The Rose Bud Ramblers kept their playoff aspirations in tact with a 53-41 victory at Bald Knob on Friday night, while likely knocking the Bulldogs out of the 2-3A conference playoff hunt.
Rose Bud used a balanced attack to put together a 33-13 halftime lead and the Ramblers held a comfortable 39-13 lead early in the fourth quarter when Bald Knob (2-6, 1-4) came roaring back with three quick touchdowns, including two following successful onside kicks.
Ramblers' Coach Steve Rose, who served as an assistant under Coach Paul Johnston at Bald Knob for 10 years, said it was important for his team to get back in the playoff hunt. “I've got a lot of friends over there but I wouldn't ever let anything personal get in the way. More importantly we are back in the race for the playoffs. In the first half we played very, very good so they did a good job of getting their team back in the game.
“We put it almost out of reach in the first half and our goal in the second half was to run the clock. They did a good job to get back in the game and we were fortunate enough to make some plays in the fourth quarter to secure it.”
Rose Bud junior running back Cole Robertson, who rushed 20 times for 141 yards while also making an 8-yard touchdown reception, helped the Ramblers ice the game in the fourth quarter with a 35-yard touchdown run and 5-yard touchdown scamper.
Rose Bud junior quarterback Christian Reynolds added 20 carries for 74 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 14-of-19 passes for 225 yards and three more scores.
In the first half, Reynolds hooked up with senior receiver Spencer Starkey for a 17-yard touchdown and senior receiver Dillon Reesnes for a 35-yard touchdown.
Starkey finished with four catches for 78 yards, while Reesnes led Rose Bud's receiving corps with seven receptions for 120 yards.
Reesnes also contributed a 59-yard punt return, which set up the Ramblers' first score.
“We held them three and out on their first drive and Reesnes set the tempo with his punt return and we played well from then on,” said Rose.
Rose Bud (4-3, 2-3) forced three interceptions by Bald Knob all-state quarterback Cordell Crisp, who attempted 53 passes. Junior linebacker Daniel Strain pressured Crisp all night while racking up three sacks and Robertson, senior linebacker Osiris Jauregui and junior linebacker Tyler Weatherly each pulled down an interception. Jauregui led the Ramblers' defense with 12 tackles.
“We got turnovers pretty well throughout the game, forced fumbles and things like that,” said Rose. “We got them in a spot where they had to throw the ball to get back in it. Tyler Weatherly had a late interception that set up Cole's last touchdown, which sealed it up with about a minute and a half to go.”
Page 2 of 2 - Rose Bud hosts rival Riverview (4-3, 2-3) in another pivotal 2-3A conference game on Friday.