yards and six touchdowns for a 42-8 win.
“We feel like anytime we can establish the run we have a chance to win the football game,” Ridge Spring-Monetta head coach Kenny Lipsey said. “We’re just fortunate enough that we’ve got four or five backs that we can rotate in and keep fresh legs, and the offensive line does a good job. I like our chances when we get the running game going.”
Johnathan Gibson and Stanley Roland paced the Trojans’ (7-4) rushing attack with 148 and 91 yards, respectively, while also collecting two scores each. Teammates Bra’Quan Preston and Corey Hopkins also added to the backfield’s dominance with a score each and 80 and 46 yards, respectively.
Gibson opened the scoring for the Trojans with a 13-yard scamper in the first quarter. Preston and Roland added to the lead in the second with scoring runs of 83 and 3 yards, respectively, giving Ridge Spring-Monetta an 18-0 lead at the break.
The Wolverines (6-5) scored their lone touchdown midway through the third quarter on a 23-yard pass from Austin Jenkins to Logan McMellon. But the Trojans stopped any momentum the Wolverines might have had on their ensuing possession, going 48 yards in five plays with a 25-yard Gibson run ending the drive and making it 26-8 late in the third.
Ridge Spring-Monetta added two more scores in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run from Hopkins and a 28-yard run from Roland.
Lipsey said he was pleased with the complete effort from his offense, but also liked what he saw out of the defense the entire night, especially after giving up the third-quarter score.
“These kids, they’ve got a lot of heart and they don’t quit,” he said.
The only damper on the Trojans’ night was an injury suffered to lineman Matthew Layton, which required him to be taken away via ambulance late in the second quarter.
Whitmire 6 12 8 16 — 42
RS-Monetta 0 0 8 0 — 8
RS-M – Johnathan Gibson 13 run (pass no good) 2:56.
RS-M – Bra’Quan Preston 83 run (run no good) 11:52.
RS-M – Stanley Rolland 3 run (run no good) 1:00.
W – Austin Jenkins 23 pass Logan McMellon (run good) 6:07.
RS-M – Gibson 25 run (run good) 4:40.
RS-M – Corey Hopkins 3 run (run good) 10:28.
RS-M – Rolland 28 run (run good) 6:05.
W – A.J. Renwick 13-68, Devin Vo 9-65, John Burnside 6-23, Austin Jenkins 6- -4, Alex Ellison 5-8, West Jenkins 2-7. Total: 41-175.
RSM – Johnathan Gibson 14-148 2TDs, Corey Hopkins 11-46 TD, Fumble, Stanley Rolland 10-91 2TDs, Tyson Bettis 4-4, Bra’Quan Preston 3-80 TD, Dennis Wise 1-4. Total: 43-373 6TDs.
W – Austin Jenkins 5-18 82 TD.
RSM – Tyson Bettis 5-5 86, Bra’Quan Preston 0-1.
W – Jaylen Brown 1-41, Logan McMellon 1-23 TD, Alex Ellison 1-18, Chris Keisler 1-4, West Jenkins 1- -4.
RSM – Corey Hopkins 2-62, Miguel Leaphart 1-19, Earl Valentine 1-10, Johnathan Gibson 1-5.