The stage for was set and wet for the Pleasant Ridge Rams’ home-opener Friday night against the Atchison Redmen.
Unfortunately the outcome was not worthy of a PR celebration — Ridge lost 46-6 to the Redmen.
This game was also the debut of Pat McCollim as Ridge’s new head coach and junior Blake Graham in the starting quarterback role.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Rams after the first possession was fumbled and Atchison recovered the ball.
Throughout the first quarter offensive penalties, namely a bevy of false starts, plagued the Rams allowing the Redmen to gain good field position and score twice.
At the close of the first quarter, PR had their biggest play of the game when Graham threw a 64-yard pass to Nate Amos with just 10.3 seconds left. Their two-point conversion attempt failed.
Entering the second quarter, Amos showed up on defense with a big tackle but once PR got the ball back, there was yet another penalty, sending PR back five yards.
Even with repeated steady drives, PR was unable to convert the progress into points.
When the ball went back to Atchison, they led a strong drive down the field, including a 31-yard pass from quarterback Tanner Huntington to Jered Ross.
Then, despite a strong defensive stand at the goal line by the Rams, the Redmen scored again and completed another two-point conversion.
As with almost every other possession in the first half, PR was handed a penalty as soon as they got the ball on the subsequent drive, thus despite a 13-yard gain by Holmes and a three-yard scramble by Graham, the team wound up punting. That led a 64-yard drive by the Redmen, capped off with a touchdown pass to Austin Housh and another two-point conversion.
At the start of the second half, with the scoreboard reading Pleasant Ridge 6, Atchison 32, PR continued to accrue penalties.
Yet, in a promising twist, PR was able to move down field as a result of two consecutive unsportsmanlike penalties against Atchison, as well as a pass interference call on fourth down.
However, following their second fourth down attempt at the visitor’s 8-yard line, Graham’s pass was tipped and landed in the hands of Wade Gassman, who ran it back 99-yards for a touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, with a substantial lead of 33, Atchison was able to tack on one last touchdown without allowing the Rams a chance to reciprocate.
“I am proud of the kids because they didn’t give up,” said a solemn McCollim. “They kept playing hard this entire game.”
He went on to admit that this game was on the schedule as a challenge, but that his team needs to work on their consistency and, most notably, the number of penalties incurred.
Page 2 of 2 - “Now we go watch the films and get ready for next week,” he concluded. “That’s all we can do.”
Pleasant Ridge, 0-1, travels to Jefferson County North next Friday.