Guy Ellis

A successful two-point conversion play with just 24 seconds remaining in the game lifted Bishop McGuinness (11-2) to a 29-28 win Saturday over the Grove Ridgerunners (12-1)  in a 4A semi-final playoff game at Bixby’s Lee Snider Field.

The winning play, a scramble rush by Irish quarterback Ryan Randolph, came on the heels of a 14-yard rushing touchdown from the senior signal caller.

The Irish never held a lead in the game until the final two-point play.

It was all part of a combined 30-point fourth quarter from the District 4A-3 and 4A-1 champion teams.

“The sun will come up tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes,” Grove Head Coach Dennis Millican said after the game. “It’s disappointing.”

Before the final McGuinness offensive possession the Ridgerunners had put together a 56-yard scoring drive that ended with a Corey Davenport 1-yard rushing touchdown to give Grove a 28-21 lead with just 1:09 left to play.

The Ridgerunner defense opened the scoring in Saturday’s game after being set up by some efficient work from the Grove special teams unit. A 45-yard first quarter punt by senior kicker TJ Griffith placed the McGuinness offense at their own two yard line. On the second snap of the series the Ridgerunners forced a fumble that was recovered in the end zone by senior Dusty Gehrke. The successful Griffith PAT gave Grove a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the contest.

Later in the opening salvo the Ridgerunners built a 67-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a Davenport five yard rush just thirty seconds into the second quarter. The march was highlighted by an acrobatic 28-yard reception by senior Ryan Miller that moved Grove to the Irish five. The successful Griffith PAT placed the Ridgerunners up 14 to nil.

The Irish responded with their first touchdown drive of the game. The 59-yard compilation ended with a Randolph two yard scoring dive. The successful PAT cut the Grove lead in half but the larger concern for the Ridgerunners on the series was an injury to outside linebacker Antonio Trillo. The junior left the field favoring his left leg and spent the remainder of the game iced-up on the sidelines.

The Ridgerunners took possession to open the second half and built a drive that ate up over half of the third quarter clock and saw the unit eventually land in a fourth and one spot at the Irish 16. The 63-yard effort ended with a missed conversion on an incomplete pass.

A McGuinness punt on the ensuing drive saw the Ridgerunner offense return to the field at their own 16. On the second play of the series McGuinness recovered a Grove fumble and the Irish were in business 27 yards out from the goal line with 1:33 left in the third. On the final play of the quarter Randolph connected with Sam Crabtree for a nine yard scoring reception to pull McGuiness to within one. The extra-point attempt sailed wide left and so the final stanza began with Grove still on top, 14-13.

The Ridgerunners opened the last 12 minutes with a 70-yard touchdown drive. A crucial fourth and one play was converted at the Irish 26 by a Davenport sneak and that opened the way for a 16-yard rushing burst from Gehrke to put Grove up 21-13 following the successful Griffith PAT.

The Irish countered with a 66-yard scoring drive. The march ended with a 36-yard TD run by sophomore Larone Richardson. Earlier in the drive the Ridgerunners had a Gehrke interception waved off by a roughing the passer call. Down by two the Irish converted a two-point conversion on a keeper by Randolph to make the 21-21 tally that led into the final scores from each team.

Davenport ended the contest with 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries as part of a 244-yard ground game for the Ridgerunners. The senior was 6 of 11 for 57 yards through the air with one interception.

            1    2    3    4    F

Ridgerunners        7    7    0    14    28

Irish            0    7    6    16    29

            Grove        McGuinness

First downs        16        16

Rushing yards        244        182

Passing yards        57        108

Total yards        301        290

Turnovers        2        1

Penalties        4-36        1-10