Mountain Ridge wins, 63-14, to win first state title appearance in school history | Local sports


FROSTBURG – Mountain Ridge has written quite a few chapters in their history book this season. On Friday night, the Miners wrote another, as they routed Perryville, 63-14, in the Class 1A State Semifinal at Miner Stadium to land a ticket to the Championship game of the state for the first time in the history of the school.

The Mountain Ridge No.2 (11-1) will face the Fort Hill No.1 (11-0) next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for the State Class 1A title.

“It hasn’t been fully absorbed yet,” said Mountain Ridge head coach Ryan Patterson. “I have trouble getting off. It’s always like the game mode, I go, I go, I go. I’ll have some time tonight when I get home with my wife to think, and I’m sure it will permeate.

“But I can see the joy on the faces of the children, especially the elderly. I can tell what it meant to them. I’m sort of vicariously living through them right now. But, big problem. A big deal for us.

Jaden Lee finished north of the 200 offensive yards, carrying the ball 15 times for 182 with three touchdowns while recording three passes for 34 yards and one score.

“I can’t describe this feeling,” Lee said. ” It’s crazy. That’s all I can really say.

Quarterback Bryce Snyder also racked up over 200 yards, completing 9 of 11 passes for two touchdowns and carrying the ball nine times for 98.

“It’s a great feeling for this school, this program, the city of Frostburg,” Snyder said. “They have been waiting a long time. It’s just a great feeling, but we still have one game to play.

“We asked to get the Bryce playoffs,” Patterson said. “I think part of Bryce’s playoffs is that he’ll have to run the damn ball, and he decided to do it. He’s so strong. When he gets to the north he does a lot of arm tackles and moves the pile. It’s such a nice balance to be able to take that ball off once we’ve established Jaden Lee.

The Miner offense got to work quickly, forcing a punt on the Panthers’ first practice and scoring in 3:16 on an 86-yard eight-game drive that was capped by a 28-yard touchdown pass. from Snyder to Lee.

After forcing a three-and-out, Mountain Ridge performed a hook and ladder in the first scrimmage play, with Snyder hitting Nathaniel Washington two yards, then Washington returned it to Patterson who rushed down the line. left touch, shoved a timid tackle off the goal line and entered for the score from 60 yards.

“It’s pretty cool,” Washington said. “It’s never been done in the history of the school, so it’s good to be a part of it.”

Mountain Ridge scored two points after the two scores, leading 16-0 at 4:35 after two-point runs from Connor Guy and Snyder.

Jaimere Guy ran the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, bringing the score to 16-7 after Zack Clarke’s point after, and it looked like there might be a contest, where temperatures were in the 1920s the real sensation was in the teenagers and the snow blew all night.

However, the Miners orchestrated another 86-yard drive, this one going seven plays with a 34-yard scamper from Lee for a score while dragging a defenseman hanging on his shirt tail into the end zone. Snyder’s PAT went 23-7 at 2:04 in the first.

Lee added a 38-yard touchdown run at 10:43 in the second and Snyder added an eight-yard touchdown with 22 seconds to the break after Washington returned a 42-yard punt to the Perryville 43.

Washington played a huge role in the punt return game. While he didn’t rack up many yards outside of the 42-yard return, he caught plenty of rugby-style punches in the air while battling the wind to save his position on the field.

“We knew the position on the pitch would be a big issue in a game like this,” said Ryan Patterson. “We knew the wind would also be taken into account. There have been a few times where I bite my lip watching it come up and line it up. But super brave on his part and he’s super confident in his hands. He knew he wasn’t going to show up tonight with a 200-yard reception or something, but he certainly contributed that way.

Perryville’s only offensive touchdown came on a 48-yard pass from Clarke to Daniel Tserkis with 1:36 before the break and the Miners were leading 36-14.

The rout was on five games in the second half when Snyder scored on a 37-yard scamper.

“It was a great environment,” Patterson said. “I could kind of tell when they got off the bus, they were a little out of their element. I looked at the temperature in Perryville this morning, it was 50 degrees. I’m sure it got colder as the day wore on.

“We went out at half-time, it was snowing, I felt like a kid. I wanted to lie on the ground and make snow angels. I knew the game was over by then. I could just tell with the energy that emanates from our children. They just embraced the elements.

The miners would add three more scores, with Lee scoring on a 25-yard rush, Uma Pua’auli on a 33-yard rush, and Connor Guy on a 14-yard rush.

Mountain Ridge edged Perryville, 566-121, carrying the ball 32 times for 433 yards.

“It starts up front,” Patterson said. “We pushed around a bit and tried to get all the guys where we wanted them to be, so I think that helped too. But Jaden does such a good job of selection. He’s running so hard and he’s still moving his feet. He’s still walking away, the guys were grabbing the jersey tonight, he was running through arm tackles. It gets stronger and stronger the further we go, that’s for sure.

Anytime you can limit the opposing team to fewer rushing yards than the number of carries, it’s a great night for the defense. The Miners limited the Panthers to 24 yards on 25 attempts.

“We pulled a small piece of several game plans against their Spread attack,” Patterson added. “Our players up front are so strong off the ball and our linebackers are also improving every week. They are healthy now. (Hunter) Clise had a little problem with his shoulder for a while, then (Lyle) Baker had a concussion and missed a couple of games. His first comeback game was Fort Hill. I don’t think he still had his legs under him. They clean up whatever the line pushes around. For the most part, the ends do a good job.

“And the depth, I can’t stress enough. Bringing those jayvees and having four or five kids right away can help, as well as the special teams thing with these guys. Depth is a big issue for us.

The Miners hope to avenge a 37-7 loss to Fort Hill on October 8, where the Sentinels dominated just about every aspect next week.

“I think we played better in every playoff game,” said Patterson. “I think we are improving. Obviously, being warm at the right time. We know how challenging Fort Hill is going to be. You don’t completely erase a game like we did in the middle of the season. And then we played them in the fall, then we played them in the spring, and then we had this turnaround. But it doesn’t just repeat itself.

“There are so many variables in there. We know what a big challenge this is going to be. We hope to give them our best punch and see where the chips fall. We’re going to prepare from tomorrow morning, then we’re going to give everything we have as coaches, and we know our players will give them everything they have.


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