Sophomore defensive back Cameron Roseman-Sinclair had the biggest play in a night of defensive big plays, picking off a Hickory Ridge pass that preserved Myers Park’s 9-7 victory Friday night.
Roseman-Sinclair’s interception came in the final minute, after the Ragin’ Bulls had driven from their 1 to the Myers Park 36. Trying to get close enough for a winning field goal, Hickory Ridge quarterback Dylan Ratliff attempted to connect with receiver Zion Sheriff.
But Roseman-Sinclair jumped in front of the receiver and ended the threat by the previously undefeated Ragin’ Bulls, who moved up from 3A to 4A this season.
His interception made Tyler Dameron’s 41-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter the game’s decisive points. Hickory Ridge had blocked a shorter field goal try by Dameron in the third quarter.
Hickory Ridge, ranked No. 7 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll, was held in check by Myers Park’s defense for most of the game. The Mustangs, ranked No. 9 by the Observer, held the Ragin’ Bulls to 35 yards total offense and a single first down into the middle of the third quarter.
But the Bulls also had plenty of big defensive plays. They recovered a Myers Park fumble at the Mustangs’ 17 early in the first quarter and took a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard pass from Ratliff to Jarett Garner.
Myers Park scored its only touchdown shortly before the half. Khamal Howard broke a 28-yard run when the Bulls blitzed, carrying to the Hickory Ridge 4. Two plays later, Mustang quarterback Brayden Hawkins ran 2 yards for a score. But a bad snap spoiled Myers Park’s conversion attempt.
Dameron’s field goal capped a drive that started at the Myers Park 37. Hawkins had 15-yard completions to Emmanuel Alston and Muhsin Muhammad, and the Mustangs drove to the Hickory Ridge 19 before the Bulls held.
Records: Myers Park is 7-1, 3-1 in Southwestern 4A; Hickory Ridge is 7-1, 3-1.
3 who mattered
Khamal Howard (Myers Park): He had the game’s biggest offensive night, rushing for 100 yards on 19 carries. Howard also recovered a fumble midway in the fourth quarter.
Garrett Williams (Hickory Ridge): Part of the Ragin’ Bulls’ resilient defense, he blocked a field goal and had two tackles for lost yardage.
Cameron Roseman-Sinclair (Myers Park): A sophomore defensive back, he picked off a Dylan Ratliff pass that would have put Hickory Ridge in position for a field goal attempt with 18 seconds left.
▪ Outside of the early fumble that set up Hickory Ridge’s touchdown, Myers Park avoided the self-inflicted errors that hurt the Mustangs in last week’s 28-7 loss to Butler. The Mustangs had no other turnovers.
▪ Hickory Ridge’s defense had a brilliant goal-line stand in the closing minutes. The Bulls stopped Myers Park three straight plays at the 1. That set up the Bulls’ drive that ended with the interception.
▪ While he was kept out of the end zone, Myers Park wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad had a big night. He returned a kickoff 41 yards at the start of the second half and had a big third-down catch to keep a Mustang drive going in the third quarter.
▪ Hickory Ridge reached the 3A playoff semifinals last season but have fared well in stepping up to the 4A ranks. The Bulls are expected to be in the 4A playoffs (for the smaller 4A schools) and could have another long postseason run.
▪ Cal Wallerstedt, a starting linebacker for Hickory Ridge, is the son of Charlotte 49ers’ defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt.
▪ The Ragin’ Bulls have played most of the campaign without standout senior running back Jeremiah Boyd. He was injured in the second game.
Hickory Ridge faces the other Southwestern 4A power Friday, traveling to Butler; Myers Park visits East Mecklenburg Friday.