Vincent Pinto rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for another, leading Park Ridge to a 21-7 win over Emerson in a clash of two unbeaten teams.
First Quarter: Park Ridge struck first on their opening possession when Pinto connected with Justin Wagner in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 2:15 left in the quarter on a drive that consumed over six minutes.
Second Quarter: The Owl defense forced an Emerson punt, but Frankie Savino intercepted for Emerson and, on the following play hit Tyler Reissner for a 36-yard touchdown to tie the game early in the quarter. Park Ridge wasted no time getting back in front, marching 65 yards in five plays, with Pinto racing 18 yards for a touchdown to give Park Ridge a lead they would keep the rest of the game. Pinto raced 29 yards two plays earlier to give the Owls a first down on the 25. The extra point was blocked and Park Ridge was up, 13-7. Park Ridge reached the 50 on their next drive, but Savino had his second interception to end that threat. The Cavos moved past midfield, as far as the 23, but turned it over on downs.
Third Quarter: Park Ridge came out with the ball, with Pinto runs of 12 and 17 yards to start the half, but he fumbled on the following play with Emerson recovering. Later in the quarter, Emerson had the ball again and kept the ball for six minutes, advancing to the Park Ridge 30, with the key playing being a Savino-to-Dylan DeMagistris pass of 21 yards. But after a couple of plays where losses pushed them back to the 47, the Cavos were forced were forced to punt.
Fourth Quarter: Park Ridge had the ball late in the third quarter and drove well into the fourth, keeping the ball for almost eight minutes. But Pinto fumbled again with Emerson recovering on the 12. Three plays later, Matthew Manning intercepted for Park Ridge, giving the Owls the ball on the 29. Six plays later, Pinto scored from eight yards out. The two-point conversion was successful and Park Ridge increased the lead to 21-7 with one minute left.
Emerson – 0-7-0-0-7
Park Ridge – 7-6-0-8-21
PR – Pinto to Wagner, 17 yards (kick good)
E – Savino to Reissner, 36 yards (kick good)
PR – Pinto, 18-yard run (kick blocked)
PR – Pinto, 8-yard run (Pinto to Wagner)
Pinto was the leader of the offense with his 203 yards and key runs. He has a strong burst in his first five yards when he runs, plus he runs decisively. Wagner also contributed 70 yards on the ground. The defense limited Emerson to 126 yards of offense and have only allowed 21 points on the year.
For Emerson, Savino had two interceptions on defense, while having his moments on offense. The inability to sustain a drive hurt the Cavos. Their only touchdown was a one-play drive. They only turned the ball over once, while Park Ridge did it four times to give Emerson a +3 in turnovers. Nonetheless, they did not take advantage of their opportunities and Park Ridge’s defense did a very good job.
Park Ridge coach Tom Curry, Jr.: “Offensively, we kicked ourselves, shooting ourselves in the foot. We knew if we maintained things, we would be alright. Our defense was outstanding tonight. Emerson, defensively, did a good job. They took us out of our passing game. They kept their safeties back and we took what we could.”
Park Ridge quarterback Vincent Pinto: “I love the game and the rivalry. Our defense has been great all year, giving up only 21 points for the season. I turned the ball over four times and they kept us in the game. At the end, we just wanted to drive the ball. We kept fighting.”