South Ridge rallies past NevisThe Panthers beat Nevis 24-18 win in a Class 9-Man state quarterfinal last Friday evening in a blustery Husky Stadium at St. Cloud State University. They play in the STate semifinals at 9 a.m. Friday in the Metrodome.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
ST. CLOUD – Observing intently from his defensive back position during the final play, South Ridge’s Bill Redding watched as Nevis’ desperation pass sailed beyond the back of the end zone, ending the game.
“I looked up to my parents and just smiled,” said Redding, who ran for a touchdown and caught another to help propel the Panthers to a 24-18 win in a Class 9-Man state quarterfinal last Friday evening in a blustery Husky Stadium at St. Cloud State University. “This was the game they attended. It meant a lot. I played my heart out for them.”
Redding, a 6-foot, 155-pound junior running back, racked up 72 yards rushing on 21 attempts, totaling 114 yards receiving on seven catches from quarterback Kody Karppinen. Afterward, Redding noted it was his parents, Jeff and Sarah Montgomery, who propelled his efforts. Due to work conflicts, Redding said it was the first game they’ve seen this season.
“They keep me going,” Redding said outside the locker rooms. “It felt good that they were there. I just wanted to keep running.”
South Ridge (11-1) now runs into a 9 a.m. state semifinal Friday with Grand Meadow (11-1) at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Redding recorded the Culver-based school’s only score of the first half last week, rushing in for a 6-yard touchdown. Trailing 12-8 at halftime and 18-8 early in the third quarter, South Ridge rallied when Redding snagged a 42-yard touchdown from Karppinen.
“Friday was Bill’s night,” said Panthers first-year Coach Tony DeLeon. “He does everything well. He punts, plays defense, receiver, running back, takes back kick returns. He’s kind of a utility man.”
DeLeon said Redding takes reps with fellow running backs Devon Lee and Tyler Hage. Karppinen, a junior, credited Redding afterward.
“I couldn’t imagine not having my parents at games, but Bill has been playing big and stepping up for us,” said Karppinen, who was 8-of-19 for 132 yards passing and the go-ahead rushing score last week. “He’s been going all out. That was probably his best game right there.”
Karppinen’s 2-yard, third-quarter plunge – followed by his third conversion of the game – gave South Ridge the 24-18 lead for good. Fifth-ranked Nevis had opportunities to respond in the fourth, yet couldn’t answer, including quarterback Collin Huckbody’s pass as time expired.
“We had the ball in the end, and were confident in the play we had, it just didn’t work out for us,” Nevis Coach Shawn Klimek said. “But tap their heads, South Ridge played well tonight.”
The Tigers were led by Huckbody’s 256 yards passing, 129 yards running and two scores. Taylor Chase also caught a touchdown and had 135 receiving yards for Nevis in their lone loss this season.
The Panthers have now won 10 straight and head back to the Metrodome to play Friday morning.
“It’s all about the kids. They’re the ones making plays. Some would call it luck, but you have to be in the right spot to be lucky,” DeLeon said. “They just keep fighting and playing. I don’t know what we’re saying or doing, but as long as we keeping doing it, we’re confident in our chances.”
“Watching tape it looked like we could stop [Nevis], and we did tonight,” added senior linebacker Robby McQuade, who had three interceptions. “We went two years and won one game. We’ve all stuck together. Now we’ve won 11 and we’re going to the Dome.”
Just like Redding’s parents.