PELL CITY — The Ragland Purple Devils capped off a perfect 10-0 regular season with a 61-6 victory over the Victory Christian Lions Friday.
The loss left the Lions with an 0-10 season under first-year head coach Raymond Farmer. Ragland is headed to the second season — the first round of the state playoffs. The Purple Devils will host Hubbertville next Friday in the opening round.
Ragland scored on its first five possessions, and went on to take a 42-0 lead at halftime. They rolled up 300 yards of total offense in the first half.
After the Lions were forced into a three-and-out to start the game, Ragland drove 65 yards in just five plays. The key play in the drive was a 41-yard pass from quarterback KiJana Lindsay to Jacob Brewster.
On second and goal from the five-yard line, Sawyer Merritt scored with 7:41 left in the first quarter. Ronnie Isbell added the extra point to make it 7-0.
Victory Christian put together a 13-play, 40-yard drive that stalled at the Ragland 26. The Lions picked up three first downs in the drive.
Ragland then drove 77 yards that resulted in a 34-yard touchdown run by Christian Morrow to make it 14-0 after Isbell’s PAT.
The Lions then turned the ball over on downs at their own 41-yard line. It took Ragland just two plays to find the end zone again with Lindsay scoring on a 36-yard quarterback keeper. Isbell added the extra point, and with 9:20 remaining in the first half, it was 21-0.
Following a Lions punt, Lindsay then went to the air and tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Brock to make it 28-0 with 6:32 remaining.
Three plays later, Lindsay intercepted Easton Hopkins’ pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-0.
Lindsay intercepted another Hopkins pass and Ragland was in business at its own 47. On the first play from scrimmage, Devane Brewster raced 50 yards to the Lion 3-yard line. Brewster then scored from three yards out to make the halftime score 42-0.
Ragland took the ball first to start the third quarter, and Coach Jonathan Nix allowed his first team offense in for one series.
That one series lasted only two plays as Brock ran for 17 yards, and then Morrow raced the final 53 yards untouched to make it 49-0 with 11:15 remaining in the third quarter.
The Lions turned the ball over on downs, and then Ragland fumbled. The Lions turned the ball over on downs again, and then Ragland had to punt. Victory Christian fumbled the punt and Ragland recovered at the 19-yard line.
Six plays later, Stoney Merritt scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper to make the score 55-0 with 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Victory Christian then fumbled the ensuing kickoff that Lindsay recovered at the 41-yard line. Twelve plays later, Stoney Merritt threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jamonte Carson to make the score 61-0.
Finally, with 3:55 remaining in the game, Victory Christian’s Easton Hopkins scored the lone Lion touchdown on a 65-yard keeper down the left sideline. The two-point conversion was no good and the final score was 61-6.
Nix said although Victory Christian was winless coming into the game, his team approaches each week’s game the same way.
“The first thing we did was look at trying to correct the mistakes we made the week before at Falkville,” Nix said. “That was our goal. In the second half, we had the chance to play a lot of our young players. I’m very proud of them.”
Farmer said it had been the same story for 10 weeks — “playing a varsity schedule with basically a ninth-grade team.”
Farmer said when Ragland substituted and played their younger players, his team were able to hold their own.
“God brought me here for a reason, and he did not bring me here to lose,” Farmer said. “It’s one of the most difficult situations I’ve ever been in, but I’ve got the most peace that I’ve ever had at a place.”