YOUNG TOUCHDOWN GIVES REAGAN VICTORY
Defensive also key in 20-13 victory over Wagner
by Mark Kusenberger
SAsports.com Senior Writer
Last year, the Wagner Thunderbirds doubled Reagan’s total offense, yet it was all they could do to hold on to a 37-31 victory.
This year, the shoe was on the other foot, as Reagan dominated the statistics, but needed a fourth quarter touchdown by Marshall Young to claim a 20-13 victory over Wagner Saturday night at Comalander Stadium.
Young’s touchdown was the only score of the second half, capping an 8 play drive that began in the third quarter and ended with 10:32 left in the game. Young finished with 16 carries for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns; he also had a two-yard reception.
Reagan’s offense never mustered a big play – the longest was 22 yards – but thanks to a furious effort by the offensive line, produced 221 yards rushing on 47 carries. Backup quarterback Ty Summers led all rushers with 82 yards on 10 carries.
Kyle Keller started at quarterback for Reagan, but left the game briefly due to a first quarter injury. Summers immediately ran up the middle for a nine-yard gain, and from then on Keller and Summers shared time behind center. Summers also was a slot receiver on several plays.
Thanks to a fast, swarming Reagan defense, Wagner’s first half numbers were astonishingly discouraging. Wagner awarded junior quarterback Tekoa Bryant-McKinnes his first start, while injuries limited running backs Robert Gardner and Terry Allaway and forced Jaroyce Bratcher to sit out the game. Thanks to those factors, the Thunderbirds (0-1) had 51 yards total offense in the first half, and just 11 yards rushing. Offsetting Wagner’s 51 yards of offense were 25 yards lost to penalties.
Yet the game was tied at the half.
Wagner stayed in the game with big plays. After a short punt into the wind on Reagan’s opening drive, Wagner took over at the Reagan 37. Bryant-McKinnes immediately went deep to Xavier LaGrant, who beat two defenders to make the catch at the 2. Gardner scored on the next play to put Wagner ahead 7-0.
Those two plays were the only first downs in the first half for Wagner.
Reagan (1-0) tied the game with an 11 play, 75 yards drive, although they used all three of their first half timeouts in the process. Young scored on a 9 yard run with 37 seconds left in the quarter to tie the game at 7.
Reagan appeared to be on the move again with Cory Ward hit Summers as he attempted to throw. Charles Fuller intercepted the pass and returned it 56 yards for a score. Wagner missed the point after, but still led 13-7.
Fuller’s 56 return yards exceeded Wagner’s 51 yards total offense in the first half.
Reagan’s tying touchdown was set up by a bad snap in punt formation. Punter/wide receiver Xavier LaGrant picked up the ball and ran for 11 yards – Wagner’s other eight rushing attempts in the half netted 0 yards - well short of converting the 4th and 25. Reagan took over at the 30 and scored on a 15 yard run by Summers. The Rattlers missed their extra point, leaving the game tied at 13 at the half.
Reagan will visit O’Connor at Farris Stadium next Friday in a rematch of last season’s area round game, won by the Rattlers 51-14. Wagner will host Clemens next Friday at Rutledge Stadium.