BLYTHEWOOD — Nation Ford rolled off 24 unanswered points to rally past Ridge View 31-28 on Friday in what the Falcons may have considered a must-win heading into the start of Region III-AAAA play next week.
Just as they did much of the third quarter to milk the clock, the Falcons kept the ball on the ground, handing several carries to senior back Andrew Bruce, who rushed for 108 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
The Falcons capped their scoring by putting together a long drive to start the third quarter, going 66 yards in 14 plays as senior quarterback Dalton Helms hit senior Brandon Cureton for their second touchdown connection of the game. The score put Nation Ford up 31-28, rallying from a 28-7 deficit to take the lead.
Early in the second and down 28-14, Cureton picked off Ridge View quarterback Terrell Fetterson, giving the Falcons good field position at their opponents 35.
The Falcons took advantage of the field position and moved the ball well, scoring in a handful of plays as Bruce pounded his way in from the 1 to make it a one score game.
Cureton had Fettersons number again, intercepting his pass on the Blazers next series, giving Nation Ford the ball deep in its own territory. However, the Falcons drive stalled, forcing a punt.
The game slowed down in the second quarter after a busy opening quarter and Ridge View turned the ball over on its third straight series, this time on a fumble by senior Mitchell Brown. Nation Ford struggled to gain yardage and had to settle for a Caleb Bruckner kick a 45 yard field goal to keep chipping away at the Blazers. Bruckner was kicking for Falcons freshman kicker Lexi Dressing, who had a boot on her right foot and was on the sideline in street clothes.
Nation Ford picked off another Fetterson pass with under a minute left in the first half as senior Blake Hill grabbed the pass out of midair and returned it to the Blazers 43. The Falcons were unable to capitalize as Helms was picked off two plays later.
After a dropped pass on his first target, Cureton turned his second attempt into a 58-yard touchdown to put Nation Ford up 6-0 on just the second play of the game as Helms hit him for some redemption in the opening quarter.
Ridge View came right back with the help of a 70 yard kickoff return to get started. The Blazers were able to find holes in the Falcons defense as they scored six plays later when Fetterson hit junior Okechi Ntiasagwe.
The Blazers didnt get caught off guard again and stuffed Nation Fords running game on its second series.
Ridge View tried mixing it up using the running game and passing game to move the chains. Fetterson hit junior Marcus Reaster-Glover for a 36 yard gain to get to the 3 where junior Walter Napper put the Blazers up.
Nation Fords defense struggled against the Blazers, who seemed to move the ball at will as Fetterson hit his receivers on dinks and dunks, where they would pick up big yards in bunches.
Fetterson continued to guide Ridge View as he scrambled up the middle for a 38 yard touchdown with about 4:38 left in the opening quarter.
Despite the opening drive, Nation Ford also struggled on offense in the opening quarter as receivers dropped passes and the Blazers defense swarmed Helms and any backs attempting to run the ball.
Ridge View continued to score as it added a fourth touchdown before the end of the first quarter with Napper running down the left side of the field for 36-yards to the end zone. The score was set up by a 19-yard pass to Ntiasagwe to allow the Blazers to pick up the first down.
Nation Ford did have a bright stop before the end of the first quarter as senior Marcus Coleman scrambled 54 yards down the left side to score and cut the deficit in half.
Nation Ford 31,
Ridge View 28
NF Dalton Hems to Brandon Cureton 58-yard pass (Caleb Bruckner kick)
RV Terrell Fetterson eight-yard pass to Okechi Ntiasagwe (Essam Kablaoui kick)
RV Walter Napper three-yard run (Kablaoui kick)
RV Terrell Fetterson 38-yard run (kick blocked)
RV Napper 36-yard run (2-point conversion)
NF Marcus Coleman 54-yard run (Bruckner kick)
NF Andrew Bruce one-yard run (Bruckner kick)
NF Bruckner 45-yard field goal
NF Helms to Cureton 25-yard pass (Bruckner kick)
RUSHING Nation Ford: Dalton Helms 14-6, Marcus Coleman 11-94, Riley Hilton 1-2, Andrew Barr 2-5, Andrew Bruce 13-108, Tevin Ramirez 1-1, Brandon Cureton 1-5. Ridge View: Walter Napper 26-141, Terrell Fetterson 9-63, Mitchell Brown 6-24, Tyreek Bush 1-4 .
PASSING Nation Ford: Dalton Helms 15-34-2 233. Ridge View: Terrell Fetterson 10-21-3 134.
RECEIVING Nation Ford: Riley Hilton 5-60, Brandon Cureton 6-129, Josh Shade 1-21, Colt Taylor 3-23. Ridge View: Okechi Ntiasagwe 5-43, Jaylin Cunningham-Smith 2-21, Marcus Reaster-Glover 2-50, Alex Greene 1-20 .
RECORDS Nation Ford 3-1; Ridge View 2-2.