Football Preview: Kingsborough, Ridley are busily getting up to speed

RIDLEY TWP. — As a junior, Gavin Kingsborough had a breakout season for the Green Raiders in 2019.

Kingsborough was a bright spot on a young team that won seven games, but lost four of its final five decisions and wiped out in the first round of the District 1 Class 6A postseason.

A versatile player who lines up at running back, linebacker and punter, Kingsborough will be relied upon to make things happen in all three phases of the game for the 2020 edition of the Green Raiders, who open their truncated, league-only schedule Friday night when they travel to Conestoga.

Kingsborough is coming off a season in which he led the Green Raiders in receiving yardage (316) and touchdown catches (four). His yards-per-catch average (31.6) was best among Delaware County receivers with at least 10 receptions. In the rushing game, Kingsborough accrued 430 yards and a pair of TDs.

“I’m just glad we’re having a season. It’s only five games, but anything that we can get is good,” he said. “I just always want to be available. If coach needs me to go out there, I just go out and play.”

Although the Green Raiders are adjusting to a new quarterback (senior Shaun Kennedy was among the candidates as of last week), a new offensive line with the exception of one returnee, and a bunch of new skill players not named Gavin Kingsborough, their strength lies on defense. The unit’s eight returning starters are all seniors: :inemen Bobby Thompson and Nick Falcuci; linebackers Kingsborough, Nake Desmond, Nick Becker and Blaise Harris; and defensive backs Jack Wills and Owen Bosak.

“I do think our defense, especially that front six or seven, is going to be the biggest part of our team, which I think it has been for the last couple of years,” Desmond said. “It’s the biggest part of our team and we’re all going to have to play well if we want to succeed this year.”

“I think we have everything we need to have a good defense,” Becker said.

The biggest question mark going into Friday is the offensive line. Desmond, once a tight end on offense, shifts to the offensive line as matter of necessity. Victor Ninson is the unit’s only returning starter.

“A lot of the guys coming up from JV have experienced a lot of our plays that we run,” Ninson said. “We have a new offense … and it’s not that hard. The coaches made more simple for us linemen to understand our positions and how to run our positions and plays.

“It was tough to prepare for this season, especially for the linemen. You didn’t even know what was going to happen. One week we’ll have practice and the next week we hear we’re not going to have football. … But the most important thing that we did was we all stayed connected during the quarantine, we all worked out at home. I knew I needed to stay in shape and stay ready no matter what.”

Ridley is part of the Central League’s Class 6A division. The Green Raiders are in the same division with Conestoga, Garnet Valley, Haverford, Lower Merion and Upper Darby. The ultimate goal for Ridley is to play for a Central League championship against the No. 1 team in the Class 5A division on the final weekend of the regular season.

“You don’t really have time to lose,” Desmond said. “In a 10-game season, (if) you lose a game, that’s cool, we can make it up. But now if you lose a game your season could be finished. I mean, it’s going to be a close race with five games. … You don’t have time to make mistakes. You’ve got to come out, you’ve got to be clean and almost perfect.”

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