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No. 9 York football falls to Ralston in mistake-filled loss

No. 9 York football falls to Ralston in mistake-filled loss

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LEDE

News-Times/Steve Marik

Ralston junior running back Rashad Madden rushed for touchdowns of 63 and 78 yards in the first half of Friday night’s York game in Ralston.

RALSTON, Neb. — Coming into Friday night’s game at Ralston, York’s defense wanted to limit big plays from a spread offense that seemed reliant on them. Specifically, plays of 15 yards or more. If that happened, York had a good chance of going home with its third victory of the season.

But under the lights on brand new turf, Ralston’s speed got loose while the Dukes’ offense struggled to keep up, leading the Rams to a 33-12 win over Class B No. 9 York, which drops to 2-2 on the season ahead of next week’s district game at Aurora.

Junior running back Rashad Madden, a small but powerful runner at 5-foot-8, 160 pounds who had 309 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Rams’ season-opening win over Beatrice, broke free for two long touchdowns of 63 and 78 yards in the first half on Friday— both of which came on the first play of the Rams’ drive. He added an 18-yarder in the third quarter to seal the win.

Madden reminded York head coach Glen Snodgrass of another talented runner from Ralston — Isaac Wallace. Wallace and the Rams traveled to York for a quarterfinal playoff game back in 2013, one which the Dukes won in overtime.

“I’ve told my coaches all week — I only remember one back as good as him (Madden) in my time, and that was Isaac Wallace in 2013. But I’m pretty sure this kid (Madden) is better,” Snodgrass said. “I don’t know if he’s big enough to be a Division I football player, but he’s a special, special football player. To be quite honest, our defense did alright other than him busting some big runs.”

The Rams wound up rushing for 261 yards while York rushed for 146 and passed for 74.

Ralston scored on three of its four drives in the first half and led 21-6 at halftime.

York’s offense enjoyed a strong start and rattled off a massive 16-play drive that spanned 72 yards early in the first quarter. Senior tight end Chase Collingham hauled in two clutch catches from senior quarterback Jake Erwin to keep the drive going, one of which was called back because of a penalty, however. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from bruiser Chase Cotton.

The Duke offense couldn’t find the end zone the rest of the half. It got close with around three minutes left before halftime on a drive that featured a catch-and-run from senior athlete Ty Bartholomew. Bartholomew, a 5-11, 188-pounder, caught a quick pass to the flat and broke a couple tackles as he turned up field. He delivered more blows than Ralston defenders gave before going out of bounds on what resulted in a 21-yard reception.

That York drive stalled on the Ram 22-yard line. One play later, Madden spun, cut and sprinted his way through the Dukes’ defense for the 78-yarder.

A strong Ram defensive front that generated pressure and multiple sacks on Erwin was part of the reason the York offense didn’t get much going in the second half. The Dukes did finish one drive strong in the fourth on another 1-yard Cotton run. A steady dose of runs and a first-down catch by Cooper Koch helped the Dukes find the end zone.

The Dukes’ offense made too many errors, Snodgrass said. York ended the game minus-3 in the turnover margin.

“Our offense made mistake after mistake tonight,” he said, “and we’re not going to beat too many teams with those mistakes and it’s really frustrating because we haven’t changed anything and had very few mistakes the first three weeks. Tonight, they were there.”

York (2-2) 6 0 0 6 — 12

At Ralston (2-1) 7 14 9 3 — 33

R: Rashad Madden 63 run (Joshua Padilla kick)

Y: Chase Cotton 1 run (extra point missed)

R: Dylan Tatum 5 run (Padilla kick)

R: Madden 78 run (Padilla kick)

R: York safety

R: Madden 18 run (Padilla kick)

R: Padilla 25 field goal

Y: Cotton 1 TD run (extra point missed)

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