Ridley holds on to beat Strath Haven

RIDLEY TWP. — Ridley’s up-tempo offense unofficially ran off a remarkable 66 plays on offense against Strath Haven Friday night at Phil Marion Field, but the Green Raiders could only put 20 points on the scoreboard.

As it turned out it was just enough for Ridley to walk off with a 20-14 win over the Panthers.

With the victory Ridley improved its record to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in Central League play. Strath Haven fell to 0-6.

Obviously the Raiders can only think about their next game which is against Harriton, but head coach Dennis Decker said he told his player to also think about the big picture.

“I told the kids when we were 1-2, we have an opportunity,’ Decker said. “We have three games left. We can run the table, make the playoffs at 8-2 or we can pack it in and have fun and do whatever you want to do. But our kids didn’t quit. They are going to battle you for four quarters now for seven games and they’re giving me everything they have.’

Decker knows he has some things to make right if his team is going to make any noise this year. Three long drives by the Green Raiders ended on downs and one with a fumble.

That cannot happen against the top teams they will face down the road.

“We didn’t execute well offensively,’ Decker said. “We had the ball inside the ten and didn’t score. I didn’t think special teams played particularly well, but defensively they bailed us out and played a big game.’

Strath Haven fell behind 20-6 in the third quarter when Malik Young followed his blocks, including a big one by guard Jesse Leshner, scoring on a 23-yard run.

The Panthers answered by taking advantage of a fumble by Ridley quarterback Jake Hoffman at the Strath Haven 7-yard line and recovering it at the 5.

The Panthers went 95 yards to make the score 20-14. The key plays were a 58-yard run by Dalton Leach and a nine-yard TD run by Nick Milone, his second touchdown of the game.

Both teams had long drives that fizzled to start the fourth quarter.

With under two minutes left in regulation, The Panthers appeared to have one more chance.

Ridley had driven the ball to the Strath Haven 9-yard line where the drive stalled.

The Raiders tried a field goal to ice the game.

But the 26-yard kick by Esteban Munoz was wide left.

Unfortunately the Panthers were flagged for roughing the kicker and a chance for game-winning drive was gone.

“There were a lot of plays in the game,’ Clancy said of the penalty. “That’s not going to be the deciding play. That was a big play at the end but the play at the end of the half was a big play as well (Ridley’s 17-yard TD pass from Hoffman to Ameer Staggs with three seconds remaining). There are a lot of plays in a football game. We just didn’t do enough of them.’

Ridley ran the ball well with Young rushing for 113 yards on 21 carries as did speedster DeSante Callis who rushed 17 times for 104 yards. Hoffman was outstanding going 10 of 12 for 119 yards, with a touchdown pass and an interception.

Strath Haven was led by Milone who rushed for 59 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. Anthony Myers rushed 14 times for 49 yards.

Clancy praised defensive linemen Justin Fremont and Peter Deeb.

Their effort at the line of scrimmage, along with their teammates, were a big reason the game was so close.

“They are our tackles,’ Clancy said. “They don’t come off the field. They played real hard. It is really good to see them play as hard as they are.’

Obviously this a tough year for the Panthers. Fremont, a senior, said he is pleased with the effort despite coming up short.

“I am very proud of my teammates,’ Fremont said. “They battled through the whole game and didn’t give up. It was one the best games we played all year.’

Decker said he knows his team missed some opportunities, but the Raiders are 5-2 and have now won four in a row.

“A win is a win, obviously,’ Decker said. “We’ll take it. We just need to get better for next week.’


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