The Teen Appeal

Giving truth to Memphis youth

Junior Roadrunners key to team success

From left: Braxton Conrad, Terry Fultz, Elontae Bateman, Katvious Taylor, Marquette Murdock, Deharrius Smedley, Brian Thomas, Carmen Jones, Larry Palm. Photo By Alexis G. Ditaway.

From left: Braxton Conrad, Terry Fultz, Elontae Bateman, Katvious Taylor, Marquette Murdock, Deharrius Smedley, Brian Thomas, Carmen Jones, Larry Palm.
Photo By Alexis G. Ditaway.

By Alexis G. Ditaway

Ridgeway High School

Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.

Combining both with heart, dedication and teamwork is what can make a team legendary. The Ridgeway Roadrunners are back this football season, ready to give it all. While all of the players appear hungry for a championship, the junior class has an extra level of vigor and determination.

They’ve been deemed one of the best junior classes in the entire state by Commercial Appeal sports reporter John Varlas.

And although the Ridgeway Roadrunners have been ranked high in the Commercial Appeal’s Dandy Dozen list of local high school football teams which does not stop them from playing like they own the number one spot. The school does not let a ranking define it.

The players use their talents and values to prove that they are the team to beat. The junior class is also making a mark by taking their values and proving them out on the field.

“Hard work and dedication,” said Marquette Murdock, junior tight end. “That’s something we have that a lot of teams don’t.”

“We’ve all played together, and we have chemistry,” added Elontae Bateman, defensive tackle.

“All of us know how we play,” said running back Earl Harrison.

While the juniors are trying to make their own mark, they are also taking the advice and wisdom left by older players, both former and current. “Some of the best advice I’ve gotten was from Sheldon Dawson (former Roadrunner, current sophomore Cornerback for the Georgia Bulldogs),” said Deharrius Smedley. “He’s an awesome player. I took his advice and applied it to the classroom and the field.”

Terry Fultz, junior defensive end, said, “Brandon Lewis (who is now a defense end for University of Arkansas) gave me the best advice: ‘Stay humble. Stay hungry. Listen to your coach.’”

Head coach Duron Sutton noted the team’s prior experience as a reason for their early success.

“We got a good crop that has been playing for a long time. Last year, we had a lot of them starting and playing major minutes,” Sutton said.” They’re seasoned now and they’ve been playing great thus far. Hopefully, they’ll continue to do so.”

One thing that the junior class prioritizes is their dedication not only to the game but to each other. The Roadrunners do not just play as a team, they play as family.

“We unite as one. We link up, and in our heads we say “We’ve got this,” said cornerback Brian Thomas. “We’re unstoppable when we hit the field.”

The Ridgeway Roadrunners are more than just a football team. They are a force to be recognized and remembered. With an outstanding junior class, and returning seniors also ready to fight for the title of champions, fans are expecting a season full of triumph.

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