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posted: 8/25/2012 12:01 AM

Ritchie, Burlington knock off Hampshire

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By Allen Oshinski
Daily Herald Correspondent

Ryan Ritchie helped Burlington Central with his arm and with his legs. In the end, it was just too much for Hampshire.

Ritchie ran for 2 touchdowns and set up a field goal with his passing, as the Rockets defeated their rivals, 16-7, in nonconference action in Hampshire. He finished with 105 yards passing and 94 yards rushing.

Ritchie completed 4 straight passes on the Rockets' opening drive that culminated in Casey Matthews' 30-yard field goal.

After Hampshire took the lead on a 1-yard run by Phil LaPointe, Ritchie put the Rockets ahead to stay just before halftime.

He completed a 15-yard pass to Joel Lopez on fourth down. On the next play, he broke free from a crowd and scampered in for a 27-yard touchdown.

"The first (touchdown) was a play where I faked to the left and then came back," he said. "I had a guard pulling for me. Right when I turned around I had a wall full of my offensive linemen. I didn't even know what to do, so I played a little hide-and-seek game. I ran behind them for awhile and just broke free to the right."

Hampshire reached the Rockets' 25 on its first second-half possession. But the drive stalled and the Rockets moved 75 yards in 15 plays for the clinching score.

Dishon Rambo ran 6 times for 31 yards on the drive before Ritchie ran it in from 8 yards out.

"Ritchie's a heckuva player," said Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh. "He did some nice things for them, and we didn't take advantage of some things we needed to take advantage of."

Hampshire had a final chance to make it interesting, but Matthews intercepted Kyle Anderson's pass at the Rockets' 1-yard line with less than a minute left.

Ritchie's second touchdown was set up by another huge fourth-down conversion, when Joe Breeden gained 11 yards on a reverse on fourth-and-9.

The fourth-down conversions helped take pressure off the Rockets' young defense.

"There are certain situations where we're going to go on fourth down," said Central coach Rich Crabel. "In that situation, for that particular call, we felt good about that. We're young and inexperienced defensively, so we're going to have to control the ball offensively."

Anderson finished 8 of 21 for 71 yards for Hampshire, and just missed completing a number of long pass plays. The Rockets' defensive backs, led by Damyan Vasquez, tipped balls away at the last second.

Chris Calvin led the Whip-Purs' rushing attack with 43 yards on just 9 carries.

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