It was as if the Red Devils ran out to a 14-3 lead early in the game Friday night, Oct. 1, at Booster Stadium, and then the entire team cramped up in the second quarter in the 51-20 loss.
It was Lake Highland Prep, ranked No. 9 in the state, that came to life after falling behind in the first seven minutes of the game.
The Red Devils received the opening kickoff as Brandon Preston fielded the kick from the Highlanders 20th ranked high school kicker in the nation, Michael Rasmusen.
Preston followed his blockers, cut to the right and was off to the end zone with a 95-yard touchdown. The extra point kick was blocked and the Red Devils held a 6-0 lead.
LHP stalled at the Red Devil 23 yard line on their first possession of the game.
So, on fourth down Rasmusen blasted a 30 yard field goal straight through the uprights.
Leading 6-3, the Red Devils fielded the kickoff that was kicked short. After each team was forced to punt following three and out series, the Red Devils took over at their own 12-yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage Dontrell Edwards broke two tackles and bolted 88 yards for a Red Devil touchdown. After an offside penalty called on the Highlanders, the Red Devils went for two as Juwantis Collins stepped into the end zone, putting the Red Devils ahead 14-3 after six minutes had been played in the first quarter.
LHP then exploded and scored on their next two possessions of the first quarter, once on a 50-yard run, and again on a fake punt as the punter found a wide-open receiver for six points. Both extra point kicks were good and the Highlanders held a 17-14 lead as the first quarter ended.
In the second quarter, it was the Highlanders Michael Morta, Alfred Simpson, and Taylor Barber accounting for the three touchdowns scored.
Rasmusen added three extra point kicks, and ended the first half with another field goal to put the Highlanders up 41-14 at the half.
After the Red Devils lost David Heinkle in the first half to a wrist injury, the back up quarterback playing in the A-back spot, came out following a tremendously hard hit by the Highlanders. Brandon Preston was filling in at quarterback for starting quarterback DJ King, who was not dressed for the game.
The Highlanders took the second half kickoff and Hayden Jones returned the ball 80 yards for a touchdown. Following the Rasmusen kick, the Highlanders were now up 48-14.
The third quarter saw backup quarterback Preston sidelined with a ankle injury.
The Red Devil defense stiffened as if they said enough is enough. The defense held the Highlanders to just one Rasmusen field goal for the remainder of the third quarter for a 51-14 score. Two Red Devil fumbles by the offense stopped two potential scoring drives in the third quarter.
Still willing to punch away, with Kalen Penny now at quarterback, the Red Devils drove to the LHP 1-yard line on three outstanding runs by Edwards. Penny bolted in to the end zone with just under five minutes left in the game. The Red Devils then had a center to holder snap miscue, and were unable to convert the extra point attempt. The touchdown made the score 51-20.
Coach Baker said following the game, “They have a very good team. We won’t see another team with that kind of talent again this year.” Baker then said to his team, “Come to work Monday ready to go to work.”
When asked about the mounting injury situation for the Red Devils, Baker said, “I’ll figure something out.”
The Red Devils travel to Umatilla Friday, Oct. 8, for their second district match of the season. Game time is 7:30 p.m.