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Gus Morrison lifts Ritchie past Roane, 38-13

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Ritchie County’s Austin Bartlett (6) upends Roane County running back Ethan Collins during a high school football game Friday in Spencer.

SPENCER — Ritchie County scored on all three of its drives in the second quarter here Friday night at County Stadium as the Class A, No. 16 Rebels spoiled Roane County’s homecoming with a 38-13 victory.

The now 6-2 Rebels of head man Rick Haught, who play host next Friday to Gilmer County, survived four turnovers.

Dakota Wayne went for 101 yards on 15 attempts for the Rebels, but on the opening drive he was stripped by Skyler Delk and Ethan Collins recovered.

Roane County gave it right back five plays later when Claude Bauer fumbled and Marlon Moore pounced on it.

A key 23-yard pass from Ethan Haught to Garrett Cunningham set up Wayne’s 12-yard TD burst at 5:50 of the first as the visitors never trailed. Roane County found itself down 8-0 after Haught hit Gus Morrison with the two-point conversion pass.

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Ritchie County's Gus Morrison, left, carries the ball.

That was the beginning of a big night for Morrison as the Rebels were playing without the services of senior wideout Graden McKinney, who has scored a combined seven touchdowns.

Despite a fumble recovery by Colton Paxton, the Raiders of head coach Paul Burdette couldn’t take advantage.

The Rebels’ first drive of the second started with runs by Wayne for 5 and 15 yards before Morrison took it to the house from 54 yards out. Morrison once again got the two-point conversion catch to make it 16-0. Roane County answered with its best drive of the game. Lineman Blake Murray bulled for 3 yards to pick up a first down.

On a third-and-7 play from the Rebel 25, Bauer hauled in a 16-yard reception from Shadraq Greathouse. Later facing a fourth-and-goal at the 10, Greathouse found Collins for a touchdown pass, but the try for two failed and it was 16-6 with 5:02 left in the half.

Following a short kick, Ritchie County took over at the Raider 44 and needed just one play to score. Haught hit Morrison on the TD strike and Morrison’s run for two put Roane County in a 24-6 hole.

After the Rebel defense forced a three-and-out, Morrison scored his third six-pointer of the affair. This time it was a 4-yard TD toss from Haught, but Wayne’s conversion run was no good to set the halftime score.

Roane County, which dropped to 2-4 and returns to action next Friday at Liberty (Harrison), used a Bauer 7-yard run and then three carries by Collins for 26 yards to try and get into position to score before the break. A 25-yard pass to Delk got the ball to the 3. Greathouse managed to spike it with one second left, but a Collins run was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

The Raiders took the ball to open the third and marched from their own 33 to the Rebel 10 in a dozen plays before disaster struck. Greathouse’s pass was intercepted by Bruce Moyer, who returned it 84 yards before Bauer finally caught him at the 14.

Ritchie County gave it right back, though, as a Morrison fumble was recovered by Murray. However, the Raiders went three-and-out and were forced to punt after Wayne batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage on third down.

The visitors added their final six-pointer at 11:14 of the fourth when Haught bulled in from the 1. Wayne added the conversion run.

Although Roane County’s offense couldn’t move the ball and the defense forced a Rebel punt, the hosts muffed it and Blaine Bowie was there for the recovery.

Even though the Rebels soon had it first-and-goal, Haught was intercepted for the first time this season. Delk picked it off at the 6 and managed to get inside the Rebel 10, but a penalty brought it back to near midfield.

Roane County was able to add one more score when Bauer hit paydirt from 27 yards with 3:35 to play. Kelton Black’s extra point was true.

Along with grabbing four receptions for 81 yards, both game-highs, Morrison also rushed seven times for a game-high 116 stripes. Haught finished 7 of 15 for 124 yards.

Greathouse, who was making his return to the lineup, completed 8 of 19 for 83 yards. Bauer (21-93) and Collins (13-46) led the hosts on the ground.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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