Baker returns to form in Week 2

JAMESTOWN, N.C. -- After a performance in Ragsdale's season opener slowed by flu-like symptoms, Toney Baker was back in prime form this week against Northwest Guilford as he rushed for 279 yards on 20 carries with four touchdowns in a 41-14 win.

Baker was stymied on the Tigers' opening drive, but on the following two possessions rattled off runs of 21 and 38 yards into the end zone to put Ragsdale up 14-7. One, from the right hash, required Baker to spin out of the arms of two would-be tacklers after stiff-arming a defensive lineman to the ground.

"I felt great today, and it was nice to get out here and do so well in a game dedicated to Mr. Risi," Baker said. "My legs felt really fresh and the line is starting to come together a bit, though they did get into the backfield on a few occasions."

Baker was referring to the death of the parent of two JV football players, Joe Risi, of a heart attack on Tuesday. At the instigation of Baker and his teammates, the game was dedicated to the family and a game ball was presented to the two players and their mother.

"It was a blow to the whole team, and they came to me and requested that we do something to memorialize him and show our support," said Ragsdale head coach Tommy Norwood. "They are a special group of young men."

Baker's performance on the field was also notable to Norwood.

"Toney just took over the game at times, and that is what he does week in and week out," Norwood said. "He had two or three runs today that I just couldn't believe, and I've been watching him for years now."

The game turned on yet another Baker run, with only 13 seconds remaining in the first half. The score was 21-7, and after a key stop by the Ragsdale defense in the red zone everyone assumed the Tigers would simply run out the clock. On the contrary, the left sweep to Baker went for 76 yards and the game was essentially over.

"It was a play that we'd had some success with tonight, just one of our regular plays," Baker said. "I got through the lineman's tackle and took it to the house. No big deal."

Baker isn't planning on attending any games this weekend as the college schedule kicks into high gear, or at least not a game featuring a team contending for his services.

"I don't really know, but I think I am going to go see Wes Pope, an ex-teammate of mine, up at Elon," Baker said [Pope is expected to start this season at quarterback for the Quakers].

Ragsdale faces a 3-0 Western Guilford squad next week, the only team to hold him under 200 yards last season. If the post-game comments from Ragsdale's offensive line are any indication, it will require a similarly singular effort to duplicate that feat this year.


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