CALN — All season Ridley rode its defense, resulting in a co-Central League title and its first playoff win in four years.
Friday, a Coatesville blitzkrieg stunned the fifth-seeded Green Raiders, knocking them on their heels like no one has all season.
Ridley eventually found its bearings, but by then the damage was done and No. 4 Coatesville won the second-round District 1-6A playoff game, 41-21, at home.
The Green Raiders (10-2) came into the game having given up just 92 points in their first 11 games, but 99 seconds into the second quarter Coatesville had a 28-7 lead and Ridley was in unfamiliar territory.
“They made some big plays early on third and fourth downs and we couldn’t adjust,” Ridley coach Dave Wood said. “We haven’t seen team speed like that all year. We settled down and had some chances, and I thought right before half if we could’ve scored it would’ve changed the game. They’re the best football team in all three phases we’ve seen all year.”
Coatesville (11-1) received the opening kickoff and converted a first down on a second-and-23, and then after picking up 11 yards on third-and-17, freshman quarterback Ricky Ortega found Avery Young for a 21-yard touchdown on fourth down to open the scoring.
Ridley fumbled on its third play from scrimmage, and Young blew past the Ridley defense for a 39-yard touchdown pass from Ortega.
“Everybody on the team loves to set the tone and I was happy to get to set the tone for the team,” Young said. “Ricky and I connected and scored and it was off to the races from there.”
Ridley couldn’t pick up a first down on its second drive, and the Red Raiders found the end zone again when Ortega finished a five-play, 66-yard drive with a 24-yard run.
With the Green Raiders spreading out to protect the edge, Ortega gashed Ridley multiple times right up the gut on QB keeps, and he finished with 123 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
“They have a great quarterback and a great running back and just an all-around good offensive team,” Ridley linebacker Ryan Gricco said. “I’ve been playing with these guys since I was five years old and I wouldn’t change it for the world. We knew we had a job to do and we left it all out on the field.”
Malik Young got Ridley on the board with a six-yard TD run early in the second quarter, but the Green Raiders kicked it to star running back Aaron Young on the ensuing kickoff, and the sophomore took it 58 yards to set up Ortega’s second TD.
Midway through the second, Coatesville sandwiched a Ridley fumble with turnovers as well, but the Red Raiders stuffed the Green Raiders on fourth-and-one at the Coatesville three, 90 seconds before halftime.
“We didn’t really turn the ball over all season and they forced some turnovers,” Wood said. “Defensively, we say whenever we’re out there, however long we’re out there we want to hold teams to three points off turnovers, but we didn’t do that and they made some big plays.”
Malik Young capped a strong opening drive by Ridley in the third quarter with a 23-yard TD run, and the Green Raiders recovered their second fumble of the game on Coatesville’s next drive.
Coatesville held, and pushed its lead to 21 again on the following drive.
Ridley once again drove the ball down the field in the beginning of the fourth, but on a fourth-and-goal from the 15, with just over eight minutes left, a 32-yard field goal attempt was the call and the try went wide.
Aaron Young sealed the deal the next Coatesville drive, covering all 75 yards, the final 44 on the knockout TD run.
“Our no-huddle, I don’t think very many teams see offenses as fast-paced as ours, and it’s hard to prepare as fast in practice as we play,” Coatesville coach Matt Ortega said. “Me, being a defensive coach, I know how hard it is to prepare for the speed of a no-huddle offense, and it’s hard to make adjustments when teams play that fast.”
Ridley did hold Aaron Young in check much of the night, but runs of 64 and 44 pushed his total to 246 yards on 26 carries.
Coatesville will travel to top-seeded North Penn for its third district semifinal in the last five years. Ridley will finish its season with the annual Thanksgiving matchup against Interboro.
“We saw a team that fought all the way to the end and I’m proud of the guys,” Wood said. “We know we have a big Thanksgiving game and it will be a great way to go out for the seniors.”