Bison avoid letdown, challenge for PTC lead
The High Point Central football team could’ve easily fallen into the trap of a letdown.
But after facing East Forsyth and Northwest Guilford — both ranked among the top 10 4A teams in the state — the Bison, although choppy at times, pieced together a good enough performance to beat Ragsdale 21-14 on a cold Friday night.
“It felt good to win,” quarterback Jamiel Mack said. “Sometimes teams have to go through rough starts. But as long as we got the win, I guess we’re satisfied.”
And, in hindsight, it was a big one. With Glenn’s win against Northwest Guilford, Central (6-3, 2-1) moved into a tie with East Forsyth, Northwest and Glenn for the Piedmont Triad 4A Conference lead with games left vs. Glenn and Southwest Guilford.
So, given the performances this week of Glenn and Ragsdale, which dipped to 3-6 overall and 1-2 in the PTC, that’s plenty of proof for Central that it needs to keep focused and sharp each week, regardless of the opponent and its record.
“I said it at the beginning of the year, in our conference you can’t sleep on a Friday night,” Bison coach Wayne Jones said. “Everybody can beat anybody, even the last team in our conference.
“I’ve watched Southwest on film, and they’re not bad, they’ve improved. And we’re not going to have an easy win against Glenn. They always play well when they come to us, and I’m sure they’ll be ready to play.”
Central put together a strong drive toward the end of the first quarter to help carry a 7-0 lead into halftime. But two turnovers and some missed opportunities in the passing game — plus some good defense from Ragsdale — kept it from pulling away.
In the second half, the Bison played better, scoring on their opening drive of the third and capitalizing on a mistake by the Tigers in the fourth. That was enough to hold off Ragsdale as Central rallied with a long scoring drive in the third and a late TD.
For the Tigers, who are perennial conference and state contenders but who’ve struggled this year, it was a step in the right direction. Although there were some mistakes, like twice touching punts that Central recovered, they competed well.
“I don’t know how we could’ve played much better,” Ragsdale coach Tommy Norwood said. “That’s not the same football team that played last week. That’s not the same football team that played earlier in the year. We’re proud of our kids.
“There are about four plays I’d like to take back that maybe would’ve made the score different. We’re not a typical 3-6 football team, but that’s what we are. So, next week we’ve got to go to East Forsyth and be ready to play.”
It’s a good time for both teams to be stepping up their games. The Tigers, who perhaps need another win or two for a wild-card berth in the state playoffs, visit East Forsyth next week before finishing the regular season at Glenn. The Bison host Glenn next week before visiting Southwest Guilford.