09/25/05 — Midway downs winless Rosewood

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Midway downs winless Rosewood

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 25, 2005 2:13 AM

SPIVEY'S CORNER -- Maybe Midway should think about joining the Class 1-A Carolina Conference in just football. The Raiders' goal-line defense answered two challenges on a humid Friday evening and turned back Rosewood 29-23 at Walter J. Ragan Field.

The Raiders collected their third win of the season -- all against Carolina Conference schools -- in five outings. The Eagles, who appeared more upset than dejected from the loss, departed 0-4.

"It was an exciting football game, I guess, for the fans as far as I can tell," said Rosewood coach Daniel Barrow, now in his 13th season.

"We had some opportunities. Give Midway credit, they kept plugging and never gave up."

Especially the Raider defense.

Facing a fourth-and-goal at the Midway 5, junior free safety Ryan Butler dropped the Eagles' Josh Myers for a one-yard loss. The key stop preserved the Raiders' one-touchdown advantage with two seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Clinging to a 29-21 lead, Raider freshman lineman Donnie Owens and junior linebacker Steven Strickland came up with three huge defensive plays late in the fourth.

Rosewood quarterback Brantley Ellis orchestrated a masterful 70-yard drive that eventually reached the one-foot line.

The Eagles committed a crucial false start penalty which backed them up to the Raider 6. Owens, a 296-pounder, stopped Myers for no gain on second down.

Strickland sacked Ellis on third down and Owens sacked Ellis on fourth down.

"They've got a good player they move around a lot," said Barrow. "They got good penetration up the gut and that hurt us. We just didn't have a chance to get the play off."

Midway (3-2) took over on downs and yielded a safety as time expired.

The teams combined for 750 yards of total offense and each had one running back to surpass the century mark. Myers churned out 132 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Raider tailback Edward McDuffie piled up a game-high 205 yards and two touchdowns on 15 attempts.

Rosewood quarterback Brantley Ellis completed 50 percent of his passes for 111 yards, including 82 to Stephen Brantley. Midway's Josh Crumpler also completed 50 percent of his passes for 136 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown strike to McDuffie.

Special teams play factored into the non-conference shootout.

The Eagles recovered a fake punt near midfield and cashed in two plays later on Ellis' 48-yard run. Rosewood's Markas Brunson recovered a fumble on the next Raider possession, and Myers busted loose for a 15-yard touchdown.

Barrow's club carried a 15-7 lead into halftime.

"They got excited from the (late) success in the first half and hadn't experienced being up (at halftime), which was exciting for them," said Barrow. "They understood they had 24 minutes of football to play. I told the guys before the game that I thought the kicking game was going to determine the outcome of this football game.

"I knew it was going to be a hard-fought game and that both teams were evenly matched."

Rosewood's initial possession of the third quarter ended on a rare play. Ellis, who doubled as the Eagles' punter, took the snap from center and his knee touched the ground as he received the ball to kick. The official ruled the ball dead and Midway took over the Eagle 34.

Two plays later McDuffie broke through for an 18-yard touchdown run.

The Eagles punted on their next possession and McDuffie busted an 80-yard touchdown run. McDuffie touched the ball on nine of the Raiders' first 11 plays of the second half.

"That was a scissors play where they pulled the backside guard and blocked down with the tight end," Barrow said. "They tried to kick out our gap player, who tried to set a post and turn it back inside. (McDuffie) did go inside, but we couldn't scrape fast enough to get over there.

"That was a good change of pace for them and something we hadn't seen. But, we knew they had it."

McDuffie added his 60-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth. Myers countered with a 65-yard scoring jaunt of his own, which closed the gap to 29-21.

Rosewood endured its fifth consecutive loss, including last year's first-round playoff defeat against Lejeune.

The Eagles hope to end that trend next Friday against Jones Senior, which has just 15 players on its roster.

Notes: Junior FS Andrew Sass emerged Rosewood's top tackler with seven stops. ... Junior LB Bradly Mullins added six tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. ... Brunson had three tackles for loss, including a sack. ... Senior DE Ty Johnson sacked Crumpler twice.