Sep 8, 2012
TraShawn Gregory said he and quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe spend an extra hour after practice each day working on pass patterns and timing.
"We keep working on it every day until we get it perfect," Gregory said.
During Friday night's 32-6 rout against host Jack Britt, it showed. Gregory and Ratliffe connected for three touchdowns. Of Ratliffe's 167 yards through the air, 120 came via Gregory.
"I just throw the ball in the air and left him go get it," said Ratliffe, who completed 13 of his 15 passes.
Gregory's first score - which covered 28 yards - was the easy one as he found space in the back corner of the end zone. His second one - a 24-yarder - came on the same play call, only with better coverage from the Buccaneers' smaller cornerback.
The final time the pair hooked up for a touchdown came when Gregory snatched a 12-yard pass from out of the grasp of a defender in the fourth quarter.
But arguably his best reception of the night came when he snagged a 46-yard bomb while in double coverage late in the first half.
"He's like every wideout, he's open every play," Scotland coach Richard Bailey said. "If you don't believe him, just ask him. He wants the ball, but great ones always want the ball."
Gregory's highlights were part of an evening in which the Scots (3-1) flummoxed the fourth-ranked Buccaneers (3-1) from the start.
After the Scots notched a Ben Utter field goal on the first drive, the Buccaneers fumbled both snaps on their opening possession, the second leading to a safety. After Scotland got the ball back, Ratliffe found Gregory in the end zone.
The Buccaneers' second drive ended when the Scots pounced on a McRae fumble. Scotland made them pay when Ratliff connected with Gregory again to go up 18-0.
"He made plays, he went up and got a couple," Jack Britt coach Brian Rimpf said. ". Sometimes people just make plays and Gregory made quite a few tonight."
The Scots tacked on a 33-yard touchdown run from Jalen McLean before halftime to build a 25-0 edge.
Rimpf said that, by the second half, his team had long since settled down from its rough start and it showed.
"Too many mistakes at the beginning, we tried to refocus them," Rimpf said. "If you take the first quarter out . it was a pretty good game after that. But when you play a good team, you can't dig yourself that big a hole."
The Buccaneers took their first drive of the third quarter 53 yards in eight plays and scored on a Mark McRae quarterback sneak from a yard out.
Jack Britt threatened in the fourth quarter, driving to the Scots' 9. But Scotland's defense stiffened and kept the Buccaneers from netting points.
With the victory all but sealed, Ratliffe was able to hook up with Gregory for the final time, scoring from 12 yards out with 3:20 left and putting an exclamation point on a statement performance.
"This is the best game I've had so far, but I want to keep it going," Gregory said.
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