The sounds of fall drifted through Rick Gandy Field Friday night when Lone Grove and Comanche visited Ringling for a hard-fought three-way football scrimmage.
Hard-hitting action went on for almost four hours with defense winning most of the battles. Only one touchdown was scored in the battle of the varsities, and just two were scored by the underclassmen.
The Longhorn offense looked well in their first varsity series against the Indians. Lone Grove’s tandem of quarterbacks, junior Justice Ruhnke and sophomore O’Shay Harris took turns running the Longhorn offense. Junior Dillan Gaither made a statement in the running game with five carries for 27 hard-earned yards.
“I thought Dillan had a very good scrimmage,” Lone Grove coach Kenny Ridley said. “He actually played well on both sides of the ball, because he defense was solid as well. My son, Kaden, is out for quite some time with a MCL tear. We need several to step up to the challenge and fill the holes where we have injuries. And we have several others struggling with physical issues right now.”
The Ringling defense shut down Comanche’s offense. Senior Jackson Dillon was a force rushing the quarterback and was generally a disruptive force in the backfield before the Indian offense could get moving.
The Blue Devil offense scored the lone varsity touchdown on the third series of plays. Going against the Longhorn defense, junior Flint Wilson took the lateral from junior quarterback Taner Richardson and headed to the left. Reversing his field after 25 yards, Wilson headed across the field and ran almost untouched 60 yards for the score.
“I liked the intensity that our players brought with them tonight,” Ringling coach Tracy Gandy said. “Our offensive line did a great job of blocking, and our running backs found the holes well. Tanner was solid at the quarterback spot, and I thought he showed good poise running the team. He threw the ball well, but we had way too many dropped passes. We’ve got to do a better job of catching balls that are put right in our hands the way he was throwing tonight.”
The junior varsity teams squared off for the next few series. The evening’s second touchdown came with the Longhorn offense going against the Comanche defense. Freshman Chaz McGuire found a seam around left end and rambled 51 yards for a touchdown on the third play of that scrimmage.
“I thought some of our younger players stepped up well tonight,” Ridley said. “And both our varsity quarterbacks did solid work. I always like to scrimmage against Ringling, because they give us a good barometer of where our team is. They play physical football, and we have to step things up when we compete against them. The same will be true when we get into our district play this year. There are plenty of good teams in our district that compete very hard.”
The night’s final score came with the Comanche offense against the Longhorn defense. The Indian quarterback hit his wide-out for a well-executed 65-yard touchdown.
“Our defense played well for our first live action,” Gandy said. “The players went out and gave a strong effort tonight, and I hope that carriers over into the regular season for us. The players were very excited about this scrimmage against Lone Grove and Comanche. And you could tell their focus and intensity was there on every play.