BAMBERG -- Ridgeland arrived at Leon Maxwell Stadium on Friday confident it could dish out cold revenge on undefeated Region 5-A rival Bamberg-Ehrhardt.
When the two schools met on the Jaguars' home field on Sept. 17, the Red Raiders scored 19 unanswered fourth-quarter points to steal a 35-33 road victory.
This time, the Red Raiders used a 35-point scoring barrage in the second half to turn the rematch into a one-sided affair as it routed Ridgeland 49-6 in the second round of the Class-A Division I playoffs.
In advancing to the Lower State final to play host to Hemingway, the Red Raiders (12-0) got a combined 207 yards and four touchdowns from Demetrius Williams and O'Keefe Jones and two touchdown passes from Randon Sandifer. Bamberg-Ehrhardt's defense was also dominant, collecting two turnovers, including a fumble recovery and touchdown by defensive lineman K'oshe McMillan, and holding the Jaguars (8-4) to 28 total yards and one first down in the second half.
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"They got the mental over us," Ridgeland head coach Richard Kirkland said. "We're a four-year-old school. It was just our second time making it to the playoffs. They've got the mental on us and Bamberg is a very strong team and they just came out and put the muscle on us late in the game."
The Red Raiders jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter as their ground attack got hot early. Jones and Williams combined for 106 of their 111 first-half yards on the two scoring series as they alternated carries from the backfield.
Jones set the offensive tone on the Red Raiders' opening drive with a 35-yard run and scored on a 5-yard run to put Bamberg-Ehrhardt ahead. Bamberg-Ehrhardt continued to run the football on its next series before Sandifer fired a 34-yard touchdown strike to Michael Johnson.
The Jaguars also found success on the ground with Torray Amlett, Jerry Scott and quarterback Xavier Capers combining for 115 rushing yards in the first half. Their scoring opportunities were initially thwarted on back-to-back failed fourth-down conversions, one at the Bamberg-Ehrhardt 4.
The third time was the charm for Ridgeland as Capers scored on a 1-yard keeper on 4th-and-goal with 15.8 seconds left in the half. Bamberg-Ehrhardt blocked the PAT attempt to enter the locker room leading 14-6.
It was the only bright moment enjoyed by the Jaguars as Bamberg-Ehrhardt scored 28 unanswered points in the third quarter. Sandifer closed out the scoring early in the fourth quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Will Priester. The loss ends Ridgeland's season and seven-game winning streak while the Red Raiders move a step closer to their first Class A title game appearance in 20 years.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt 49, Ridgeland 6
BE -- Jones 5 run (kick good), 8:17
BE -- Johnson 34 pass from Sandifer (kick good), 2:38
RHS -- Capers 1 run (kick failed), 15.8
BE -- K'oshe McMillan fumble recovery (kick good), 10:49
BE -- Jones 9 run (run good), 6:49
BE -- Williams 3 run (kick good), 3:57
BE -- Williams 35 run (kick failed), 3:42
BE -- Priester 19 pass from Sandifer (kick failed), 11:44