WEST LAFAYETTE The biggest match-up of the season to date for both teams was the biggest dud of the season to date. At least for the Division VI, No. 1 ranked team in the state anyway.
Ridgewood made no doubt as to who the team to beat in the Inter-Valley Conference is with a 41-20 shellacking of the Malvern on Friday in a game that wasnt as close as the score might indicate.
The win gave the Generals a 5-0 record on the season including 2-0 in the IVC. It also marked the teams 26th straight regular season win.
The Orange and Black dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. On offense, they racked up 452 yards of offense, including 379 on the ground. Trent Lingo had a massive game with 181 yards on 18 carries, but there was plenty of other support from a number of areas.
On defense, the Generals gave up 322 yards with most coming through the air thanks to the Hornets talented senior QB, Shawn Ball. Ball, a 6-1, 210 pound four-year starter who began his career at Conotton Valley, went 10-for-19 with one TD and one interception (by Lenard Davidson) and was hurried or stuffed most of the game. To his credit, Ball had several balls dropped by receivers but whos to say it wasnt the intimidation of the hard-hitting Ridgewood secondary to cause them?
Ball started hot on Malverns first possession, hitting two passes for 41 yards. But a short run, two incompletions and a six-yard sack ended the drive on the Ridgewood 31 yard line.
The Generals used nine plays, including a 48-yard Chris Saylor to Davidson pass and a 17-yard Saylor bootleg run, to go up 7-0 with 4:30 to play in the first. The score itself came courtesy of a one-yard run by Lingo and Brian McElhaney PAT, his first of five on the night.
Two punts later, Davidson got his pick when the ball bounced off Travis Tuccis face mask. The Ridgewood offense quickly capitalized as Saylor ran another bootleg that sent most of the Malvern defense one way while he ran 34 yards the opposite way. The score stood 14-0 with 10:11 to go in the second quarter.
Malvern was held on downs but thought things might be looking up after a booming 69-yard punt that pinned the Generals on their own five. But Lingo cut loose on a 62-yard burst and followed it with a 10-yard dash into the end zone for a 20-0 General lead with 5:29 to play in the half. The extra point was blocked.
Malvern got on the scoreboard with an eight-play drive that ended with a 28-yard TD pass from Ball to Travis Tucci. The two-point conversion failed and the halftime score stood 20-6.
The Generals, who scored on six of their nine possessions, immediately started the second half with a touchdown. The 67-yard drive ended with Jake Ziegler going over from the two-yard line, making it 27-6.
Ziegler would score again on another two-yarder with Ridgewoods next possession to give his team a 34-6 advantage. The nine-yard, 75 yard drive was all on the ground, as the Generals racked up a huge time of possession advantage in the game.
Malvern responded quickly as Ball hit Tucci with an 82-yard strike and followed it with his own four-yard run into the end zone, making it 33-13 with 1:15 to go in the third frame.
The Generals ran off seven straight running plays on their next drive to set up a perfect play-action fake that allowed Saylor to hit a wide-open McElhaney for a 25-yard score. That put Ridgewood up 41-13 with 10:12 to go in the game.
Malvern (4-1, 1-1 IVC) got one more score, a 14-yard Ball run with 6:05 left in the game, for the final score. Ball ended up with 45 ground yards in addition to his 221 passing. Tucci had five receptions for 172 yards.
Saylor was 2-for-4 passing for 73 yards and also ran for 65. Ziegler carried for 61 stripes.
The win marks the Generals eighth in their last nine tries against Malvern.
Ridgewood travels to Sandy Valley next Friday with kickoff at 7 p.m.
Malvern 6 0 7 7 20
Ridgewood 20 0 14 7 - 41