Ridgeley Rams D2 Super Bowl Champs, D1 finishes second
RIDGELEY - It was a double dose of Black and Blue versus Red and White at Cumberland’s Greenway Avenue Stadium last Sunday. In a clash of two of the Cumberland Area Youth Football League’s longest and most-storied programs, the Ridgeley Rams and Hartley’s Pizza/Personal Best/Ledo’s Pizza Patriots did battle in both the Division 2 and Division 1 Super Bowls.
The end result? A split decision. The Rams defeated the Patriots 14-6 to claim the D2 Super Bowl Championship, but fell to the Patriots 30-0 in the D1 title game.
After a bit of a back and forth battle throughout much of the first and second quarters of the D2 game, it was actually the Patriots that drew first blood. With 6:34 remaining in the second frame, the Patriots’ Jake Rice plowed through the middle of the line for the game’s first touchdown. With the extra point kick no good, the Patriots held an early 6-0 lead.
The two teams would go to the locker rooms at halftime with Patriots holding the one-touchdown advantage. The second half, however, on the scoreboard at least, would be all Ridgeley.
On the second play from scrimmage after the break, Ridgeley’s Cole Shanholtz took the handoff up the middle bounced left to the outside, and outraced the Patriots’ defenders to the end zone. The extra point try was no good and the game was tied 6-6 less than one minute into the second half.
The pivotal play of the game came at the 1:48 mark of the third quarter. With the Patriots facing a third and six from the Rams’ eight-yard line, Ridgeley’s Peyton Brittingham intercepted a Patriots’ pass at the goal line and ran the ball out to the 15-yard line. Not only did Brittingham’s play halt a potential scoring drive for his opponent, it also served as a huge momentum shifter.
The deciding score came with 8:17 remaining in the game. Gunnar Bradshaw took the direct snap, cut inside, bounced outside to the right, and with the help of a few key blocks, took the ball 55 yards to the end zone for Ridgeley. Cole Shanholtz converted a two-point conversion kick to give Ridgeley the 14-6 advantage for good.
“We knew we could do it if we just stayed focused on the task at hand. Brittingham’s interception was really the turnaround of the whole game. From there on out, we just controlled the clock, moved the ball downfield, stayed with our blocks, and tried to punch one in, and that’s what happened,” Rams D2 coach John Crock stated.
According to Crock, “These kids were very coachable, very respectful, probably some of the best 15 kids I’ve ever had. Normally, if you want to win something like this, it takes 20-25 kids. These 15 kids really stepped up this year and played great ball.”
Unfortunately for Ridgeley, the Division 1 contest belonged to the Patriots by a final tally of 30-0. The Patriots raced out to a 16-0 advantage on the strength of two touchdowns by Noah House. The Red and White then tacked on an additional two touchdowns in the second half, one from Chase Lamb and the other from Carson Bender. Patriots kicker Bobby Brauer converted three of four two-point kicks to bring the final score to 30-0 in favor of the Patriots.
Both Bender and Lamb rushed for over 100 yards in the contest for the Patriots, also scoring one touchdown each. Noah House scored two touchdowns for the Red and White.
The Patriots ended the season with a perfect 9-0 record.
“It was a tough, physical game. They played well and executed their game plan and we did not,” Rams D1 head coach Duke Lantz stated. “We couldn't get anything going early and fell behind, and playing from behind isn't where we want to be. We had a great season but just came up short in the end.
Despite the loss in the title game, the Rams D1 squad had much to be proud of. First and foremost, they never quit battling even when the chips were down. Second, the season overall was a great success as outside of the Patriots, the Rams dominated their season competition.