Coming into the showdown of the top two teams in the North Jersey Public Top 20, Ridgewood was a banged up squad. Four starters were out of the lineup, including two running backs, and the Maroons lost their quarterback to injury in the second quarter.
What they never lost was their resolve, their determination and their grit. Despite the adversity, the Maroons displayed the perfect ‘next man up’ mantra, finding a way to make the big play at the crucial moment.
With a 12-7 defeat of top-ranked Passaic Tech, Ridgewood took out its second top-ranked team in three games (Clifton two weeks ago) and should ascend to the top spot in the next poll. How long they stay there may depend on a continuation of that resolve and will to win.
In a game where defense was front and center, both teams dominated each other’s offense, with Passaic Tech recording five first half sacks and Ridgewood picking up three sacks of its own.
The Maroons scored the only points of the first half on a short 37-yard drive aided by two Passaic Tech penalties for 25 yards. The score came on a 10-yard pass from Jack Foerch to tight end Brendan Chanley for 10 yards on one play after a third down pass interference penalty extended the possession.
That score held up through a first half that saw the teams combine for a meager 49 total yards before Ridgewood got a 46-yard pass from backup quarterback Jay Wittmaack to Chanley, setting up a Matt Schwindt 24-yard field goal with 52 seconds left in the third quarter.
Cashmere Jones then returned the kickoff 48 yards to ignite the lone Bulldog score, a 13-yard Jones run off left tackle that cut the Maroon lead to 10-7.
A Jack Schultz punt was downed at the Passaic Tech 1-yard line, and on first down Jones was dragged down in the end zone by Owen Staunton and Max Messineo, making it 12-7 with 8:13 left in the game. Ridgewood ate up five minutes off the kickoff and Preston Stott’s interception with 1:55 left sealed the game for the Maroons.
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