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Wolfpack uses balance to beat Blue Devils

Kevin Mays • Updated Sep 21, 2019 at 2:30 AM

CLINTWOOD — Versatility was the key to the game for Ridgeview on Friday against Gate City.

With the Blue Devils playing a defensive scheme to stop Wolfpack star running back Trenton Adkins, Ridgeview opened up its offense and played solid defense to earn a 42-7 Mountain 7 District win.

Adkins still had another impressive night, rushing for 236 yards — most of it in the second half — and three touchdowns on 23 carries. The junior NCAA Division I prospect also had two interceptions on defense.

DIFFERENT LOOKS

In addition to Adkins’ performance, the Wolfpack (4-0, 2-0) flexed its offensive muscle with dual-threat quarterback Nick Phillips, a junior who completed 9 of 13 passes for 136 yards and rushed for 39 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.

“I think overall, we were well balanced,” Phillips said. “We had a good offensive game, we had a good defensive game and a good special teams game. Our line really stepped up tonight and our receivers stepped up. It was a heck of a game.”

View Roddy Addington’s photo gallery from the game

With Phillips’ offensive performance — as well as Alijah Sproles stepping up as a threat out of the backfield with a 17-yard touchdown run — opposing teams will have to worry about more than just stopping Adkins.

“We have multiple threats all over the field and we’re going to be tough to stop,” Phillips said.

Veteran coach Rick Mullins said his coaching staff knows teams are going to be focusing on Adkins and stacking eight and nine defenders in the box in an attempt to slow him down. It’s good to have other offensive players step up, particularly Phillips.

“Nick is capable. We’ve just not turned him loose yet,” Mullins said of his quarterback.

DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT

Ridgeview’s offense scored on six of its nine possessions, but Mullins was particularly pleased to see his defense shut down Gate City most of the night.

“I think our defense stepped up tonight. Our defense took a step forward. This is the best our defense has played and I’ve been looking for this,” he said.

Ridgeview also controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball for most of the game.

Gate City senior Michael Calhoun, who finished with 90 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, picked up 53 yards on one play that moved the ball to the Ridgeview 18. Four plays later, Calhoun scored from 3 yards out to cut the Ridgeview lead to 14-7 with 9:58 to play in the opening half.

Ridgeview scored two more times in the final 4:19 of the second quarter, on a 10-yard run from Phillips and a 3-yard run from Adkins. Phillips’ score was set up by a screen pass to Sproles, which moved the ball from the Wolfpack 13 to the Gate City 10.

In the second half, Ridgeview dominated in the trenches.

“I think after the first quarter, we started to control the line of scrimmage a little bit,” Mullins said. “They’ve got some big ole hosses up front and took us a little while to get adjusted to it. Especially in the second half I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage pretty well.”

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

For Gate City first-year coach Jeremy Houseright, the focus on the future is improving.

“We’ve got to get better. We got to go back and we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to find that fire that we had that first week of the season. There’s just no other way around it. We’ve got to get better,” Houseright said.

UP NEXT

Ridgeview welcomes Lee High for homecoming next Friday, while Gate City goes to Bullitt Park to face Union.

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