Park Ridge jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, withstood Boonton coming back, before winning the game on a Vincent Pinto-to-Justin Wagner pass of 36 yards with 1:38 left to win, 28-21, and win the North Jersey Group 1 title.
First Quarter: Park Ridge opened the game with a 12-play, 73-yard drive that consumed nearly half the quarter, capping it off with a Pinto touchdown of 10 yards. Boonton looked like they were going to return the favor when Corey Dempster went 42 yards to the 36, but the Bombers turned it over on downs. Park Ridge drove the ball again, scoring on a 1-yard quarterback draw from Pinto with 49 seconds left in the quarter. A big play on the drive was a 28-yard swing pass to Wagner.
Second Quarter: Boonton made a break for themselves when John Rigas took the punt snap ran for seven yards to give the Bombers a first down on the 50. A sack by Dylan Conkling and Casey Allen helped force a punt that was fumbled by Wagner and recovered by Boonton the 21. The Bombers got on the board when Dempster scored on the 13-yard toss to make it 14-7. Park Ridge marched down the field, mostly on a diet of Pinto and Wagner, but their fourth down pass on the 15 went incomplete with 41 seconds left in the half.
Third Quarter: Boonton went down the field and consumed nearly half the quarter, tying the score when Danny Portas scored on a 1-yard sneak. Park Ridge came back with a drive of their own, but Pinto was sacked on fourth-and-goal for a 14-yard loss on the first play of the fourth quarter by Matt Cannizzaro.
Fourth Quarter: After taking possession, Boonton scored on their second play, a 77-yard pass to Michael Kreitz, who made a fabulous over-the-shoulder catch after slipping past the Park Ridge secondary. Boonton was in front for the first time, 21-14, but Park Ridge answered with a Pinto touchdown run of 63 yards with 10:07 left. A 31-yard pass to Titus Johnson brought the ball to the Park Ridge 35, but Dempster was stopped by Kyle Bratcher on fourth-and-3 on the 28 for no gain.
Pinto ran for a first down and then for 16 yards to the 35 and was dropped for a 1-yard loss by Dempster, before connecting with Wagner for 36 yards down the right sideline to go ahead with 1:38 left. Boonton had their last chance, but Conkling sacked Portas when Kevin Hunt pressured him and an incomplete pass allowed Park Ridge to run out the clock.
Summary: Pinto was the prime mover for Park Ridge with help from Wagner. Pinto’s 201 yards rushing and 178 passing gave him 379 yards of total offense. Wagner had 48 yards rushing and 130 receiving for 178 total yards. One of the unsung players for the Owls was Conkling, who had a hand in two sacks. Their defense held a Boonton rushing attack that averaged 391 yards a game to 181.
*Stats courtesy of nj.com