BURLINGTON – Devonte Williams rushed for a season-high 264 yards and the Reidsville defense intercepted four Ryan Boswell passes as the Rams stifled Cummings High School, 35-7 Friday night.
The Rams, now 8-2 on the season, wrapped up the Mid-State 2-A Conference as it heads into this week’s season finale at Carrboro. Carrboro, once thought to be Reidsville’s roadblock to a conference championship, dropped its third straight Mid-State tussle and sits at 4-6 overall (1-3 conference).
Williams and the Rams’ defense was all that head coach Jimmy Teague and his staff needed and wrapping up yet another Mid-State crown.
“He’s special with the ball in his hands,” said Teague of his junior quarterback, Williams. “When he’s running with it, he’s a different animal. We probably wouldn’t be where we’re at if it wasn’t for his running.”
The most impressive thing about Williams’ 264 yards rushing is that it came in just three quarters of action. With the outcome no longer in doubt, at 35-0, Teague emptied the bench and gave his reserves some playing time in the fourth quarter.
Reidsville dominated play from the opening snap of the game, but by halftime led just 14-0 on the scoreboard.
Cummings was in the negative for yards rushing in the first half and the first 5 plays from scrimmage were losses.
“We felt like it should have been 28-0 at halftime,” Teague added. “Sometimes bad things happen, you can’t explain it, but you can’t let it affect you. We had a couple bad things happen to us and we let it get in our heads. We can’t let that happen.”
While the Rams’ defense was swarming like bees on the Cavalier offense, Williams and the offense was quickly moving up and down the field – grabbing chunks of yards on nearly every snap.
A 24-yard kickoff return from Williams, coupled with a 15-yard penalty on the home team, put Reidsville at the Cummings 43-yard line.
It took just six plays for the Rams to find pay dirt as Williams scored the first of his two touchdowns. Faced with a fourth-and-two, the junior signal caller called his own number and outraced the Cavaliers’ defense 25 yards for a score.
Brad Green added the first of his five PATs as the Rams grabbed the early 7-0 lead.
Cummings did not manage a first down until late in the first quarter as Reidsville’s defense – led by Jack Nimmons, Jayron Rankin and Noel Cook – harassed quarterback Ryan Boswell and the Cummings running backs.
Nimmons, who recorded two sacks in the opening half, was proud of his unit’s effort.
“We knew they’re a good team despite their record and we knew we had to come out, play hard and get off to a fast start,” said Nimmons.
The two things that kept the Rams from completely putting the game out of reach early were penalties and turnovers. Reidsville was flagged 17 times for 145 yards while Cummings was whistled six times for 65 yards. Williams also tossed a pair of interceptions – both coming in Cavalier territory.
Reidsville, on its second possession, overcame three penalties and had a third-and-7 from the Cummings 35-yard line but on third down Williams’ throw sailed over the head of his intended receiver and into the arms of Shilow Morrow.
Following punts from each team, the Rams got back on track and marched 55 yards in just four plays – led by Williams, who rushed once for 15 yards and was 2 of 2 passing for 37 yards – the final 21 going to Cook who found the end zone for a 14-0 RHS edge.
With 2:29 left in the first half and Reidsville looking to add to its margin, Robbie Williams got his hands on a Williams pass at the Cavalier 29-yard line. The interception followed a 39-yard Williams rush and a 4-yard scamper from Rankin, who finished with 62 yards and one TD on 12 attempts.
Reidsville outrushed Cummings, 402-(-8).
“We knew they wanted to run the ball,” said Teague. “In the past, Cummings liked to throw it around quite a bit, but this year we knew they wanted to run it and we were dead-set on not letting them run the ball. I thought we did a good job, especially in the first half, of making them throw.”
When the running game was not there for the Cavaliers, they were forced to take to the air but only one of Boswell’s completions went for more than 20 yards.
“They made some first downs, but I told them they weren’t going to beat us throwing those five-yard routes and they didn’t,” said Teague.
In addition to stifling the Cummings running attack, Reidsville intercepted Boswell four times – two coming by Erik Poteat and one each from Cook and Blake Stewart.
Both of Poteat’s interceptions led to Reidsville touchdowns, the second coming early in the third quarter.
The senior defensive back gave Reidsville the ball at the 32-yard line and the offense needed just six plays to pad their lead to 21-0.
Williams ripped off runs of 45 and 12 yards and Jawan Hammock helped carry the load with four attempts for 20 yards, three going into the end zone with 7:27 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive, the Cavaliers was stymied once again and forced to punt.
Despite one of its worst field positions, at the 20-yard line, Reidsville was not to be denied when on the first snap of the series Williams outran the Cummings defense 80 yards for his second score of the night.
The Cavaliers’ lone score came midway through the final period against the RHS reserves. Boswell connected with Tevin Smith, who he found five times for 59 yards, on a 15-yard TD pass.
Teague and company now look to wrap up the regular season next week at the Jaguars, who knocked the Rams out of the playoffs a year ago.
“We still have a lot to play for even though we wrapped up the conference,” said Teague. “We want to win and get a high seed. We know how important home games are in the playoffs.”