Two Game Evening
I took in two games this evening: most of the Ramsey-Pascack Valley game and the second half of Park Ridge-Butler.
Ramsey at Pascack Valley
First Quarter: Ramsey opened the game with a 68-yard drive, capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run by Luca Gemma. After the team exchanged turnovers on consecutive plays, Pascack Valley was able to get well into Ramsey territory when Jake Crawbuck connected with Conor Higgins for a 28-yard pass to the 19-yard line, but Valley turned it over on downs late in the quarter.
Second Quarter: Ramsey struck early in the quarter when Robert Fuerst found Dillon Kelly on a rocket screen up the middle for a 59-yard score. After the Rams forced a Valley 3-and-out, Ramsey got moving when Fuerst ran 32 yards to the PV 39 and then passed to Joey Lis for a 39-yard touchdown down the left sideline for a 21-0 lead with 8:30 left.
Second Half: Ramsey found success again in the third quarter when Fuerst and Kelly connected again on the rocket screen from a near identical spot of 56 yards and a 28-0 lead. On both plays, Kelly ran most of the way with no defenders near him. Pascack Valley moved the ball deep into Ramsey territory, but again came up empty, turning it over on downs on the 2-yard line. Ramsey ended the scoring when Lis scored a 4-yard touchdown with four minutes remaining in the game.
The game was all Ramsey from start to finish. It was a very good debut at quarterback for Fuerst, a senior. He was very productive both running and throwing the ball. and has the makings of a good field general, as I discovered he will be the captain of the basketball team. Kelly was active on both sides of the ball and their defense looked better than it did a year ago. If the Rams can play this way on defense the entire year, they will be a major factor in Group 2.
Butler at Park Ridge
I arrived at halftime in Park Ridge, driving the two-and-a-half miles from Pascack Valley and Butler was leading, 21-14.
The second half was all Park Ridge.
The Owls came out with the ball, driving down the field and cutting the deficit to one point when Cole Hughes scored on a 3-yard run. The two-point conversion pass was incomplete to make it 21-20 midway through the quarter. Two key plays were a fourth down completion from Hughes to Jacob Shannon, followed by a 16-yard run by Hughes to make it first-and-goal. Butler looked like it was going to do something on their ensuing possession when Bobby Battipede found Jack McNear for a completion to the Park Ridge 40 – a beautiful catch by McNear. But nothing happened on the drive.
Park Ridge drove again early in the fourth quarter, behind the running of Hughes and Luke Macfie, going in front on a Hughes touchdown pass to Shannon in the left corner of the end zone. The two-point conversion failed and it was 26-21 with eight minutes left. Butler had two more possessions, punting on the first and making a run into Park Ridge territory on the latter. But their fourth down pass was incomplete with 17 seconds left.
There are two halves to a game and it looked as if Butler had a very good first half. But Park Ridge owned the second half. Hughes was the prime mover for the Owls, running and passing.
These are two young squads, with Park Ridge only having one senior on the team and we could end up seeing these teams play the next two seasons more than once.