St. Marys falls to Ritchie County

ST. MARYS — Travel jitters didn’t surface this time around for Ritchie County’s football team. Two weeks after watching a halftime lead slip away against Parkersburg Catholic on the road, Rick Haught’s Rebels didn’t let up Thursday night against St. Marys.

Ritchie fought back from a late deficit for a 24-21 win over the Blue Devils at Bill Hanlin Stadium. The Rebels’ first win over the Devils since 2011.

Hope seemed lost after Brennan Boron’s 1-yard QB sneak gave St. Marys the lead, 21-14, with 4:10 left in the third. Ritchie County had yet to score an offensive touchdown on the evening.

The scenario became dire when the Devils stuffed Ritchie County on fourth-and-15 at the SM 29 with just minutes remaining in the contest.

Jodi Mote’s team had sustained drives all evening to put the pressure on the Rebels. It appeared the Blue Devils were headed to their first win of the season, but a Boron fumble recovered on the first play of the following drive recovered by Garrett Owens with 3:35 left gave the Rebels new life.

Two plays later, Tre Moss rumbled up the middle untouched for a 27-yard score on second-and-1. A successful conversion run gave Ritchie all the points they needed.

“Me and my line coach were having an argument,” said Haught. “He wanted to get a first down with a QB sneak and sometimes you have a gut feeling and take a chance.”

It was the second score of the evening for Moss, who ran 16 times for 83 yards on the night. The sophomore ran a fumble recovery back 22 yards in the opening period.

“You know they did a heck of a job defensively on us,” said Haught. “I was out of plays. Had guys cramping. And for Moss to hit that play there and the two-point conversion. I am proud of the kids to hang in the game until the end.”

St. Marys got in position to tie the game but Joey Sanchez’ 37-yard field goal was well short.

“We just have to keep fighting,” said Mote in the locker room after the game.

“Congrats to coach Haught and Ritchie County. I can’t say enough good things about this team either.”

Haught was pleased with the way his team kicked off a tough portion of the schedule where the Rebels face three 2017 playoff teams, who return a lot of talent, in the next five weeks. The fourth team, Ravenswood, finished 17th in the WVSSAC Ratings. Sandwiched between the Ravenswood and Webster County games is a bye week.

“I guarantee it makes practice easier Monday,” said Haught. “Doddridge is one of the best Class A teams in the state. We have got to get better. Offense I thought it was our poorest performance of the year but give St. Marys credit too.”

Game time against Doddridge County is 7 p.m. next Friday.

“I can’t even describe it right now how big of a win it is for us and our community,” said Haught. “We keep proving the naysayers wrong and prove people wrong. I don’t have the words to describe how big this win was for us.”