Don’t sleep on Hylton: Ricky Slade leads Bulldogs to win over Hayfield in Virginia 6C playoffs
Don’t sleep on Hylton: Ricky Slade leads Bulldogs to win over Hayfield in Virginia 6C playoffs:-After shaking hands with the Hayfield players, many of whom spent the Virginia Region 6C first-round playoff game chasing him around the field, Hylton running back Ricky Slade wrapped himself in a pink fleece blanket and lay down in the middle of their field.
Perhaps Virginia’s top-ranked prospect for the class of 2018 was tired from powering the fifth-seeded Bulldogs’ ground game with five touchdowns in a 47-13 win over the fourth-seeded Hawks. Or maybe Slade was cold from standing on the sideline, watching Hylton’s reserves for much of the second half.
But, as some teammates lay next to him and others then piled around in celebration, Slade’s reason for rest become apparent.
“I think they were sleeping on us a little bit,” Slade said. “It’s good to know we came to their field and did what we had to do to get a good win.”
The victory in Alexandria sends the Bulldogs (8-3) to play top-seeded Freedom-Woodbridge (11-0) in the region semifinals next weekend and extends Slade’s high school career.
The Penn State commit and the nation’s best senior all-purpose back, according to 247sports.com, has long carried Hylton’s offense.
As a freshman, he once scored eight touchdowns in a game, garnering college coaches’ attention with the first few of what eventually became more than 20 scholarship offers. And last season, he rushed for 1,792 yards (averaging 10 yards per carry) and 20 touchdowns.
The Bulldogs went 6-5 behind that production, enduring a shutout in the first round of the postseason, so Slade had even more reason to relish another game this year.
Despite twisting his ankle in the first quarter, Slade had four touchdowns in the first half, while senior quarterback Jordan Davis, who rushed for more than 200 yards, added one. Trainers taped Slade’s left ankle, though the senior still appeared hesitant on some outside cuts.
But that didn’t matter, Slade said, because the Bulldogs had focused all week on getting push through their offensive line and powering through the middle. At one point in the fourth quarter, Hylton had just 10 players on the field — and just four offensive lineman — and still ran for six yards.
“We felt like it was a good game to go into running the ball,” Coach Tony Lilly said. “I mean, we have one of the best backs in the country, so we were going to give it to him.”
Slade’s dominance meant another of the area’s best offensive players finished his high school career.
Hayfield’s Brian Cobbs, a Maryland commit, entered the game with a combined 2,288 yards and 30 touchdowns passing, rushing and receiving. But the Hylton defense worked to keep Cobbs from getting to the edge, forcing him into two interceptions after he opened the game with a rushing touchdown.
Because the Hawks (8-3) didn’t have the same success on defense, Slade wanted a nap after the final whistle.
“Get to go for one more,” Slade said. “My last high school run.”