Ridgway Stays Unbeaten while Handing Clarion First Loss
(Photo of Gabe Watts of Ridgway, who scored two touchdowns in the Elkers win over Clarion Friday. Photo by Kyle Yates www.facebook.com/YatesPhoto)
And that team was Ridgway, as the Elkers took advantage of good early field position and some critical Clarion errors to take control of the D9 League Large School Division with a 28-15 win that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate.
Ridgway (7-0) led 21-0 until a late first-half touchdown got Clarion back in the game at 21-8, and then the Elkers scored on their first drive of the second half to make it 28-8, which is where the score stood until a late-game touchdown by the Bobcats (6-1) made it appear closer.
Neither teams did a ton offensively with Clarion actually outgaining Ridgway 228 to 221, but the Elkers were able to intercept Clarion quarterback Archer Mills twice while also taking advantage of some additional Bobcat miscues to claim the win.
Daunte Allegretto, who played a key role in the defensive effort, discussed the win after being named Ridgway’s Hager Paving Player of the Game.
The news perhaps wasn’t all great for Ridgway, as the Elkers lost their best defensive player and a key cog on their offense – Evan Furlong – midway through the game with an apparent arm injury. After the game, Furlong’s right arm was in a sling.
Prior to the injury, the senior had scored two of Ridgway’s touchdowns finding paydirt on a 1-yard run and on a 10-yard pass from Paul Gresco.
The 1-yard score opened the scoring and was set up by two things.
First, Ridgway was able to pin Clarion at its own 2-yard line with a great punt, and when the Bobcats couldn’t pick up a first down Ridgway took back over inside midfield.
Then Clarion committed three straight penalties – a personal foul and two offsides that resulted in 25 free yards for the Elkers that put them into the red zone setting up the dive by Furlong.
Ridgway made it 13-0 38 seconds into the second quarter when Gabe Watts, the running quarterback in the two-QB rotation used by the Elkers, squirmed his way into the end zone from 14 yards out.
Then, with 4:52 to play in the first half, the game looked like it was going to become a rout when Furlong scored on the short pass from Gresco to make it 21-0.
The touchdown was set up by the first of the Elkers two picks that gave them the ball just inside midfield.
But Clarion answered right back when Logan Minich scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 3-yard run, and Mills hit Minich with the 2-point conversion to give the Bobcats life going into halftime down just 13.
Any thought of a Clarion comeback was quickly squashed at the start of the second half when Ridgway took the opening kickoff a drove down the field aided by a 40-yard Gresco to Jake Wickett pass that set up a 4-yard Watts scoring run to make it 28-8.
The score stayed that way until 1:25 was left when Logan Minich caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cal German.
Ridgway’s offense was spread out with Cole Secco leading the way with seven carries for 53 yards and three catches for five. Furlong had nine totes for 30 yards and the touchdown and one catch for 10 yards and the score before exiting, while Watts had 10 carries for 39 yards and two touchdowns. Wickett added seven carries for 40 yards and one catch for 40 yards. Gresco went 6 of 12 passing for 55 yards and the touchdown.
Logan Minich had 14 carries for 37 yards and the touchdown and five catches for 20 yards and the score. His twin brother, Sam Minich, added eight catches for 102 yards and ran seven times for 15 yards. Mills went 14 of 23 passing for 132 yards and the two picks while rushing four times for 30 yards.
Clarion is back in action at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at Bradford, while Ridgway returns to the field at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, when it hosts Karns City in Ridgway.
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