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Ridley’s Miller, Richardson rebound to feast on Interboro defense

RIDLEY >> The game was into the second quarter and Ridley had run nine plays from scrimmage. Four resulted in turnovers.

The Green Raiders, though, were down just six points. Sure enough, they woke up from there.

Thanks to a combined 302 yards and five touchdowns from Ociele Miller and Kamal Richardson, Ridley stormed past Interboro 38-20 Thursday to claim its fourth straight victory in this storied Thanksgiving rivalry.

Ridley running back Ociele Mille gets a lift from lineman Joe Spillman after his 67-yard touchdown run in the first half, one of three on the day as Ridley claimed a 38-20 win over Interboro on Thanksgiving. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

In front of a packed house and with tons of alumni on the sidelines, Ridley scored 24 unanswered points in the second quarter to wrestle control away. Interboro got within two scores late in the third quarter, but an efficient drive capped by Miller’s two-yard run early in the fourth quarter iced it.

“We felt the momentum all the way,” Miller said. “We had them after that first touchdown, we just had to keep coming out, keep playing hard and we knew it would come up (ours) in the end.”

The Green Raiders lead the all-time series 37-12. Thursday marked the most points scored in an installment of the rivalry since 2002, a double-overtime affair, and the most in a regulation contest since 1970.

Miller ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Richardson covered 143 yards, eclipsing 1,000 on the season, and two scores. The backfield duo had all but 69 of its team’s yards.

In that fateful second quarter, Miller bursted for scoring runs of 67 and 20 yards to put Ridley (7-4) firmly ahead.
Richardson followed with a 25-yard sprint late in the period and a one-yard charge early in the third quarter. After all that, the Green Raiders were up 31-6. It was a world away from that awful first quarter.

“We didn’t let it get to us, we just wanted to keep our heads up, stay focused,” Richardson explained. “We knew it was the first quarter. We had a whole other three quarters to play.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Interboro vs. Ridley

Ridley quarterback Nick Layden was intercepted twice (both by Andrew Grieb) and fumbled twice during that stretch. Interboro capitalized on just one of those turnovers — Jared Delliproscoli’s one-yard sneak midway through the period.

In the third quarter, the Bucs scored on Dellipriscoli’s 48-yard pass to Tim Convery and Grieb’s three-yard run (set up, of course, by his third pick).

Otherwise, Ridley’s defense held. It yielded just 150 yards to the Bucs (5-7) for the game.

“What a defensive effort to hold them to only six points,” Ridley coach Dave Wood said. “They didn’t even get field-goal opportunities. To hold them to six when that was going down, and then once it clicked and once our kids felt it and once (Richardson and Miller) got started …”

At that point, Wood started to discuss the performances of his two senior backs and how far his squad had come. The Ridley team from August and September that started 2-4 would’ve likely folded after these early setbacks.

Interboro running back Kalie Kuyateh, left, tries to evade the grasp of Ridley defensive back Jose Calleja in the first half Thursday. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

This version, which finished on a five-game winning streak after missing the District 1 Class 6A playoffs by a narrow margin, did not.

The 27-day layoff from its last game might’ve been a factor early, but it was not by the conclusion. Beating Interboro, it turns out, is just that important.

“It’s funny, when you get hired, it’s the only thing they talk about, is this game,” Wood explained. “All the other games and trying to get in the playoffs is important, but the Interboro game is The Game. So for us to come out my first two years and do a good job and win is fun for the kids.”

Nobody had more fun than Miller and Richardson on this brisk Thanksgiving morning. The two were the most popular guys on the field after the game, with high demand for pictures and handshakes. Coaches were asking how many yards they had run for.

The pair wasn’t concerned with statistics. Fittingly, on this holiday, they knew how to respond.

“We’re both going to eat,” Richardson said.

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