Ben Lauglin's long run for a TD
The MS Red Devils made a startling rally in second half
By Roger Propst
Calhoun's Middle School Red Devils scored with 1:32 remaining in the game on Thursday evening at Red Devil Stadium to cap a furious comeback and beat the Trail Blazers of Ritchie Middle, 20-16.
Tailback Ben Laughlin scampered the final 15 yards on a 3rd and 11 for the winning score.
Calhoun won the coin toss, and for the 2nd straight week, elected to defer its option to the 2nd half, Ritchie choosing to take the ball to open the game.
Ritchie began their initial drive after the kickoff at their 23-yard line, and moved the ball downfield on 11 consecutive running plays, eating up 5 minutes and 30 seconds of the 1st Quarter to take an 8-0 lead after tacking on the two-point conversion.
The Red Devils moved the ball downfield on their 1st possession after the kickoff, but on a 1st down at the Ritchie 39, Laughlin hit Tyler Bennett on the left sideline and he scampered toward the end zone, but was hit from behind and lost the ball at the Blazers' 11-yard line.
Ritchie quickly returned the favor by fumbling the ball back to Calhoun three plays later at its 12-yard line. Ritchie's defense stiffened and took the ball back on downs four plays later at their 26-yard line.
The Trail Blazers moved the ball up field to the Red Devil 42-yard line, where on a bizarre play in which a Calhoun defender was screened from sacking the Ritchie quarterback by the Referee, being unable to get out of the way, the Blazers completed a pass in the right flat and the receiver raced down the sideline to score with 55 seconds remaining in the 1st Half. A successful two-point conversion made the score 16-0.
The Red Devils would not quit, and on the 2nd play after taking the kickoff, quarterback Dylan Mefford hit Ben Laughlin over the middle on a screen pass and Laughlin, with some nifty running, and good blocking downfield, took the pigskin to the end zone and the Devils were back in the game, trailing 16-6 with 20.2 seconds remaining the 1st Half.
The Red Devils received the 2nd half kickoff and controlled the ball all but four plays in the 3rd Quarter. The Blazers lost the ball on a fumble, covered for Calhoun by Corey Metz on their only possession of the quarter.
Calhoun moved the ball to the Ritchie one-yard line for a 1st and goal late in the quarter, the big play a 29 yard run by Ben Laughlin.
CMS fumbled at the one-yard line, but Jacob Nestor recovered for Calhoun, and one play later, Dylan Mefford scored on a quarterback sneak. The two-point conversion was good on a Laughlin run, and the score was Ritchie 16, Calhoun 14.
Ritchie moved the ball to the Red Devils' 26-yard line, but fumbled the ball, and Laughlin recovered for Calhoun at the 23.
Calhoun began what would be the winning drive, the big play again being the middle screen to Laughlin covering 45 yards and taking the ball to the Ritchie 14-yard line.
After a one yard loss and an incomplete pass, Laughlin hit it up the middle, cut back to the left and scampered to pay dirt for the winning score with 1:32 remaining in the game.
Laughlin was stopped short on the run for two points, and the Red Devils had come all the way back for a 20-16 lead.
Ritchie had one last opportunity after the kickoff and a run back to the Blazer 40-yard line where the ball carrier was taken down on a big hit by Caleb Richards.
A first down pass was incomplete, Bennett and Laughlin stuffed a draw play for no gain on 2nd down, Caden Arnold hit the passer on 3rd down, and the quarterback was called for intentional grounding, (loss of down), and a 4th and 24 was stopped, and that was the game.
Ben Laughlin topped the 100-yard rushing mark for the 2nd consecutive week, finishing with 116 yards, and two touchdowns, one on the ground and the other on the 71-yard screen pass and run.
Calhoun entertains Braxton Middle at Mt. Zion this Thursday evening.