RINGLING — While information can change on a whim during the playoffs, the Ringling Blue Devils have shown nothing has changed with them over the last few weeks.
RINGLING — While information can change on a whim during the playoffs, the Ringling Blue Devils have shown nothing has changed with them over the last few weeks. Friday night at Rick Gandy Memorial Stadium, the Blue Devils showcased their traditional tough defense as they recorded their ninth consecutive shutout with a 27-0 victory over the Frederick Bombers in the second round of the Class A playoffs. Ringling (10-1) now faces a lengthy road trip in the state quarterfinals against Pawhuska (11-1), who pulled off an upset against Stroud Friday night. The game is tentatively set for Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Pawhuska High School. As for Friday night against the Bombers, it was the same tried and tested formula which has served the Blue Devils well this season, keep the ball out of the oppositions hands and dig in on defense. “We prefer to run, and sometimes the line of scrimmage is crowded so we have to throw,” Ringling coach Phil Koons said. “Our quarterback Sam Vanbuskirk ran a little zone option tonight and found some holes out there. Between Sam, and our tailbacks they did a great job out there. Our offensive line did a tremendous job.” “Kash Lyle, Ethan Johnson, River Miller, Julius Knoons all did a great job running and blocking out there tonight,” Koons added. “Frederick was so dynamic offensively with so many trick plays. I’m very proud of our kids keeping them out of the end zone like they did.” It took less than five minutes for Ringling to get on the board in the first quarter as Ethan Johnson pushed his way in from two yards out for the touchdown, making the score 6-0 after the missed PAT. In the second quarter, the Blue Devils put together a lengthy drive which began at their own 29-yard line and managed to finish it off with another two-yard touchdown run from Johnson to make it 13-0 after the extra point from Logan Duhon. Frederick threatened near the end of the first half as the Bombers got a 35 yard pass completed down to the Blue Devils 35-yard line. But an incompletion along with two straight sacks extinguished the Bombers offensive presence as Ringling went into the locker room ahead 13-0. In a rare occurrence, the Blue Devils offense was held in check during the third quarter as they failed to score any points. On the plus side, the defense was able to keep the Bombers off the board as well. But the scoring drought didn’t last long. Less than three minutes into the fourth quarter, Vanbuskirk showed off his escape abilities as he slid his way out of a pile on a fourth and inches push to score a nine yard touchdown run to make it 20-0 after the Duhon extra point. Just over five minutes later, River Miller finished the game off with an 18 yard touchdown run with Duhon adding the extra point for the Blue Devils victory. “Hats off to Frederick, they had a great season,” Koons said. “Our kids held their nerve late on in the game and I was very proud to see them. I’m honored that this team is in the quarterfinals, and I’m honored to be a Ringling Blue Devil. We’re looking forward to the next round.” Kash Lyle finished the game with 23 carries for 101 yards, while Vanbuskirk had 12 carries for 50 yards and one touchdown. Johnson finished the game with seven carries for 29 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while catching one pass for 31 yards.