Quitman emerges with unblemished record

Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Oct. 2004 - COMO - The battle of the unbeatens was settled Friday night as the Quitman Bulldogs came into Ron Heflin Field and picked up a 42-7 District 17-2A win over the Como-Pickton Eagles.

Coach Joe Ryzman's team is now 5-1 overall and 1-1 in district play with the loss and will prepare for a trip to Alba and a battle with the Alba-Golden Panthers next Friday night. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

"We did all that we could do tonight," Ryzman said. "My kids played tough for four quarters and gave all they had, and I am proud of them for that."

Coach Rick Porter's Bulldogs are now 6-0 overall and 2-0 in district play with the win and will host Caddo Mills, who lost to Grand Saline Friday night 34-12 at home.

Quitman jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on a three-play 56-yard drive behind senior quarterback Chase Williams. Williams found receiver Jermal Jackson on a 45-yard pass play to get them to the Eagles 1-yard line.

On the next play, Williams powered his way in for the score with 10:44 remaining in the first quarter. Blaine Gipson nailed the PAT good.

Williams scored his second rushing touchdown of the game on a six-play drive on their next possession rushing for 4 yards around the ride side of the C-P defense for a 14-0 lead after Gipson's second PAT.

With Quitman deep in Eagles territory on the 7-yard line, the Bulldogs went for the touchdown on fourth-and-seven, but senior running back Jody Riojas was stopped at the 5-yard line.

On the next play, quarterback Josh Biggerstaff scampered 55 yards to the Quitman 41-yard line before the first quarter ended, but at the start of the second quarter Tyrin Porter fumbled on their second play to end the drive.

Biggerstaff went 0-for-5 passing with two interceptions and was pressured throughout the entire game. He suffered an injury late in the fourth quarter and did return to the game.

"We had some kids that sustained injuries out there with our quarterback going down, and we played with some of our starters out and so we had to stick more of our kids in positions that they weren't accustomed to, but I don't know that it hurt us," Ryzman said. "He (Josh) wanted to come back in and that shows you how tough he is and how determined he is. That speaks for our whole team, and our whole team is some of the toughest kids that I have ever coached in my life."

In the third quarter, an offensive explosion happened between the two teams as they combined for three consecutive scores in the quarter.

Quitman's Rion Gardner started the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown run, but Gibson missed the PAT to give Quitman a 20-0 lead. Gardner ended the night with 38 yards rushing on nine carries and one touchdown.

The Eagles were not going to give up as junior Ray Hayden took the ensuing kickoff and went 85 yards to paydirt down the left sideline for a 20-7 deficit. Freshman Noe Tellez nailed the PAT good with 6:12 remaining.

"These are the kind of kids that make coaching fun because they give you everything they have, and they don't walk off that field with anything else, and they give it their all," Ryzman said.

Quitman struck back, though, as Williams then connected with Wade Peoples on a 75-yard pass in stride to deliver the knockout-punch at 28-7. Riojas ran the two-point conversion attempt in around the right side of the Eagle defense.

Porter came in at quarterback in replace of Biggerstaff after suffering an injury to his foot early in the fourth quarter and went 1-for-1 on an 8-yard pass to John Sullivan.

"I thought for as many reps as Tyrin gets at quarterback that he did an awesome job," Ryzman said. "He is our backup quarterback, but being the backup, he doesn't get as many reps because he is always at tailback getting reps so I am very proud of him for stepping up and doing the job that he did."

Porter also rushed for 29 yards in the contest and is now only 99 yards away from a 1,000 yards rushing this season with 100 carries for 901 yards and 11 touchdowns in six games.

Biggerstaff was the second leading rusher for C-P with 54 yards on four carries, and Ryzman believes Biggerstaff handled the pressure the way a senior leader should during the game.

"Quitman has a very good defense and Josh was under a lot of pressure, and I was very proud of him for keeping his poise and act like a quarterback should act as a leader," Ryzman said.

Williams had 204 yards passing against the Eagles on seven-of-10 passing with one pick in the game, with Peoples as the leading receiver with 142 yards on five catches and one touchdown for the Bulldogs.

Riojas rounded out the night with 72 yards on 17 carries and one receiving touchdown for Quitman.

Quitman had 335 yards of offense compared to just 102 yards for the Eagles on the night.

Ryzman said in preparation for Alba-Golden and their bye week the following week, the coaching staff will be examining certain areas for the remaining half of the schedule during this week.

"Getting our kids healed is a big thing. We are going to reevaluate our weaknesses and our personnel with players injured and putting kids in to where they can help our team best," Ryzman said. "We will continue to get the kids healed and taking care of business against Alba-Golden and going into the off week, so when we come back out against Caddo Mills during Homecoming, we will be ready to go."

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