Ragsdale, Cradle, Street to sit out against Cavalry
07/04/02 Bismarck Tribune
Many areas are prohibiting fireworks this Fourth of July due to increased fire risk. With safety concerns of their own, the Bismarck Roughriders won't be using their explosives today either.
Quarterback Danny Ragsdale is already on the shelf with an ankle injury, and running back Quentin Cradle and wideout A.J. Street won't be in the lineup for tonight's regular-season finale against the Wyoming Cavalry (3-10) at the Casper Events Center (8 p.m. CDT).
Bismarck coach Collins Sanders figures the Riders (10-3), who have already clinched the Pacific West divsion title and home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs, have little to gain by playing his stars and potentially much to lose.
Cradle and Street, who are both among the league leaders in touchdowns, won't even be in uniform against the Cavalry. Other key players, such as offensive lineman Jamie Grismer and defensive lineman Anthony Bonner, will likely see limited action, according to Sanders.
"We'd like to get a win, but we're hoping to basically get our timing down and stay sharp," Sanders said.
They also want to give backup quarterback Jason Baliko some time to get reacquainted with the offense should the worst-case scenario, Ragsdale being unavailable for the first round of the playoffs, come to pass. Baliko had a less than stellar stint as the Bismarck starter earlier this season. In three games he was 18-for-59 for 266 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
He was replaced by Ragsdale, who posted a 7-1 record as a starter. Ragsdale put up numbers (148-for-207, 1,833 yards, 37 TDs, 3 interceptions) that were, on a per-game basis, by far the best in the NIFL.
Baliko did play well after Ragsdale went down in the second half of a 48-20 victory over Billings on June 22, completing all four of his passes for 25 yards and a score.
Wide receiver Duane Monlux, also has experience as a quarterback.
As for the long-term prognosis for Ragsdale, Sanders said that he is hoping to be ready for the postseason, but at this point it is still too early to be certain.
"He's responding extremely well to treatment," Sanders said. "The trainer says he can probably play with the broken bone in his ankle, if he can stand the pain."