Isabella escapes home scare from Ranburne

Published 9:06 am Saturday, October 14, 2023

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Isabella High School narrowly escaped Ranburne High School 29-25 on Oct. 13 behind four rushing touchdowns by quarterback Eli Kendrick.

After falling behind 14-0 and their first three possessions ending with three and outs, Isabella received the ball at the midway point in the second quarter. They put together a 10-play drive capped by Kendrick’s 31-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7 at the halftime break.

“I thought our kids did well in a back and forth game,” Isabella head coach Tate Leonard said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game with playoff implications on the line, and both teams needed it. Very proud of our kids, and we made some adjustments at halftime and they came out and responded.”

Ranburne kicked a field goal to make it a two-possession game at 17-7, but Kendrick got his second rushing touchdown of the game the following Mustangs’ possession to bring it back to a three-point game, 17-14 after the third quarter.

Kendrick punched in his third rushing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to give Isabella its first lead of the game 22-17.

Ranburne put together a lengthy drive that resulted in a touchdown to give them a 25-22 lead with just over two minutes left on the clock. As the Isabella offense got the ball back, there was no doubt who would step up in the time of need.

Kendrick led the Mustang offense down to the doorstep of the Ranburne end zone, and for the fourth time in the game, he crossed the goal line for a rushing touchdown. Kendrick’s fourth score gave Isabella a 29-25 lead, and the Mustangs recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to put the game away.

“We always tell our offense that the way it is built, we are never really out of a game,” Leonard said. “Whether we are down or whatever, we can always score. Always be positive, because we are never out of it.”

Kendrick had 92 yards rushing on 17 carries and threw for another 103 yards. Kendrick’s four rushing touchdowns are a season high, and it came in a game where the Mustangs needed it the most.

Isabella (5-2) has its fourth and final game of this four-game homestand hosting Vincent High School on Oct. 20. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.