Game of the week - Titans vs. TigersBy ANTHONY WARREN,
After five straight losing seasons, the Ridgeland Titans appear to back to their winning ways.
The team is 3-1 out of the gate, with wins against Ocean Springs, Forest Hill and Terry.
The Titans fell 62-21 in their first major test of the season to a strong Pearl team. And this week, they’ll face their next major test as they open up district play against the undefeated Canton Tigers.
“Our goal is to come out and keep doing what we’re doing,” said first-year head coach David White. “We want to win every game, but conference (play) decides who’s going to make it to the playoffs.”
The Seattle-native joined Ridgeland this year as coach and athletic director, after a coach at Ole Miss told him about the opening.
“At some point, I knew I wanted to get back into high school coaching, it depended on when and where,” he said.
White played college ball at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he earned all-conference and all-academic team honors. Afterwards, he played in the Arena League and the European Federation of the American Football League before going into coaching, according to Ridgeland Titan website.
He was head football coach at Socorro High School in New Mexico and Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada before going back into the college ranks.
“I did my last two years at the University of Nevada. I was running backs coach and recruit coordinator. Prior to that, I was at Oklahoma, as o-line and tight ends coach and recruit coordinator,” he said. “Basically, I’ve been a west coast guy.”
From there, White went on to help organize several high-profile high school all-star games, including the Army All-American Bowl.
“When I was in Oklahoma, I recruited here,” he said.
The Titans are led by junior quarterback Zy McDonald and senior running back Markell Young.
McDonald has already put up West Coast Offense-style numbers, completing 1,130 yards passing and seven passing touchdowns through four games. He’s rushed for another five.
Young has put up 447 all-purpose yards, with 268 of those coming on the ground, and has crossed into the end zone three times.
Ridgeland’s run game is complimented by its passing attack. “We have three receivers – three really talented kids – Yam Banks, Devin Chambers and Richard Mays.”
Banks and Mays have 274 yards receiving each, while Chambers is right behind, with 267 yards and a touchdown. Mays has scored four touchdowns, while Banks has notched one.
“We throw a little more than we run, but we run enough that we’re about half and half,” White said. “Fast-tempo, slow-tempo, we mixed it up. We have a run game that’s predicated by the passing game.”
So far, the Titans have scored 124 points, while allowing for 137. Sixty-two of those points against came in the Pearl matchup.
The game was an offensive shoot-out early on, with Ridgeland putting up 14 points to Pearl’s 21. However, the game got out of hand for the Titans after that.
The Pirates scored 20 unanswered points in the second quarter, a third touchdown in the third quarter and 14 more unanswered points in the fourth.
“We’re not a big football team. We have maybe a couple of kids close to 280 pounds. They had five or seven that looked to be 300,” White said. “After a while, they wear on you.”
The Titans will travel to Canton on Friday, September 27 to take on the Canton Tigers. The game will begin at 7 p.m.
Ridgeland’s Keys to Victory
-Mix it up: Ridgeland will have to keep the tough Tigers defense on their heels. defense guessing.
-Step up on defense: Ridgeland’s smaller defense will have a tough time against the Tigers, who come in having outscored opponents 124-61.
Ridgeland at a glance
-Class/Division: 5A, Region 2 (MHSAA)
-Head Coach: David White
-Assistant Coaches: Cody Upton, Mark Hoskins, Corby Jacobs, Rashad Crisp, Scott Minchew, Terron McIntyre, Josh Crowder, Trey Butts
-2018 record: 5-6
Markell Young, Kievon Bell, Zy McDonald, Chandler Williams, Yamarus Banks, Ayden Williams, Keshun Banks, J.J. Waites, Caleb Canada, Jabari Brown, Genada Byrd, J.D. Wilkerson, Richard Mays, Eli Copper, Jay Page, Devin Chambers, Donovan Ball, Jaylin Jones, Pat Wilkerson, Jay Slater, Kendreal Thompson, Kemorian Herring, J.J. Walker, Jaden Bonner, Christian Thornton, Adarius Jackson, Jaxon McLemore, Dennis McHarris, Marcus Davis, Jamal Garvin, Miguel McKoy, Jacob Perkins, Ashton Shelton, Iwrin Davenport, Wesley Smith, Yosiah Scott, Kaleb Jenkins, Acoya Rushing, Alex Porter, Leon Small, Zion Nason, Zach Garland, Rodney Whigham, Isaiah Ribbs, Nick Triplett, Derrick Barnes, Tyler Hardin, George Jones, Arturo Rivera, Andrew Brown, Avarius Thompson, Chandler Springer, Darius Stewart, D’vaunte Brown, Dylan Davis, Issac Bibbs, Joshua Pleasant.