ARLINGTON — It’s not often that a team loses the turnover battle and still wins by a large margin, but the Lynn Classical football team made that happen on Friday night with a 36-7 win at Arlington. The Rams turned the ball over three times, one fumble and two interceptions.
“We definitely had to clean some things up early on,” said Classical coach Brian Vaughan. “We shot ourselves in the foot in certain situations, but once we got past that the guys were able to execute the gameplan out there.”
Offensively, the game was dominated by Nashaun Butler. He was a target machine for quarterback Keith Ridley, hauling in 10 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 22 yards and two touchdowns. Ridley completed 16-of-25 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Malcolm Best rushed for 148 yards and one touchdown.
But it was the Rams defense that had the most impact, which forced a turnover-on-downs six different times and forced one fumble en route to only giving up seven points.
“We have a pretty young defense, and Coach Dennis Murphy is doing an outstanding job with them,” Vaughan said. “They’ve come up big and accepted every challenge we’ve put in front of them this year.”
It was a slow start for both teams. After Classical went three-and-out on its opening drive, Arlington fumbled on its first play from scrimmage. On the ensuing drive, the Rams gave it right back on a Ridley interception, but the defense forced a turnover-on-downs to limit the damage.
As the first quarter drew to a close, Classical finally got on the board when Butler rushed for a touchdown from 11 yards out. The Rams went on to force another turnover-on-downs to get the ball back and scored once again, this time on a 20-yard connection between Ridley and Marcus Tucker to make it 14-0.
Arlington followed with two drives before the half, but the Spy Ponders simply couldn’t move the ball meaningfully.
Best got the scoring going in the second half, rushing one in from 11 yards out with 1:51 left in the third quarter to make it 22-0. The Spy Ponders were finally able to respond on the ensuing drive with a five-yard touchdown run from Joey Pazzia, but Classical responded with a massive 15-play, 74-yard drive that took over five minutes off the game clock in the fourth quarter. When Butler rushed in his second touchdown from nine yards out with 2:54 remaining, the score was 29-7.
Classical got the ball back with 1:11 left in the game and scored, again on a touchdown by Butler. This time, he took a screen pass from one yard behind the line of scrimmage, broke a tackle and ran 80 yards to the end zone.
After getting eliminated from the playoffs last week, Classical’s goal is to close out the season with three straight wins. With one down, the Rams will now wait until Sunday morning to see who they will play next.