RULEVILLE — The Ruleville Central Tigers had a great time off the field Friday night as they hosted the Charleston Tigers here for homecoming.
Off the field might have been fun, but on it, the Tigers struggled early on as they fell behind 22-0 in the first quarter and never recovered as they watched Charleston go on to win 38-12 in a key Region 3-3A football game.
The win for Charleston (7-2, 3-0 reg.) placed the team in sole possession of first place in Region 3-3A as Ruleville (4-3, 2-1 reg.) fell to second.
Ruleville head coach Damaris Mitchell expressed his disappointment in the outcome but knows his team is better than what it showed.
“Inconsistency and lack of focus were big for us tonight,” said Mitchell. “We had a lot of drops and missed assignments. We left some plays out there on the field and right now all we can do is get back to work and get better.”
Charleston’s defense got off to a great start forcing a three and out to start the game. Following the punt, it only took the offense two plays to get on the board off a 55-yard run from Jay Brown with 9:27 left in the first quarter. The conversion attempt failed but Charleston led 6-0.
After forcing Ruleville to punt a second time, the Charleston offense went back to work. With 6:37 left in the first, Brown scored again on a three-yard run and Brown also added the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead.
The Charleston defense got in on the scoring action the next time out as Sakarta Brown intercepted a pass from Joseph Perez and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown with 4:58 left on the opening quarter clock. Quynn Crawford added the two-point conversion run for a 22-0 Charleston lead.
To start the second quarter, Charleston took to the air and connected on a long pass on third-and-long for a touchdown with 11:46 on the clock. Jay Brown added the two-point conversion for a 30-0 lead.
Later in the second quarter, Ruleville’s Perez was injured and Mitchell replaced him with senior Rodrickus Appleberry. The move proved beneficial, as Appleberry broke free for the team’s biggest run of the night for 13 yards. On the next play, Appleberry connected on a deep pass to Fabian Carter for the team’s first touchdown of the evening. The conversion failed as Ruleville trailed 30-6 game. The score would remain there as both teams hit the locker room for halftime.
“Joe went down and Appleberry is always ready to step in and do whatever we ask of him,” said Mitchell. “He was up to the challenge and played well for us.”
Charleston scored in the third quarter off a 23-yard run from Keyshun Cashaw, and Crawford added the two-point conversion run for a 38-6 game.
Ruleville added another touchdown late in the fourth as Appleberry connected with Carter again for a 38-12 score.
With the loss, Mitchell said it is time for the team to get back to work.
“We have to get more consistent and take advantage of our opportunities. Right now, we are in second place in the district, and we have to take care of business moving forward to stay on track,” Mitchell added.
The Tigers will be back in action Friday against Amanda Elzy at 7 p.m. in Greenwood.