Ragsdale gobbles up Beef
07/16/02 Bismarck Tribune
Tempers were short, the game was long and by the end of the night Danny Ragsdale had burned the Omaha Beef defense to a crisp.
The gimpy QB, whose availability for Saturday's Pacific Conference semifinal was doubtful due to an injured ankle, led the Bismarck Roughrider offense on 10 drives and found the end zone each time as the Riders rolled to a 69-40 win over Omaha.
Bismarck will host Billings next Monday for the conference championship.
"I told him that in another life he must have been a shogun warrior," Bismarck coach Collins Sanders said. "He's got more guts than anybody I know.
"... Danny's a huge presence," Sanders added. "He'll make you pay for every mistake."
Ragsdale did that time and again. He completed 16 of 20 passes for seven TDs and 183 yards. That last number was deceptively low, as after the first quarter Bismarck simply didn't have far to go to score.
Ragsdale said the ankle slowed him, as evidenced by the fact that the normally mobile QB had just two carries for 3 yards, and one of those "runs" was actually just a fumble when he was under pressure in the pocket.
"I couldn't move around, but I just tried to make sure I kept my ankle out of the way when I took any shots," Ragsdale said.
That didn't happen often, as a combination of trick plays and good work by the offensive line kept Omaha's monster defensive end, Dwayne Harris, out of Ragsdale's hair for most of the night.
The Roughrider defense asserted itself by forcing turnovers on two of Omaha's first three possessions, both inside the Bismarck 5-yard line.
Kyle Sires came up with the first one, picking off a Troy Travis pass on the first drive. Ragsdale turned that turnover into points on Bismarck's second play from scrimmage, hooking up with A.J. Street on a 35-yard touchdown pass on a flea flicker.
"We wanted to use that on the first play, but we were buried too deep," Ragsdale said. "So we used it on the second play. We wanted to come out petal to the medal."
The teams then traded scores -- a 3-yard run by Omaha's Clinton Childs and a 25-yard shovel pass from Ragsdale to Cradle. Then Bismarck's defense struck again, when Danielle Rollins Kendell recovered a fumble on the Bismarck 3. Once again Bismarck moved swiftly down the field despite lousy field position. The five-play drive culminated in a 7-yard scoring pass to Duane Monlux, and Bismarck led 21-7 after one quarter.
What a first period it was for Ragsdale. He completed 7 of 9 passes for 116 yards and three TDs in the first quarter alone.
The second quarter was more of the same, just without the Omaha turnovers. Bismarck's defense came up with another stop, while Bismarck again found paydirt on all three of its possessions.
The Beef cut into the lead when former University of North Dakota tight end Chad Mustard won a wrestling match to haul in a 21-yard scoring pass.
When Bismarck got the ball back, the game degenerated into a series of penalties -- both ways -- before Ragsdale finally hooked up on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Cradle.
Then after shutting down Omaha, the Riders reached into their bag of tricks again.
This time Monlux took a lateral pass from Ragsdale and threw a 33-yard touchdown floater to Street. The extra point was missed, but Bismarck still had a comfortable 34-13 lead.
Each team got one more score before halftime, a 5-yard pass from Travis to Steve Lovell for Omaha and an 8-yard throw from Ragsdale to Monlux. Ragsdale, showing his usual confidence, let the clock run down to 8.7 before making the play, not enough time for the Beef to get on the board again, and the score remained 41-20 at the half.
Omaha coach Sandy Buda felt the Beef did themselves in with the turnovers and were also undermined by too many flags. The Beef took 17 penalties for 100 yards, many because they lost their composure.
"I have nothing bad to say about the terrible officiating," Buda quipped.
Bismarck extended its lead to 55-27 in the third quarter. Street nearly took the opening kick back all the way. His return to the Omaha 5 set up the third Ragsdale to Cradle touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.
Omaha countered with a time-consuming drive ending in an 8-yard score from Travis to Mustard, but couldn't cut into the lead as Bismarck always had an answer.
This time it was Cradle rumbling for a 21-yard touchdown run.
When Travis threw a 4-yard score to Childs, Bismarck -- aided by a long pass interference penalty -- responded with a 1-yard run by Cradle, his fifth touchdown of the night. He finished with 39 yards rushing on nine carries and 56 yards receiving on five catches.
After another defensive stop, Ragsdale threw his seventh and final touchdown to Street, making it 69-34 midway through the fourth quarter, completing the scoring.
Bismarck had one more possession with Jason Baliko at the helm and the Riders ran out the clock, but they were a perfect 10-for-10 with Ragsdale at the helm.
"We talk about playing the perfect game," Ragsdale said. "... All year long we were one series away from being unbelievable. Tonight we played our best offensive game of the year."
* NOTES: Omaha defensive back Lamar O'Neal was ejected early in the second quarter. ... Each team had two touchdowns called back by penalties. ... Tickets for the conference championship go on sale today for season ticket holders only. Tickets will be available to the general public starting on Thursday.
Omaha 7 13 7 13 -- 40
Bismarck 21 20 14 14 -- 69
B -- A.J. Street 35 pass from Danny Ragsdale (Tyson Niewoehner kick), 11:51.
O -- Clinton Childs 3 run (Brandon Stewart kick), 9:55.
B -- Quentin Cradle 25 pass from Ragsdale (Niewoehner kick), 6:08.
B -- Duane Monlux 7 pass from Ragsdale (Niewoehner kick), :53.
O -- Chad Mustard 21 pass from Troy Travis (kick failed), 13:55.
B -- Cradle 3 pass from Ragsdale (kick failed), 9:11.
B -- Street 33 pass from Monlux (Niewoehner kick), 4:58.
O -- Steve Lovell 5 pass from Travis (stewart kick), 2:20.
B -- Monlux 8 pass from Ragsdale (Niewoehner kick), :09.
B -- Cradle 5 pass from Ragsdale (Niewoehner kick), 14:19.
O -- Mustard 8 pass from Travis (Stewart kick), 8:34.
B -- Cradle 21 run (Niewoehner kick), 4:59.
O -- Childs 4 run (Stewart kick), 14:49.
B -- Cradle 2 run (Niewoehner kick), 12:45.
B -- Street 15 pass from Ragsdale (Niewoehner kick), 7:36.
O -- Tory Veland 6 pass from Travis (pass failed), 3:44
First downs 17 19
Rushes-yards 17-34 17-67
Passing yards 203 216
Passing 24-33-1 17-21-0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-yds 17-100 7-32
Possession 33:07 26:53
Rushing: Omaha -- Clinton Childs 13-28. Troy Travis 4-6. Bismarck -- Quentin Cradle 9-39. Verna Owens 5-25. Danny Ragsdale 2-3. Jason Baliko 1-0.
Passing: Omaha -- Travis 24-33-1, 203 yards. Bismarck -- Ragsdale 16-20-0, 183 yards. Duane Monlux 1-1-0, 33 yards.
Receiving: OMaah -- Steve Lovell 8-59. Herman Gordon 7-64. Childs 5-32. Chad Mustard 3-42. Tory Veland 1-6. Bismarck -- A.J. Street 5-99. Cradle 5-56. Jacques Hogan 4-34. Monlux 3-27.
Records: Omaha 9-6, Bismarck 12-3.
Billings 54, Lincoln 51
Ohio Valley 51, Louisiana 32
Tennessee 42, Lake Charles 40
ROUGHRIDERS 69, Omaha 40