WEST LAFAYETTE -- A 15-yard touchdown run by Ridgewood's Alex Crosston with 41 seconds to play in the third quarter gave the host Generals a 27-21 victory over Buckeye Trail in a game that was twice delayed by lightning.
The touchdown capped a six-play, 46-yard drive that was set up by a two-yard punt following the second delay -- a 54-minute stoppage -- came in the midst of a Trail drive to halt the Warriors' momentum.
"That's a tough one," said Trail coach Dale Broomhall. "We had chances, but we didn't take advantage of them. There was no moral victory tonight. That's not what we are here for and we need to get beyond just being competitive.
"We have taken great strides, but we have to put up 'W's' and we had opportunities to do that but we didn't here tonight. "We had to take advantage of the breaks in the second half but we didn't get it done." added a disappointed Broomhall.
The Ridgewood defense still needed to make one stand in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
The Generals were up to the challenge after a pass that would have sealed the win was dropped by a host receiver who had snuck behind the Trail secondary on the previous possession.
With the Warriors marching down the field for a possible tying touchdown and potential game-winning point-after conversion, the General sacked Trail quarterback Morgan Dougherty on three consecutive plays combined with an illegal forward pass to end the threat.
After an 11-yard pass to Tyler Starr advanced Trail to the Ridgewood 38 yard-line, disaster struck on the ensuing play when Dougherty was dropped for a six yard loss. An ill-fated quarterback draw on the next play lost another six yards leaving Trail with third-and-22.
The Warriors called their final time-out with 3:01 to play to set up the third down play -- a sack that cost the visitors another 13 yards.
Faced with fourth-and-35, Dougherty tried to work some magic and found Pontius over the middle of the Ridgewood defense but the senior signal caller had stepped across the line of scrimmage and the penalty with a loss of down gave the ball to the Generals.
The hosts then ran out the clock.
Dougherty finished the night completing 9-of-16 pass attempts for 177 yards and two touchdown strikes. He also rushed for 37 yards on 16 carries despite the three consecutive plays for a loss.
"When he had time to throw, Morgan did a nice job but he didn't have time at the end," said Broomhall. "Tyler Starr also played well for us. We have to find a way to learn how to win the close games. We are just not there yet."
Starr finished the night with five receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown for the Warriors (0-1).
Travis Pontius also tallied a touchdown reception on a 25-yard pass from Dougherty. Bobby Sells added two catches for 34 yards.
Ridgewood (1-0) finished the night with 214 yards rushing on 45 carries and was paced by Zach Donley with 94 yards on 22 totes. Crosston added 66 yards on seven carries including the game-winning score.
General's quarterback Ryan Lowe completed 6-of-9 pass attempts for 125 yards and three TDs along with an interception by Trail's Troy Pontius.
Both teams lost one fumble recovered by Laken Bluck for Ridgewood and Starr for the Warriors.
The Warriors were whistled for seven penalties for 45 yards while the Generals committed three miscues for 20 yards.
In the opening half, the two teams traded blows with Ridgewood opening the scoring at the 4:43 mark of the first quarter on a 33-yard strike from Lowe to Bluck. Whitt added the point-after kick.
Buckeye Trail answered with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Dougherty to Starr. The point after was added by Tyler Faulk. The scoring drive was set up by a 45-yard kickoff return by Dougherty.
The Generals opened the second quarter with a three-yard touchdown pass from Lowe to Bluck. But, the point-after kick sailed wide, leaving the hosts with a 13-7 cushion.
After a miscue on a Trail punt attempt gave Ridgewood excellent starting position at the Trail 37-yard line, the Generals needed just four plays to score when Lowe threw his third TD pass to Billy Bailey.
Donley added a two-point conversion run to give the hosts a 21-7 lead with 9:12 to play in the half.
Trail answered with a Travis Pontius one-yard plunge to set the half-time score at 21-14.
Trail scored first in the second half on the 25-yard pass from Dougherty to Travis Pontius to knot the score at 21 before the second lightning delay hit with less than four minute to play in the third frame.
The first 30-minute lightning delay came just minutes before the scheduled start of the game.
NEXT--Ridgewood visits Waynedale on Friday at 7 p.m.