CLINTON - The injury bug has bitten, and for Ridgeland High, apparently it's taking no prisoners.

The Titan's defense, which looked to be one of the best in the state in the 5A classification headed into the season, was decimated by injuries last week during a 43-14 loss to 6A opponent Clinton.

"We got started off on the right foot when we lost four starters on defense," head coach Kenny Burton said, sarcastically. "We ended up plugging in some guys that haven't played much, and we played well at times, but we just couldn't get anything going offensively and we left the defense on the field too long."

Ridgeland (1-1) had already lost 6-foot-4, 205-pound defensive lineman Emmanuel Nash to a torn ACL in the 22-14 win over Mendenhall last week, and will be without 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior linebacker Dalton McArthur (high-ankle sprain) and senior cornerback/wide receiver Jonathan Brooks (jaw injury) for the foreseeable future.

The good news is that Burton expects senior captain Elijah Wells (hip-pointer) to return this week. The bad news is the Titans will have to deal with another 6A opponent in the Terry Bulldogs (1-1) on Friday night.

"They are another 6A school who will create some issues for us," Burton said. "They have a lot of depth, and they are doing a good job of spreading the ball around in that wide-open offense."

Terry moved the ball well, but couldn't put the ball in the end zone in a season-opening 38-6 loss against Warren Central, but rebounded last week with a 28-12 win over 4A opponent Raymond.

But Burton said the Titans can't afford to focus too much on their opponent - the problems he has to deal with start a little bit closer to home.

Ridgeland has rushed for 447 yards in two games, which is great, but quarterback Dreyson Thompson and Zach Haines have combined to complete just eight passes for 109 yards without a touchdown through the air.

Against Clinton, Thompson was 4-of-9 for 78 yards, but most of it came in the second half when the game was all-but-decided. Still, Burton said he was encouraged by what he saw out of his senior quarterback.

"We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot," he said. "We'd have a big play and set ourselves up with good field position, and then we'd have a negative play. But Dreyson threw the ball better in the second half and we had some guys make some good catches... that was a plus for us."

Burton added that Ridgeland had a couple of drops that could have helped extend drives and kept the banged-up Ridgeland defense off of the field.

"We just have little things we need to clean up," he said. "We have to work on getting better as a team week-in and week-out and, as a coaching staff, we have to get some of our younger guys ready to play, in case we have these types of injury problems."