Young’s four-touchdown effort sparks Ridley

MIDDLETOWN >> The No. 8 emblazoned on his back was the only atypical part of Malik Young’s night.

As Ridley’s standout running back blitzed Penncrest for 117 yards and four rushing touchdowns to lead the visiting Green Raiders in a 33-7 win over the Lions Friday night in a Central League contest at Louis W. Scott Field, everything else went according to the junior’s usual script.

Well, almost everything.

“That’s a career high,” a smiling Young said of his touchdown count.

Though a rip in his regular No. 6 jersey on the game’s second play forced him to borrow backup quarterback Mike Ochmanowicz’s shirt for the duration of the night, Young still spun, cut and willed his way to his first four-score game in a Ridley uniform.

Even if he didn’t do it in his uniform, per se, his accolades still made for a nice bonus added to a must-win game for his team. After dropping consecutive games to Garnet Valley and Upper Darby last month, Friday night’s win marked the Green Raiders’ fourth in a row.

As its push for a first PIAA District One Class AAAA playoff bid in three seasons could come to a head in a critical matchup next weekend against Haverford — the Fords stayed unbeaten in league play Friday night with their seventh consecutive win — Ridley (6-2, 4-2) couldn’t afford to have Penncrest (2-6, 2-4) play spoiler.

“We have a big chip on our shoulder,” said Young, the younger brother of 2014 Ridley graduate Malcolm Strand-Young, a standout for the Green Raiders. “We just tried to make a big statement.”

Young helped do just that on Ridley’s first possession of the game when he amassed 66 yards on four carries, scoring from 19 yards out.

Just 28 seconds later, he punched in a 3-yard scoring run after Christian Dunn ripped the football from Lions running back Zack Kaut’s clutches and returned it just shy of the end zone.

Statement made.

“(Kaut) was running straight up, so I went to go rip the ball and see what happened,” said Dunn, a senior linebacker. “Luckily I got it. … My team was more hyper when I came back to the sideline (after that play) then before the game, so I’m thinking that got us a little more into the game.”

The Raiders went on to score 26 points before halftime, all on Young’s four end-zone trips, and coasted with its contingent of second- and third-teamers for much of the game’s final 24 minutes.

Junior quarterback Cade Stratton hit on 8 of 11 passes for 148 yards, while Tom Reilly’s interception of Lions quarterback Manny Ruffin in the back of the end zone with less than a minute remaining before halftime kept Penncrest from gaining any sort of momentum going forward.

“They’re a beatable team,” Lions coach Rick Stroup said of Ridley, “(but) I think they’re a good team. They set the tempo early on. That’s what we wanted to do, but they did a very good job doing that.”

“The kids fought hard,” he added of his team. “They stayed in the game. They could’ve quit early and they didn’t. … We just have to keep our heads up and keep playing.”

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