Ridgeland-Hardeeville rolls past Estill
In the first quarter of the Ridgeland-Hardeeville Jaguars’ 47-0 victory over the visiting Estill Gators last Friday night, Derald Nelson, facing third-and-15 at his own 18 yard line, dropped back and threw to Mar’Quese Grant, who caught the ball at the 40 and ran for an 82-yard touchdown.
That play, which closed the first quarter, put the Jaguars up 21-0 — and the rout was on.
The Jaguars, who earned a narrow come-from-behind 12-8 win at Thomas Heyward in the season opener, improved to 2-0. This time they put the game away early.
“We wanted to keep scoring,” said the Jags’ Jabari Williams, who caught two touchdown passes and threw for a third.
Last year the Jaguars took an early lead in a number of games—only to lose most of them en route to a 2-8 season.
“This isn’t last year,” Williams said.
The scoring started on an 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass from Nelson to Williams. Nelson hit Ronald Zimmerman for a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Minutes later, Robert Dupont recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to make it 14-0.
Then came the Nelson-to-Grant touchdown to make it 21-0.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Coach Jahmaal Nelson said.
Early in the second quarter, another blocked punt gave the Jaguars a first-and-goal at the 1. But, they didn’t score. The failed drive included two incomplete passes and a missed field goal.
“We knew we could have just run it in,” Coach Nelson said. “But I wanted to experiment. We’re a young team, and I want them to learn to be versatile.”
The Jaguars got the ball back soon afterward, and Freddie Aiken ran 10 yards for a touchdown and a 27-0 lead.
Then Derald Nelson hit Williams for a second touchdown pass—this one for 30 yards—to make it 34-0.
Williams closed out the first-half fireworks when he took a lateral from Nelson and hit Jertaveon Smalls for a 67-yard touchdown bomb and a 41-0 halftime lead.
“Nice throw,” Smalls said.
Williams was the starting quarterback as a sophomore and junior before switching to running back this year.
“I like running back better,” Williams said. “I can make more plays.”
In the third quarter, Nelson ran 3 yards up the middle on a quarterback keeper to make it 47-0.
Derald Nelson, who finished with 345 yards passing and three touchdowns and a rushing TD, said, “The offensive line blocked for me.”
The starting offensive line consists of Myles Pinckney at left tackle, Nasir Hanner at left guard, Tyrese Darien at center, Renae Wright at right guard, and Jeremiah Orr at right tackle.
RHHS had 425 yards of total offense.
The Jaguars travel to Allendale-Fairfax on Friday. The Tigers are 1-1, coming off a 41-24 loss to Wade-Hampton.
“Our schedule gets harder, and we’re gonna keep working,” Coach Nelson said. “Starting now, my mind is on Allendale-Fairfax.”