It took two overtimes, but the football team made sure its fans went home happy on homecoming Friday night, defeating Linden 27-21 at Lee Field.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT 2OT FINAL Linden (2-5) 0 7 0 7 7 0 21 Ridge (2-5) 0 14 0 0 7 6 27
In one of the most exciting games of the season, Ridge played strong on both sides of the ball from the opening kickoff through both overtimes. Ridge drew first blood on a run from JD Moore.
With just 1:52 left in the first half, Linden got on the board, tying the score at 14. On the ensuing kickoff, JD Moore took the return 80 yards to the Linden 17-yard line. Ridge pounded the ball to within inches of the end zone on runs from Evan Skea and JD Moore. And that is when Rob Mullaney carried the ball up the middle to score Ridge's second TD.
At 1:20 in the 3rd quarter, Linden had a field goal opportunity that went wrong and the desperation passing attempt failed.
Both sides held strong until 2:33 in the fourth when Linden knotted the score at 14. Time ran out in regulation and the game went into overtime.
Overtime in NJ high school football is played with each team getting the ball on the 25-yard line. They play a regulation series of downs and play back and forth until the one team comes out on top. Officially, this only was counted as one overtime.
Linden had the ball first and scored easily on the first play from scrimmage. Ridge fought its way up the field and scored when quarterback Conor Hughes tossed a short pass out to the right to Ryan Bell.
Ridge took its second turn next and Hughes passed to Mike Hilss on the right for the touchdown to go up 27-21. But Ridge kicker Johnny Graves had his extra point blocked, keeping the score at 27-21.
That left the door open for Linden and they made every effort on the ground and in the air, but Ridge would stop them and drove them back, eventually stopping them short of the goal line to win the game.
DEVIL OF THE GAME
JD Moore, Halfback, defensive halfback–Moore was all over the field on defense and offense. Moore's 80-yard kickoff return was key to the go ahead touchdown in the second quarter.
"What a night he had, that kid is absolutely amazing. I think he weighs 150 pounds and he is the biggest kid on the field. It is unbelievable how tough he is."-Ridge head coach Bill Tracy
DEVIL KEY PERFORMERS
RUSHING–JD Moore (12 carries for 67 yards, 1 reception, 80 and 10 yard kickoff returns and a TD); Evan Skea (18 carries for 63 yards); Rob Mullaney (7 carries for 27 yards and a TD)
PASSING–Conor Hughes (5 of 9 for 66 yards and 2 TDs)
RECEIVING–Ryan Bell (2 receptions for 33 yard and a TD); Mike Hilss (1 reception for 18 yards and a TD, 4 carries for 15 yards rushing)
"These kids are so resilient. They are unbelievable. With what they have been through this season, they just come out every day, working, great attitudes, picking each other up, having fun. And we were due. We put it all together for four quarters and the overtime. I am really proud of them and happy for them. They needed it and they deserved it and they earned it. Linden has a great team. No. 2 (Ruhann Peele) is a heck of a player. He will make us proud at Rutgers. They (Linden) are well coached. My hat goes off to them. I hate to see someone go down in double overtime; that's tough."-Head coach Bill Tracy
THEY SAID IT
"That was the funnest game I ever played in my life. I am so happy right now. That was just a great game"–Mike Hilss
"It is good to be back. I'm feeling a little sore, but feeling really good. It feels great to be back on the field."–Evan Skea
Up Next–Bridgewater hosts Ridge at Basilone Field at Bridgewater High School next Friday night, 6 p.m.