Saturday’s nondistrict game between Shaw and Higgins had an early start, beginning at 11 a.m. at Hoss Memtsas Stadium.
And, Shaw made sure it had an early ending, too, dominating the first half on the way to a 38-6 triumph and giving coach Scott Bairnsfather his 100th career victory as a high school head coach.
The Eagles (3-1) rolled to a 31-6 halftime lead behind its stifling defense and the running of Trey Ragas, who rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries in the half. Playing sparingly in the second half, Ragas finished with 119 yards on 15 carries.
“Ragas is a good, strong back, and our offensive line did a good job giving him space to run,” Bairnsfather said. “But I thought our defense was just tremendous.”
Obviously, looking ahead two weeks to the start of play in the tough Catholic League, if we can play defense like this, we’ll find a way to score some points.” Bairnsfather said.
Shaw’s defense held Higgins (0-4) to no first downs and minus-7 yards in the first half, with a snap over the punter’s head resulting in a 25-yard loss certainly contributing. Even without that, the Hurricanes gained just 18 yards, all rushing. Higgins finished the game with 48 yards total offense, much of it coming during the final drive against Shaw reserves.
“They are a good team, their defense was good, and we just need to keep working and hopefully getting better,” said Higgins coach Wayne Meyer, who said entering the season that he was concerned about his team’s lack of experience.
Perhaps taking its cue from the game’s start, Shaw wasted little time. Ragas gained 35 yards on two carries, and Quentin Gibson threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Troxler.
Higgins received a break on perhaps the lone miscue by the Eagles when a punt was muffed by Troxler, giving Higgins the ball at the Shaw 8. On the next play, Jerrell Hawkins ran in for the score, bringing the Hurricanes to 7-6 at 8:58 of the first quarter.
Higgins then received a break when Ragas fumbled at the 1 at the end of a 68-yard drive.
However, the Eagles got the ball at the 40 after a punt, and four plays later, Ragas scored on a 13-yard run.
After the kickoff came a key play. With Higgins unable to slow Shaw’s offense, Hurricanes coach Wayne Meyers decided to go for the first down with his team facing fourth-and-1 from its 21. But 250-pound fullback Courtney McClure was stopped inches short of a first down.
Three plays later, Ragas again scored on a 13-yard run, giving Shaw a 21-6 lead at 10:35 of the second quarter.
On their next possession, the Eagles drove 66 yards in six plays, taking just 2:36, as Gibson completed a pass to Brennan Falcon over two Higgins defenders for a 48-yard touchdown.
Next came the sailing snap, setting Shaw up at the Higgins 20 and resulting in Peyton Dufour’s 35-yard field goal.
Mercifully, Shaw scored just once in the second half, on a 19-yard run by Matt Keller midway through the third quarter. After that, Bairnsfather took the starters out and mostly kept the ball on the ground, keeping the clock moving instead of the scoreboard.