High School Football

Ridgeland tops Whale Branch as game ends with ugly incident

info@islandpacket.comOctober 1, 2011 

For the majority of the night, Ridgeland High School running back Torray Amlett -- and Whale Branch High School's inability to stop him -- was the story.

But the game won't be remembered for Amlett's 188 yards and four touchdowns in the Jaguars' 42-18 road victory. It will be remembered for the final 16 seconds that weren't played after both benches emptied onto the field -- and for the fallout that is sure to come.

Players from both teams rushed onto the field after Jacob Ferguson's 3-yard touchdown run and ensuing 2-point conversion run put the final punctuation on Ridgeland's key Region 5-A victory, and they were followed shortly by coaches, administrators and police officers.

The skirmish was quickly contained, and both teams were sent off the field -- the Warriors to their locker room, and the Jaguars to their bus. But the effects of the ugly incident likely are far from over.

"I don't know what happened at the end," Whale Branch coach Rob D'Amato said. "We're going to have to review the film, and we'll have to send it in (to the High School League). I'm sure there's going to be suspensions and ejections handed down by the High School League, obviously, but beyond that, it's going to be handled by the administration here at the school, as well."

D'Amato called the incident "embarrassing." He wasn't pleased with his team's performance up to that point, either.

The Warriors (4-2, 1-2 Region 5-A) took a short-lived 18-14 lead on Frank Washington's 95-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:26 left in the first half. But Amlett capped a six-play, 51-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds left, giving Ridgeland (4-2, 2-1) the lead for good.

Amlett added two more third-quarter touchdowns to go with a 59-yard score in the first quarter in which he broke out of the pile at midfield and dashed to the end zone.

"This was my first good game all year," Amlett said, noting he was slowed by a bone bruise in his big toe early in the season. "It was time for me to step up to the next level, so that's what I did."

The Warriors, meanwhile, managed only 13 total yards after halftime and committed three second-half turnovers.

"Offensively, we were awful," D'Amato said. "The play-calling was really, really bad. We're going to have to reevaluate the way we do things."

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