By Richard Sharp
Lake Area Sports
AUGUSTA-In a battle of two eight-man squads in search of their first victory of 2020, the host Augusta Red Devils rallied from a 46-22 deficit to stun the Rose Bud Ramblers 48-46 on Senior Night,
The Red Devils, who received the opening kickoff, wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as senior quarterback Drelyn Neal breezed past defenders for a 55-yard keep and touchdown just 54 ticks into the contest.
Rose Bud responded in odd fashion with a safety that was brought about after a high snap that got away from the kicker on a punt attempt ended up landing in the endzone for two points.
The Ramblers came through with their first touchdown of the evening on the ensuing drive after senior quarterback Gus Eubanks connected with Tristin Lewis for 20 yards, taking their first lead at 8-6.
Augusta began the second session of play with possession of the football, but the Rambler defense held their own with a goal line stand that opened the door for Eubanks to reel off a 65-yard run to the endzone to extend the advantage to eight.
The host knotted the game up at 14-all after Neal found a wide-open Lemarc Ivy for six points, clipping on two more after classmate Zackariah McLucas muscled his way through and broke the plain, bringing up the halftime intermission.
The third quarter belonged to Rose Bud, who turned the jets on and outscored the opposition 32-22, beginning with a Peyton Edwards 50-yard touchdown run on an attack from the right side that helped set the tone, leading to a four-yard score for Canton Moody on a hand-off from in close, adding two more touchdowns from Edwards on 42 and 10 yard runs to blow it open at 46-22.
Down but not out, the Red Devils got a much-needed score from Neal on a quarterback keep that breathed new life into the home team as Neal struck again on fourth and fifteen, making it look easy after recovering a high snap and converting it into yet another TD run to pull within 46-42.
Augusta took the lead for good after McLucas miraculously weaved his way past all defenders after a high snap got away from Neal and landed near midfield, with McLucas making it 48-46 with time winding down.
The Ramblers got one final shot to steal the victory as senior receiver Juan Cuevas took the hand-off from Edwards up the left sideline for 35 yards to make it inside the 10 with 1:29 to go, but a turnover on downs sealed the comeback victory for the Red Devils, who outscored Rose Bud down the stretch 26-0 to move to 1-2, dropping the Ramblers to 0-3 overall.
Rose Bud hosted defending state champion Brinkley this past Friday night for the program’s first home game of the season, honoring their 2021 seniors in the process.