Callis, Ridley offense enjoy memorable evening

RIDLEY TWP. — It was senior night, and Dasante Callis did his best not to cry.

Ridley’s senior running back toed the sideline during the National Anthem before Ridley’s 42-0 blanking of Lower Merion Friday night and said he couldn’t help himself from shedding a few tears in his final regular season game at Phil Marion Field.

“When they were singing the National Anthem, I told myself, ‘ I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to cry,” Callus said. “But it was a nice way to end it.’

Callus brushed off the pregame tears and soon shook off a host of Lower Merion defenders en route to a 49-yard touchdown run, his first of two scores, less than seven minutes into the contest. He broke a 27-yard scoring run in the second quarter, his second-to-last carry, before he gave way to the second-team offense after halftime.

He finished with 126 rushing yards on eight carries, all in the first half.

“I feel like I did good,’ Callis said. “I have to give credit to my offensive line. They worked their butts off. … It makes it easier. They block up front and when they get open space, I just make it happen.’

Malik Young and Nick DiGregorio punched in rushing touchdowns of four and three yards, respectively, to help bolster a Ridley lead that reached a five-possession difference just before halftime.

“I think we played well,’ Green Raiders coach Dennis Decker said. “I just wanted to see (quarterback Jake Hoffman) get a little confidence at quarterback and hit some passes, and I wanted to see the offensive line continue to progress.

“Whether it’s Dasante or Malik back there, I think both of those guys are capable of carrying the load. It’s just a matter of what our offensive line does and they’ve been clicking on all cylinders the last three or four games. Hopefully that carries over into next week.’

Hoffman compiled more than half of his passing yards off a 34-yard strike to Jaasir Minor that helped set up DiGregorio’s touchdown less than a minute before the half, while senior Tom Tricome hit Lower Merion signal-caller Brandon Jones twice in the backfield for 10-yard losses in Ridley’s 23-point second quarter.

“I feel like we’re actually getting better later on in the season,’ Callus said. “We just have to play Haverford [next Friday] and just keep doing what we’ve been doing.’

After the Aces halted Decker’s offensive unit on its first series, junior Christian Dunn helped Ridley steal the early momentum when he returned a fumble for 45 yards to give Ridley a 6-0 lead. Ahead of its season finale against a 6-3 Haverford squad, Decker’s team appeared to have received the pregame message.

“I told the kids we need to win out in order to have a shot at the playoffs,’ Decker said. “We needed to take care of Lower Merion first and then Haverford. So, obviously, we’re not looking past anybody.’

“It’s really all about go hard or go home (against Haverford),’ Callus said. “We’ll see who wants it the most, and we’re ready for that.’

Jones, who converted from wide receiver this fall, compiled 88 yards through the air and tossed an interception, while senior Jaylen Glasgow accounted for 63 receiving yards in the losing effort.

“We’re in the learning process of learning how to play tough teams,’ Aces coach Bryan Scopelliti said. “They don’t have any weak spots, we had to be solid and we just weren’t. They were just a better football team flat out. Our guys need to learn just how to compete with good football teams and we haven’t figured it out yet.’


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