Romney, WV - The Mountain Ridge Miner football team will look to even its record at 2-2 on the young season on Friday night. That is when they travel to Rannells Field in Romney to take on the win less Hampshire High Trojans.

Mountain Ridge has found much success against the Trojans since the school opened in 2007. The Miners have won 8 of the first 11 games against Hampshire. In fact, the only wins that Hampshire has against The Ridge was from 2012-2014, that is when MR only had 5 wins total in a three-year stretch. The Miners won last year's meeting in Frostburg 48-14. 

Most Mountain Ridge football fans went to last week's home game against county rival Allegany hoping for the best and expecting the worst. You can say what you want but the facts are Mountain Ridge has gone 16-43 since their last winning season, a 9-2 region semifinalist season in 2011, and with the Miners dropping the first two games of this season we were all wondering what the rest of 2018 had in store for us. 

Allegany returned the opening kickoff for a score but Mountain Ridge quickly took back momentum by blocking the extra point. You have to give this Miners team credit. They could have folded then and there but they didn't. Their offense then used their well scripted plays to convert on their opening drive and tie the Campers at 6. They also scored the following touchdown and converted the two-point conversion to take a 14-6 lead. Both teams then took turns scoring to keep the game within 8 points until the end of the 3rd quarter. That is when the Miner defense stiffened and capitalized on a couple Camper mistakes to stretch the lead to 2+ scores and the ultimate final score of 47-24 Miners. 

Hampshire comes into the game with an 0-4 record. Last week, The Trojans played to their closest defeat on the young season, losing by a 28-35 score to undefeated Petersburg. The Trojans scored all of their 28 points in the first half and allowed the Vikings to come back and steal a victory to keep their undefeated season alive. 

Last week's game was exactly what Hampshire has had a problem with thus far in 2018. Playing well consistently. They played a flawless first half. But they couldn't keep it going and lost the game in the second half. A big focus for the coaching staff has been to clearly point out to the players how playing consistent leads to victories. 

There is an old saying in sports that reads... "That's why we play the games", and it applies when a game seems like a mismatch on paper but can turn out way different once it is played. Another old saying is "trap game" which often refers to a game that one team should win on paper easily but due to other circumstances could also be considered a possible slip up. Both of these sayings apply to this game. Mountain Ridge should win this game by double digits. But they can't look past the Trojans or they will become the latest victims to both of the above mentioned old sayings. 

Hampshire would basically have to play a perfect game and Mountain Ridge would have to make some mistakes in order for the Trojans to win this game. With that being said, Mountain Ridge did have 7 turnovers in their home opener versus Hedgesville, they also allowed John Marshall to come back from a 19-7 deficit at the half in their opening game to let two games slip away. They can ill afford to do the same as they have a very stiff schedule the rest of the way. 

Please make the short trip to Romney to cheer on your Mountain Ridge football team to victory this Friday night. See you all there. GO MINERS!


FROSTBURG, MD — Sefa Pua’auli provided the punch and Tre Smith the exclamation point as Mountain Ridge scored 21 points over the final six-and-a-half minutes to pull away from Allegany, 47-24, on Thursday evening at Miners Stadium. It was Mountain Ridge’s first win over the Campers since 2013.
“Obviously we treat every game like it’s our next game on the schedule,” said Miners head coach Ryan Patterson, “but when you beat Allegany, there’s obviously a little bit more to it. They’re a county rival, and the kids know each other these days, so we’re pretty excited about it right now.”
The game was initially to be played tonight but was moved up due to the threat of Hurricane Florence reaching the area.
 “I don’t want to say playing Thursday night affected our gameplan,” said Allegany coach Bryan Hansel. “Our coaches put in time in hours of meetings and hours of film.
“We did not come up here thinking we would walk all over this team. We knew it wasn’t last year’s team. We knew when they added No. 8 (Pua’auli) that they would be a threat, and I knew they were bringing some players back that were pretty good. They’re big up front on both sides and they play physical.
“So I don’t think the Thursday thing had anything to do with it because they had to do the same thing. We played on Saturday and they played on Friday, so it’s only a one-day difference. So I don’t think that mattered.”
Although the Miners took the lead for good with 12 seconds left in the first quarter, the Campers were right in it throughout until Mountain Ridge stopped Allegany’s two-point try following a 31-yard touchdown pass from Jakson Bauer to a wide open Rashad Wingate with 8:20 to play.
A pair of 15-yard penalties on the Miners after the two-point run was stuffed allowed the Campers, trailing 26-24, to try an onside kick from the Mountain Ridge 30.
Trent Merbaugh smartly covered up the ball at the Miners 14, and Mountain Ridge got to work on offense with four consecutive runs for a first down, including a 41-yard scamper by Bryson Sivic on the first play from scrimmage, to march down to the Allegany 7.
“Bryson Sivic is definitely our Mr. Outside if we have Mr. Pua’auli as our Mr. Inside,” said Patterson. “He’s such a great kid. He fights hard all the time. He played through an injury and broke through tonight.”
Two plays later, Sivic reached the end zone on a 7-yard run, with Trevor Ritchie booting the point-after try to give the Miners a two-possession lead.
Mountain Ridge forced a turnover on downs in four plays on the next Allegany drive, getting the ball back with five minutes to play and a 33-24 lead.
The Miners reached the end zone in three plays with Pua’auli rushing 21 yards to the Campers’ 4-yard line, then to the 2 and finally plunging into the end zone for his third touchdown with 4:11 remaining.
On Allegany’s second play on its ensuing drive, Smith picked off a pass and returned it 27 yards for a score with 3:27 to play.
The Campers next drive lasted two plays as well, as the Miners forced and recovered a fumble, effectively allowing their offense to run out the clock.
Patterson knew what his team was up against following an 0-2 start — the same situation he faced last year heading into Week 3 against Allegany, which the Campers won 63-7. The loss nearly forced Patterson to step down as head coach, but he’s glad he stayed.
“Absolutely, I’m glad I stayed. And I meant that, because we lost our way. We kept plugging and plugging, and the staff kept showing up, and the kids kept working. We figured it had to break through sometime. Tonight was the night.
“We knew how important of a game this would be. Our kids set lofty goals this year, and we’ve got a long way to go obviously — we’re 1-2 right now — but we know we have a good team and we’re going to try to get better every week.”
Allegany provided the first punch of the night — 14 seconds in to be exact — as Trevan Powell returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a score. The Miners blocked the point-after try.
Mountain Ridge didn’t let the early score prevent it from being aggressive on offense, as Jared Horseman collected a handoff on the first play from scrimmage on an end-around before heaving it 44 yards down field into double coverage to Sivic.
“Returning the opening kickoff always brings some momentum,” said Hansel, “but we gave it right back because they ran a halfback pass, we have a possible interception but it drops into their kid’s hands, and they get the ball at the 30-yard line. So that momentum just went right back. It disappeared right there. If we pick that ball off, maybe we keep riding high and they ride low, but it is what it is.”
Sivic ran the ball for a first down, then Horseman carried the ball down to the Allegany 6. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, quarterback Alec Deremer plunged into the end zone at the 8:32 mark. The point-after try was no good, tying the game at 6-6.
The Miners forced a pair of Allegany punts — with a Mountain Ridge lost fumble sandwiched in between — as the first-quarter clock ticked down, but a personal foul penalty on the Campers followed by a 12-yard run by Horseman set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Trent Merbaugh with 12 seconds remaining in the first period. Ritchie converted the PAT, giving the Miners the lead for the remainder of the game.
Allegany got back to within a point at the 9:56 mark in the second quarter with a 33-yard scamper by Wingate. The point-after try was blocked by Deremer, giving the Miners a 13-12 lead.
Mountain Ridge went three-and-out on its next drive, but forced and recovered a fumble on the Campers’ ensuing drive.
Three plays later, Pua’auli extended the Miners’ lead to 20-12 with a 68-yard run on third-and-9 with 3:50 to play in the half. Ritchie kicked the point-after.
Bauer scored for Allegany in the third quarter on a 1-yard run at the 2:35 mark, but Pua’auli needed three plays to extend Mountain Ridge’s lead again. He hauled in a pass on a slip screen with one hand, gaining nine yards, before a 24-yard run set up a 38-yard rushing touchdown at the 1:35 mark.
Pua’auli averaged 9.2 yards per carry, amassing 194 yards on 21 carries to lead a Mountain Ridge rushing attack that piled up 296 yards on 28 rushes. Sivic carried the ball six times for 72 yards and caught a pair of passes for 67 yards. Deremer was 4 for 8 through the air with 64 yards, as the Miners outgained the Campers 404-248.
On defense, Pua’auli and Aaron VanMeter had 11 tackles and Trent Merbaugh added nine tackles. Sivic intercepted a pass in the end zone just before halftime on a third-and-10 from the Mountain Ridge 30, and Horseman provided constant pressure on the Allegany backfield throughout.
“Our defensive staff put together two good plans,” said Patterson. “If you can believe it or not, last week Hedgesville had three first downs. Obviously they put up some points against us, but we were in the right spots. I felt that way tonight. Our linebackers scraped. Our line did a good job of keeping linemen off of them. And the defensive backs came in and cleaned everything up.”
Christian Welch had nearly half of Allegany’s 48 carries, totalling 99 yards on 23 attempts. Wingate caught three passes for 43 yards, as Bauer was 7 of 11 through the air with 78 yards.
The Campers move to 1-1 and will travel to Williamsport next Friday. Allegany won last year’s game against the Wildcats, 54-43.
“Williamsport’s no slouch,” said Hansel. “Last year they went 7-3 and missed the 2A West playoffs because 2A West is probably the best region in the state of Maryland. They have a Clemson commit (defensive tackle Tayquon Johnson) and their quarterback is big. He’s 6-foot-5 and atheltic, so he likes to run, but he can throw the football too.
“These kids have an option. We can play the rest of the season, miss the playoffs and struggle, maybe go 3-6 or something like that. But I said after the game ‘we can get back to work, figure it out and turn this around.’ That’s our job as coaches to figure it out and find a way for these kids to have fun.”
The Miners collected their first win of the season, moving to 1-2. Patterson is going to make sure his kids don’t savor the victory for too long though.
“The beauty of this is we played Thursday, so I’ll have them in school tomorrow. I have team training with them at school, so we’ll watch the film. There’s plenty of mistakes here to clean up, so we’ll be back to work tomorrow.”
Mountain Ridge travels to Hampshire next Friday.
“The way this program has been, we have a hard time linking one week to the next,” Patterson said. “We showed a glimpse of it last year; but trust me, our coaches will get together with our kids and we’ll be focused. We’ve got to get back on the road. I hear it’s really muddy over at Hampshire. We’re going to be prepared.”



09/07/2018 HEDGESVILLE HOME 7:00 PM L 7-42  
09/14/2018 ALLEGANY HOME 7:00 PM W 47-24  
09/21/2018 HAMPSHIRE AWAY 7:00 PM W 62-13  
09/28/2018 FRANKFORT HOME 7:00 PM  
10/05/2018 UNIVERSITY HOME 7:00 PM  
10/12/2018 NORTHERN AWAY 7:00 PM  
10/19/2018 SPRING MILLS AWAY 7:00 PM  
10/26/2018 FORT HILL AWAY 7:00 PM  
11/02/2018 KEYSER HOME 7:00 PM