What We Learned: Nate Ritchie leads Lone Peak over No. 15 Narbonne

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What We Learned: Nate Ritchie leads Lone Peak over No. 15 Narbonne

Football

What We Learned: Nate Ritchie leads Lone Peak over No. 15 Narbonne

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No. 15 Narbonne (Harbor City, California) lost to Lone Peak (Utah). Looking closer, one specific player knocked off the Super 25 team.

Nate Ritchie, a three-star Lone Peak safety, did it all for the Knights in Lone Peak’s 41-21 win.

He had two interceptions, including a pick-six; he made all four of his field goals; he converted a fake punt; he returned kickoffs.

MORE: How the Super 25 Fared: Week 2

Let’s break down Ritchie’s impact here:

Nate Ritchie may be the player of the week

Narbonne got a fourth-down stop trailing Lone Peak 30-14 in the third quarter. The game wasn’t out of reach for Narbonne; if quarterback Jake Garcia could lead a successful drive, suddenly they’re right back in it.

But Ritchie came through and picked off a pass. Lone Peak ball, and the five-star Narbonne quarterback had to return to the sidelines.

Less than three minutes later, Ritchie converted a fake punt. He then drilled a 40-yard field goal to finish the drive.

That was one of four field goals he made. Earlier in the third quarter, Ritchie returned a kickoff to the 15-yard line. When the offense couldn’t put the ball home, he knocked in the field goal.

He made sure to put the nail in the coffin.

With a minute and a half remaining in the game, Ritchie picked off Garcia once more. This time, he left no chance he’d have to come out for a field goal. He ran it to the house and scored himself. Lone Peak took a 41-21 lead and Ritchie iced the game.

To recap: Ritchie intercepts five-star quarterbacks, he drains field goals, kicks punts – and fakes them – and mans return teams? He looked like an all-around star.

Narbonne’s run game wasn’t good enough

Narbonne got three pieces of bad news in the offseason regarding the running back room: First, four-star 2021 Oregon commit Seven McGee, who was expected to transfer, decided to remain in New York. Then, three-star RB Marceese Yetts transferred from Narbonne to Mater Dei (Santa Ana, California). Jojuan Collins also departed, according to the Daily Beeeze.

The team hoped different running backs could shoulder the load and relieve pressure from Jake Garcia. In the first game of the season, Jack Brown and Tomarion Harden did a did good job, combining for 155 yards on 25 carries, but the running back group was largely ineffective Saturday.

Twice early in the game, Narbonne attempted to convert on a fourth-down by running the ball. They were stopped on both attempts, including one in which the Gauchos were trailing 14-7.

As the deficit increased, Narbonne understandably turned to Garcia’s arm. But even converting one of those fourth downs would have helped the team stay in it and could have turned the tide.

Something we still need to learn

Will Traeshon Holden play? The CIF is still debating the eligibility of the four-star Alabama wide receiver commit.

Holden transferred from St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Maryland). With the move, he formed an elite duo with Garcia, but the holdup on the decision leaves questions on if or when he’ll be available.

His absence hurt the team Saturday.

Los Angeles Times reporter Eric Sondheimer predicted a decision “may come next week.”

Narbonne surely hopes to know his fate sooner than later. They either need to fully integrate him in, or be able to move on.

Final thought

This wasn’t simply a poor performance by Narbonne. Lone Peak is a very good team that won the Utah Class 6A state championship last season. The team up there with the best in Utah, and in the general sphere of the Western Region rankings bubble.

Narbonne needs to play better to deserve a spot in the national rankings. But Lone Peak is no pushover.

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