RIDLEY TWP. >> For as long as high school football has been played, coaches have relied on senior backs and senior linemen to make big plays when offenses need them to come through.
That was the case at Ridley’s Phil Marion Field as the host Green Raiders got five touchdowns from one of their senior backs, one TD from another senior back, and plenty of help from the offensive line, which included four seniors, in rolling to a 41-0 Central League victory over Conestoga Friday night.
The win was the third in a row for Ridley (5-4, 4-4), while ’Stoga (1-8, 1-7) suffered its fifth consecutive loss.
Kamal Richardson (18 carries, 87 yards) ran for Ridley’s first two touchdowns and grabbed a scoring pass from Nick Layden 16 seconds before halftime, giving the home team a 20-0 advantage as the teams left the field before the Homecoming ceremonies began.
After Ociele Miller ran for a TD in the second minute of the second half, Richardson added two more scoring runs, the second following a 41-yard punt return by Miller, to close out the scoring.
“I was pleased with the effort tonight,” Ridley coach Dave Wood said. “We did things on offense and our defense held them down.”
The Ridley defense allowed Conestoga only 33 yards of total offense.
Richardson and Miller were delighted with the work of the offensive line, which included center Ryan Kennedy, guards Myles Turner, Jarrett Tognucci and Kenichi Walsh, and tackles Thomas Bramwell and Christian Weber.
“We’ve been coming together just in time to make a push for the playoffs,” Kennedy said. “We saw how hard our backs worked in the offseason and want them to believe in us.”
Richardson agreed that he and the other Ridley runners have learned to rely on their offensive linemen.
“They work hard all week,” Richardson said. “Every run we make is because they put their time in and block for us.”
After a scoreless first quarter in which Ridley had three penalties at inopportune times, the Green Raiders got a break when Ryan Meyer fell on the loose ball on a muffed punt six yards from the ’Stoga goal line. Miller got half of that yardage on first down and Richardson scored on second down.
Miller returned a punt 51 yards to the Conestoga 21 1:03 before halftime, and 20 seconds later Richardson was in the end zone again.
A Sean Crowley fumble recovery 22 seconds before halftime gave Ridley the ball at the Pioneers’ 4, and Layden threw to Richardson for six more points.
A 54-yard drive led to Miller’s scoring run and James Becker’s punt block set Ridley up at the ’Stoga 19, with Richardson covering that ground on three consecutive carries.
Miller’s second long punt return resulted in Richardson’s 17-yard scoring run 43 seconds before the third quarter came to a close.
“I’ve had good kick returns before, but not long ones like these,” Miller said. “I’m just glad I could do things like that to help the team.
“We’re getting the momentum, and we want it to keep going and get into the playoffs.”