Welcome back. Stay tuned for updates for the upcoming season
See you on the field
Welcome back. Stay tuned for updates for the upcoming season
See you on the field
THE 4th ANNUAL RIDGEWOOD HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION GOLF OUTING
(click on title bar “2014 Alumni Golf Outing” for registration and credit card payments)
Monday, June 23, 2014 at the High Mountain Golf Club
18 Holes of Golf with Cart Full Buffet Lunch
Soda and Beer on the Course Dinner with Soda, Beer, and Wine
Golf Awards, Raffle, Prizes
Schedule of Events:
11:30 am Lunch
1:00 pm Golf-Shotgun Start
5:30 pm Cocktails
6:30 pm Dinner with Raffle and Auction
Paramus Bows out of Annual Turkey Bowl Rivalry Game!
Thanksgiving Day will mark the end of an era and a longstanding tradition for the Ridgewood & Paramus High School football teams. Next Thursday’s annual rivalry game and fan favorite will be the last one Ridgewood & Paramus will be playing on Turkey Day. The move is prompted by concern over the effect of the Thanksgiving Day games on teams trying to win a state championship.
This year’s game is a perfect example; both teams enter the game with nothing to gain and plenty to lose after earning births into their group state championships on December 7th. “If your ultimate goal is to win a state championship and you play deep into the playoffs, you face the ‘if’ factor with the Thanksgiving Day game,” Coach Dan Sabella said. “And that affects the quality and caliber of that game if you decide to rest the starters and go with the backup players. “The way the format is now and with the extra playoff rounds, it kind of forces you to get out of the Thanksgiving Day game. Ninety percent of the state teams have already gotten away from Thanksgiving Day games and we’ve been in the minority here,” he said.
Sabella explained that the whole school got involved in the decision, from the athletic director, to the principal to the superintendent, to the Board of Education. He noted that Paramus will continue to play Ridgewood in a regular season game.
In 1984, Paramus began a new Thanksgiving Day series with Ridgewood that lasted five years, which after a 10-year hiatus, was resumed in 1999. Ridgewood has dominated the series, winning 16 of the 19 games played to date.
BY JIM MCCONVILLE
RIDGEWOOD – It has been an incredible season already for the Ridgewood football team’s offense. It is averaging 51 points a game and has scored at least 41 points in each of its nine wins this season.
So prolific has its efforts been that it has overshadowed the Maroons’ defense, which will be front and center come Friday when the Maroons try to corral the one player who has given them fits the last two seasons.
Ridgewood takes on Passaic Tech in a rematch of a regular season game two weeks ago, one that went the way of the Maroons, 41-18. In that outing, Thomas Jefferson ran for 140 yards in just under three quarters before leaving the game with ankle soreness.
It was the third straight game of more than 100 yards against Ridgewood for Jefferson, who will be looking to extend that streak and finally push his team to a win against the Maroons, who have beat the Bulldogs three straight.
Standing in his way will be a Ridgewood defensive front seven that has been exceptional. Leading the way is inside linebacker Eric Lewis, who has 109 tackles, including 43 solos, 22½ for loss and seven sacks. Talk to Lewis and he’ll be the first to say that his exploits have not been accomplished without help.
“I owe all these tackles to my teammates,” Lewis, a senior, said. “These guys have been taking on blockers for me and giving me the freedom to be able to make the stop.”
Lewis cited his fellow inside linebacker, senior Owen Smith, saying that, “he’s the reason I can take some chances on blitzes and rushes. He’s always got my back.” cadences. Against East Orange last week, they had the Jaguars’ cadence down by the second quarter and it helped Lewis time his blitzes and pick up two sacks.
Ridgewood’s 3-4 defense is designed to funnel everything back inside, which puts pressure on the outside linebackers, senior Anthony Merejo and junior Anthony
“We have to do our job and that doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet,” Merejo said. “That’s why we take pride in Eric’s numbers. His success is all of our success.”
The front three have also played a role on a defense that has allowed an average of 55 yards in the first halves of games this year. Nose tackle Paul Mallalieu and defensive tackles Aaron Martinez, Sukmin Yoon and Alec Hurley have had strong campaigns.
“We pick each other up,” Yoon said. The senior, who has three sacks and 8½ tackles for loss added, “It’s never about one guy; it’s always about the defense as a unit. We’ve played together for the last two years and now it’s like we know exactly what each of us is doing.”
- The Maroons will need a maximum effort from Lewis and company if they are going to reach a championship game for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 2003-04.
“This is the time of year that defense wins games,” Ridgewood head coach Chuck Johnson said. “Whether it is making that play when it counts the most or giving the offense field position, our fate will be tied to their success.”
Members of the 2003 Ridgewood High School North 1, Group 4 State-Championship football team gather on the field of RHS Stadium at halftime during Friday October 25th game against Fair Lawn. Hosted by the RHS Football Scholarship Committee to a pre-game tailgate party and recognition ceremony to honor the 10th anniversary of winning the state title.
BY JIM MCCONVILLE
On Friday night, the 2003 Ridgewood High School state-championship football team was honored at halftime of the Maroons’ game versus Fair Lawn. It also was an opportunity for those title holders to catch a glimpse of this year’s group, one that has drawn a lot of comparisons to their predecessors.
Glimpse is probably the right word, because if they got held up at the pre-game tailgate party, they probably missed the first team’s performance. Once again, Ridgewood made quick work of an opponent and took the second half off.
This time, it was Fair Lawn, with the Maroons scoring all eight times they had the ball on the way to a 53-6 lead at the intermission. That would also be the final score, as Ridgewood went with its second team after the break.
Now 6-0, they travel to Clifton tonight with a pretty clear picture of what they need to do in the North 1, Group 5 state-playoff bracket. Last week’s win guaranteed Ridgewood a spot in the playoffs, but just getting there isn’t going to satisfy this team.
The Maroons are presently fourth in the power-point table with a game in hand over No. 2 Passaic Tech (7-0) and No. 3 West Orange (6-1). Montclair (6-0) is on top of the heap and has also played only six games.
The Mounties play West Orange this weekend, and if Ridgewood holds any hope of getting the top seed in the section, it will need to have the Mountaineers knock off Montclair. The Maroons must also win this week and then defeat Passaic Tech next week if they want to attain one of the top two spots, which would guarantee them home games in the first two rounds.
Clifton has always proven to be a thorn in Ridgewood’s side, especially late in the season. Close losses to the Mustangs were partly responsible for knocking RHS out of the postseason in 2006 and 2011, and you can bet that the team wants no part of any Mustang resurgence this year.
“We have to keep our focus on the prize,” Ridgewood head coach Chuck Johnson said. “That means that we have to take care of business every week. This week, it’s Clifton.”
The idea that Ridgewood would slack off against a lesser opponent certainly wasn’t on display against Fair Lawn. The offense was as crisp as the fall weather, and quarterback Jamal Locke showed off his long ball on the run. Three times off “waggle” plays he went deep, throwing on the move and hitting his target all three times.
The first went for 57 yards to tight end Connor Van Caugherty, setting up the first of Jake Sabatini’s three touchdown runs (7, 5, 32 yards). The second was a 46-yarder to Doug Barnes that preceded the second of Tim Bonanno’s four touchdowns, a 17-yarder. The others were a pair of three-yard dashes and a 10-yard scamper. Bonanno rushed for 82 yards on nine carries, and Sabatini picked up 55 yards in five attempts.
The final Locke aerial was a 52-yarder where he threw across his body going left and found Van Caugherty again. That led to a Sabatini score and a 27-0 lead after one quarter. Locke was 3-for-5 passing for 155 yards and ran twice for 46 yards.
It was 33-0 after a Cooper Telesco seven-yard touchdown run when Fair Lawn became only the second team this season to score on the Ridgewood first-team defense. A defensive coverage was blown, and Tom Koike took a Dillon Romaine pass 57 yards for a TD.
“We practiced that particular play 2-3 times a day this week,” Johnson said. “We bit on the run and got burned.”
It was the only hiccup in an otherwise strong defensive half. Ridgewood forced five straight three-and-outs to start the game, one of them a third-down interception by linebacker Anthony Hroncich. The Maroons added two more after the touchdown.
If there were any negatives from the game, besides the Cutter touchdown, it would probably be on special teams. The kickoff coverage allowed returns of 27, 30 and 34 yards, and that is an area that will need to get cleaned up a bit beginning this weekend.
“Field position is always important, and we’re giving a lot away on kickoffs,” Johnson said. “We’ll have to reassess the guys out there and see if there needs to be some changes made.”
The extra-point group also had some blips, with the first kick being blocked on a middle rush and two others going wide right. Some of the issue could be the change at holder, as Jonathan Davila stepped in for Locke.
“Teams were running Jason,” said Johnson. “I don’t need my quarterback getting taken out on an extra point. Jon is a very good holder. With the short week last week, we didn’t get enough work in on the extra-point team. We’ll be better this week.”
Ridgewood did get a lift from the addition to the active lineup of two players, one from injury and one from transfer.
Co-captain Jack Foresman made his long-awaited season debut after missing the first five games with a collarbone injury. He ran for 64 yards on eight carries from the fullback spot and also got some action in at inside linebacker, where he should figure more prominently in second- and third-and-long situations.
The other new face is junior Joe Mayer, who moved into town about three weeks ago from Glen Rock. A wide receiver and safety, he participated on the kickoff team and saw some action in the defensive backfield in the second half, coming up with two tackles.
“We came out healthy [last week],” Johnson said. “Now we’ve got some depth at fullback and linebacker [with Foresman]. I thought our tempo on offense was much better in the second quarter. We looked more efficient in getting plays off quickly. That’s something we need to continue to improve upon.”
BY JIM MCCONVILLE
EAST ORANGE — It is going to be a special night for the Ridgewood High School football team tonight when the Maroons take on Fair Lawn. Not only will Ridgewood be looking to get to 6-0 on the season, it will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 2003 North 1, Group 4 state-championship team.
Some 35 to 40 players from that team will be descending upon the RHS Stadium field for a halftime ceremony. While accepting the accolades of the present day fans, they will also get a chance to look at this year’s team, one that has drawn plenty of comparisons to that 2003 unit.
It will be a very difficult night for Fair Lawn, which comes into the game at 0-5 and was routed by Passaic Tech last weekend, 60-0. The Cutters would appear to be equally overmatched against the Maroons, who continued to be an offensive machine with a 53-0 destruction of East Orange last Saturday.
When Ridgewood head coach Chuck Johnson was looking for a team to fill the schedule void created when Paramus Catholic took on an out-of-state game, he was looking to find a school that would give his team a taste of November football.
The Jaguars were available, and Johnson looked at it as a chance to travel to Essex County for a game. It may seem trivial, but Essex County has been a place of horrors for Ridgewood, with Essex teams having eliminated the Maroons from the playoffs the last five times.
They also played a style that would more closely resemble the kind of offense that Ridgewood was likely to see in the postseason. What Johnson didn’t expect was that his team would blow out East Orange with the ease it did. As has been the case all season long, the Maroons started fast and never let up. They scored on their first four possessions, as each member of the starting backfield found the end zone.
It began with Tim Bonanno scoring from four yards out. After a three-and-out for the Jaguars, Maroon quarterback Jamal Locke went 62 yards on the first play for a score. That was followed by a 10-yard TD run by Jake Sabatini and a 14-yarder by Cooper Telesco.
“We’ve got so many weapons,” Johnson said, “and Cooper has been such a compliment to the other three, and Connor [Van Caugherty] gives us such a great downfield dimension. He catches everything.”
Van Caugherty showed off those hands in the second quarter. After Sabatini got his second touchdown on a one-yard dash, Ridgewood was looking at a 2nd-and-19 on the East Orange 26-yard line. Locke rolled right and sent a floater toward the back of the end zone. Van Caugherty, a first baseman/right fielder in the spring for the Maroons, treated it like a pop fly behind first base, reaching out and stabbing the ball while leaning past a defender. The score made it 40-0 at halftime.
Telesco got his second TD in the third quarter on a six-yard run before backup quarterback Matt Donovan closed the scoring in the final quarter with a 52-yard scamper off a 4th-and-11 scramble, the first varsity touchdown for the junior.
Donovan also had to step in on defense right away at cornerback after Jonathan Davila was shaken up on the opening kickoff. Davila did not return to the game out of precaution, and Donovan more than held his own in the secondary, breaking up one pass.
“We knew he could play,” Johnson said of Donovan. “He was able to get his feet wet in a game here, and you could see his confidence in coverage as well as run support.”
The Maroons put up another set of impressive offensive numbers, including 363 yards on the ground and 66 through the air. Telesco had his first 100-yard rushing game, lugging the ball 11 times to hit the century mark right on the nose. Locke had 85 on five runs; Sabatini was 7-for-64 and Bonanno 9-for-49. The backfield members and Johnson alike all gave plenty of credit to the offensive line for their work. Center Andrew Moras, guards Juan Fernandez and Austin Purritano and tackles Mike Antosiewicz and Dan Hurley have paved the way for an average of 339 rushing yards a game.
Antosiewicz, Purritano and Hurley all started last year, while Fernandez got a couple of starts for injured players. The new varsity starter is Moras, who has stepped in admirably and has not had a bad snap all season.
“He’s a bull, and this is really only his second year playing,” Johnson noted about Moras. “He broke his arm as a freshman, and it didn’t heal right, so the doctors had to re-break it his sophomore year. Last year was his first full season, and he’s just getting better and better.”
Inside linebacker Eric Lewis continued to create havoc on defense, getting in on 11 tackles with three for losses and two quarterback sacks. Lineman Aaron Martinez also had a strong game with nine tackles, a half-sack and a forced fumble. Strong safety Oliver Sippel had his second interception of the season to set up Sabatini’s first-period touchdown.
Ridgewood now continues its quest for the top seed in the North 1, Group 5 state playoffs. Tonight’s game with Fair Lawn as well as next week’s game in Clifton is important from the perspective that, if the Maroons want two home games in the playoffs, they have to win them both. They will be heavy favorites in both contests, and they must remain focused on the task.
“Work hard, don’t look down to an opponent,” Locke said when asked how the Maroons stay sharp. “Every team is marking their game with us on the calendar, so we have to keep doing what we’re doing.”
The Maroons next square off against the Cutters of Fair Lawn on Friday 10/25 at 7:00pm on Stadium Field at RHS.
Taken from article by JIM MCCONVILLE
Jamal Locke had been somewhat quiet through the first three games. The senior quarterback let his teammates do the majority of the running, but Friday night he showed why Ridgewood could be one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the state.
He needed only six carries to record 199 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the Maroons scored five times in the second quarter on the way to a 49-0 defeat of Passaic at Boverini Stadium.
Ridgewood, coming off a bye, had a slow start, losing fumbles on offense and a punt return in the first quarter. Still, the Maroons had a 7-0 lead thanks to a 48-yard Locke scamper. The Maroons then scored on all five possessions in the second quarter, including TD runs of 72 and 55 yards by Locke.
“He just runs away from people,” Ridgewood coach Chuck Johnson said of Locke. “Passaic has some athletes out there, but he made them look like they were standing still.”
Locke not only outran them but proved elusive in the open field, juking defensive backs on both of his second-quarter scores before turning on the speed.
“Tim [Bonanno] made the key block [on the 72-yard touchdown] that got me outside,” Locke said. “This was all about the guys making the blocks that got me into open space.”
While the offense was ripping off big chunks of yardage (345 yards on 21 first-half plays), Ridgewood’s defense was as stingy as ever. It allowed only 35 total yards and two first downs as Passaic (1-4) went three-and-out six times.
Eric Lewis had 10 tackles, five for loss, and a pass breakup in his one half of play, and Ridgewood (4-0) forced losses on 13 of the Indians’ 39 offensive plays.
Bryce Joyner had his fourth interception of the season for the Maroons.
“He is so quick,” Johnson said of Lewis, his senior inside linebacker, who recently committed to Trinity.
“His anticipation of the snap and that initial burst and he’s in the backfield before the blocker can react.”
Locke also showed off his arm on a nice 33-yard touchdown pass to Bonanno that made it 21-0 in the second quarter. Running to his left, the righty threw across his body and lofted the ball over the defensive back and hit Bonanno in stride in the end zone.
Cooper Telesco (six carries, 95 yards) had a pair of rushing touchdowns and Jake Sabatini had the other Ridgewood score as the Maroons ran for 468 yards on the night and outgained Passaic 508-31 overall.
(excerpt taken from NJ.com article)
Just how important is it for the Ridgewood High School football team to have a quality passing game? The answer to that question was never more evident than last Friday night against Hackensack. Their Wing-T offense is as prolific a running attack as there is in North Jersey. Year in and year out, they rip off major chunks of real estate, but when they need to stretch the field, there isn’t a passing game to get it done. You need only to go back to that last championship team in 2004 to see how important the passing game is. Chuck Kaliades made defenses think twice about loading up in the box to stop the run, and Ridgewood emerged with the North 1, Group 4 state crown.
This year, Jamal Locke has improved his passing game by connecting with Connor Van Caugherty and Doug Barnes to form a downfield receiving corps. Check out these numbers – Locke is 7-for-10 passing for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter through three games. Five of those completions have gone for more than 25 yards. In fact, Van Caugherty’s play at tight end in the first two games forced Hackensack head coach Benjie Wimberly to devise a defensive scheme to keep him from beating his Comets (2-2). That alone tells you how important a passing game is. With Hackensack all over Van Caugherty, Barnes took advantage of sophomore and freshman cornerbacks to come up with 49 and 36 yard grabs. The first catch set up the initial touchdown of the game, and the second was a touchdown pass that put Ridgewood up, 14-0. That was the start of a 49-21 defeat of the Comets. Hackensack coach, Wimberly said, “We weren’t going to let [Van Caugherty] beat us, so we had him shadowed. They recognized it and made us pay for it.”
As a strategic twist, Ridgewood turned Van Caugherty into a blocker. That led to Tim Bonanno having a career day carrying the football. He racked up 188 yards on 11 runs, and his 17.1 average per rush marked the highest single-game average by a player with 10 or more carries in at least 20 years. The vast majority of that yardage came on the buck sweep right. Bonanno said, “We ran that play in the first half, and it just opened up. It wasn’t a big part of the game plan, but once we saw the success, we just kept going back to it.” What made it work was Van Caugherty coming off his tight end spot and blocking down on the inside linebacker. That left right guard Austin Purritano and right tackle Dan Hurley with basically a 2-on-1 block to spring Bonanno. “We turned a great receiver into a great blocker,” Wimberly said of Van Caugherty. Hackensack was forced to respect the pass and could not load up in the box to shut off the run. Ridgewood took full advantage of this and had 375 rushing yards and 454 total yards and continued to be a big-play offense.
The confidence the offense has shown in three games was really on display when Locke finally showed off his running skills when they needed it most. Locke was the catalyst the first two times, calling his own number on an option right for a 37-yard score and then taking a quarterback draw 49 yards for a second touchdown. “He just makes plays,” Ridgewood head coach Chuck Johnson said. “You watch him play, and you see what a great athlete he is.”
Hackensack closed within a touchdown on three occasions, only to see the Maroons answer right back. Hackensack scored off the second-half kickoff to get within 28-21, but from there on it was Bonanno’s show. He picked up 157 of his 188 yards in the second half, and his 75-yard scamper on the first play after the Comet score set up Jake Sabatini’s second touchdown of the game on a one-yard run and a 35-21 lead.
Those rebound scores left Hackensack a bit demoralized, and the Maroon defense paid the offense back for picking them up the rest of the way. They did it without defensive tackle Alec Hurley, who went out after the last play of the first quarter with a compound fracture and dislocation of the right ring finger. That changed the rotation up front and forced Sukmin Yoon and Aaron Martinez to play every snap. “I told Aaron that it was up to us,” Yoon said. “We had to step up our game and pick up the slack, and we couldn’t worry about getting tired.” Yoon certainly did, recording 11 tackles and two sacks (one solo and two shared), as Ridgewood totaled four sacks as a team. Hackensack did complete 15 passes for 162 yards, many of the short variety on crossing patterns. Outside linebacker Anthony Hroncich and inside linebacker Owen Smith both had 14 tackles, and inside linebacker Eric Lewis added 13, as the Comets ran off 66 offensive plays. Cornerback Bryce Joyner and free safety Mitch Campbell each had an interception.
In the fourth quarter, halfbacks Cooper Telesco, on a 12-yard run, and Tim Bonanno, on a two-yard dash, closed the scoring for Ridgewood. Ross Andrews converted all seven of his extra-point kicks. This win sent Ridgewood to 2-0 in the Big North Freedom Division heading into its bye week, with a chance to wrap up the league title next time out at Passaic on Oct. 11.
How good is this team?
That is a question that begs to be answered after the Maroons scored early and often for the second straight week. Ridgewood wasted little time, as Jonathan Davila’s 95-yard opening kickoff return touchdown sent the Maroons on the way to a 50-14 defeat of Eastside at Bauerle Field.
The first team offense and defense rolled to a 50-0 lead at the half before taking the rest of the evening off.
The offense has now scored on each of the 15 possessions they have played in the first two games while the first team defense has allowed a meager 31 yards in its two halves of play.
“Right now everything is clicking,” Maroon linebacker Eric Lewis said. “We’ve been really prepared for each game and executed at a high level.”
Lewis made 10 tackles, including six for loss, with a sack. Eastside (0-2) mustered only 16 yards of offense in the first half and their only first down came on an 11-yard scramble by quarterback Tahj Upshaw.
Cooper Telesco scored three touchdowns for Ridgewood (2-0), two on the ground and one on a pass from Jamal Locke.
Telesco, a sophomore, had 119 yards rushing on 12 carries as Ridgewood had 309 yards of offense in the first half.
Locke scored on a short run and was 4 of 5 passing for 82 yards and the touchdown. Tim Bonanno and Jake Sabatini each ran for scores as the Maroons racked up eight plays of 15 yards or more in the opening two quarters.
Senior brothers Connor and Paul McDade suffered serious knee injuries on the same kickoff, one where Ridgewood recovered a fumble. The injuries occurred within a few feet of each other.
Marlon Ebanks scored the two Eastside touchdowns, one on a 51-yard run and the other on an 18-yard pass from Upshaw late in the game