Ridgewood 24 Wayne Valley 0
The defense led the way in leading Ridgewood to a 24-0 win over Wayne Valley on a wet night marred by turnovers from both teams.
First Quarter: After forcing a Wayne Valley punt, Ridgewood took over on the Valley 45. On third-and-two, Cole Dawkins took a swing pass to the right sideline to the 10-yard line. Red Kossick scored from four yards out to put Ridgewood on the board. The extra point was blocked, the first of four point-after touchdowns on the evening that failed. The Maroons defense forced another three-and-out and had good field position again, but turned the ball over on downs. The teams traded turnovers at this point and both teams would have turnovers the rest of the game. Part of that was due to the steady drizzle that was on-and-off during the game.
Second Quarter: There wasn’t much offense until the final drive. Drives were turned over on downs, while Wayne Valley recovered a fumble and Joe Costa had an interception for the Indians. Andrew Gioia of Ridgewood intercepted late in the quarter and set up their second score. Kossick ran 40 yards down the right sideline to the Valley 26 and the Maroons capped it off with a 2-yard run by Joe Grasso with seven seconds left.
Third Quarter: Dawkins scored on a 39-yard run which was set up when Wayne Valley shanked a punt, giving them the ball on the Valley 41.
Fourth Quarter: Wayne Valley drove the ball down the field, but their chance to get on the board ended when Gioia intercepted in the end zone. Ridgewood’s final score came on Will Anderson’s 5-yard run.
Summary: Ridgewood’s defense was a big story of the game. Head coach Chuck Johnson singled out linebackers Joe Grasso and Jay Wittmaack, plus linemen Gregory Lawson, Daric Anderson, and Gary Fletcher. Johnson said they are a bend-but-don’t break defense and that it’s eleven men running to the ball. Overall, as a team, they have had many delays in their preseason, including missing time due to the field’s damage from Hurricane Ida and Johnson says they are two weeks behind; they are not where they need to be, but they will get there. Gioia had two interceptions, one that prevented Wayne Valley from scoring. Offensively, Ridgewood has a pair of backs that can move in Kossick and Dawson, while Bob Kuenzler had some nice gains from his fullback position.
Wayne Valley had a tough outing as they couldn’t generate any offense. This is a team that is dominated by juniors with 15 starting by my account. There will be growing pains, but I expect them to thrive next year.
I did not chart the plays, as I was expecting to. I was not prepared for the rain and the weather forecast said it was not supposed to rain. The rain started just before kickoff and I did not want to risk getting a hat or umbrella out of the car at that point. Therefore, I did not want to write with my notes all wet. I was able to jot down notes when the rain eased off and used my memory. Making it even worse was my legs were being attacked by a pack of insects and the combination of that and the rain put me in touch with my inner bitch for a while. I did notice that by standing on the track instead of the turf minimized the bug threat. At halftime, I did get the hat and umbrella which made covering the game when it rained more tolerable.