Trick plays help Bismarck

07/16/02 Bismarck Tribune

Danny Ragsdale is back in the saddle for the Bismarck Roughriders, and he brought a big bag of tricks with him.

The Rougriders scored on a pair of gadget plays and had some other tricks on the way to a 69-40 thumping of the Omaha Beef in the first round of the NIFL playoffs Tuesday.

"We're just out there to have fun and put a bunch of points on the board," Ragsdale said. "I just wanted to slow down their defense and keep them guessing."

It took the Roughriders only two plays to delve into their bag of tricks, as Ragsdale called for a flea flicker.

The Bismarck quarterback handed off to Quentin Cradle, who darted around the left end for a couple yards before pitching back to Ragsdale. A.J. Street was dashing toward the back left corner of the end zone and Ragsdale hit the receiver for a 35-yard scoring strike.

The play gave Bismarck a 7-0 lead at the 11:51 mark, and the rout was on.

"We wanted to run it the first play, but we were pinned too deep," Street said. "Danny called it on the second play and threw it up there."

Ragsdale said that he wanted to get a deep play out of the way early because Omaha likes to rush the quarterback -- and with a tender right ankle, Ragsdale didn't want to do a lot of running around.

"We had to slow them down because they blitz so much defensively," Ragsdale said. "I wasn't going to be able to get out of the pocket, so we had to slow them down with other things. Run a flea flicker, and that gets them guessing."

Duane Monlux also got in on the trickery. With 5:34 to go in the first half, Bismarck was set to start its fourth drive on its own 17-yard line.

On the first play of the series, Ragsdale pitched the ball toward the left boards to Monlux. The receiver tossed the ball up to a wide open Street, covering 33 yards on the play for a touchdown. The score gave Bismarck a 34-13 edge.

"A.J. was wide open. I think anybody could've thrown that ball down there," said Ragsdale, grinning. "A.J.'s a great vertical threat and we throw to him deep all of the time. He's hard to stop."

But the Roughriders must have had some more innovative ideas they wanted to use.

On the kickoff after Monlux's touchdown pass, Tyson Niewoehner attempted an on-side kick. Jacques Hogan recovered for Bismarck, but the play was negated because one of the Riders was offside.

Bismarck also called a running play to Cradle where the ball was snapped directly to the running back. Cradle was also going to throw a pass, but was surrounded by Beef players and couldn't get the play off.

Even though there were some gadget plays, Ragsdale said they didn't need to use them to win -- but it sure made things a lot more interesting.

"Sure, we scored on a couple of trick plays. But we scored on every other drive," Ragsdale said. "We're here to score a lot of points. It doesn't hurt to run some plays like that because they're fun."

Street got two touchdowns out of the deal, and he said that goes a long way to putting a smile on his face.

"Danny comes up with some wild plays but they've been working," Street said. "It's a lot of fun and it gets the defense going in a lot of different directions."


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