WEST LAFAYETTE -- Although it may not count in the league standings, Buckeye Trail received a not-so-friendly welcome into the Inter-Valley Conference by perennial power Ridgewood as the Generals pinned a 44-13 loss on the Warriors in a mutual season opener Saturday night.
Trail self-destructed from the outset, primarily with special teams breakdowns, and Ridgewood took full advantage to take control.
A bad snap sailed 30 yards over the Trail punter's head, setting the Generals up at the Warriors' 15-yard line and it took the hosts just four snaps to hit paydirt for the first time in 2017 when slick senior QB Kolton Alexander pushed across the goal line on a sneak.
Sure-footed junior kicker Keith Claxon added the PAT and Ridgewood was on top 7-0 at the 6:00 mark of the opening quarter.
A second faulty punt snap put more points up for RHS as the ball carried all the way to the end zone, this time some 25 yards back, with Trail's Zach Grafton forced to kneel for a safety which made it 9-0 with 5:22 remaining in round one.
Following the ensuing kick-off, Alexander hit senior Jarett Slusser for a 57-yard gainer and then connected with senior Zane Wright on a corner fade for another TD, with Claxon's point-after, widening the gap to 16-0 with 4:04 on the clock.
The next Ridgewood score followed yet another Trail punt team miscue, a five-yard shanked kick that set up the hosts at the Warriors' 37.
A bubble screen from Alexander to Wright soon followed, covering 33 yards to the end zone and Claxon again converted, pushing the Ridgewood lead to 23-0 with 6:07 left in the first half.
The Generals traveled 80 yards in the final 2:22 of the half to extend the margin to 30-0, with Alexander finding sophomore back Kaden Smith wide open on the back end of a 30-yard TD strike. Claxon followed with his fourth PAT.
With eight negative yardage plays, Trail had just 23 net yards at the intermission while Ridgewood had 221.
A 76-yard connection from Alexander to Wright kept things rolling for Ridgewood at the outset of the second half, with Claxon again converting for a 37-0 spread at the 10:11 mark of the third quarter.
Trail finally broke the ice after senior back Austin Snodgrass ripped off a 55-yard gainer to the RHS two-yard line, and on the next play as the Warriors were about to cross the goal line the ball was fumbled but sophomore Gage Reed alertly pounced on the loose pigskin for a TD.
The two-point pass was stopped short, but Trail was within 37-6 at the 9:06 mark.
Ridgewood got a 42-yard TD run from junior Andrew Getchey with 5:25 to play and Trail got the game's final tally on a two-yard run by back-up sophomore QB Isaac Hickman with 1:16 left. Junior Seth Hughes' PAT closed the scoring.
Alexander finished with a record-setting passing effort that included 270 yards and four TDs on 11-of-13 accuracy. Wright caught five balls for 144 yards and three scores.
Snodgrass closed with 20 carries for 132 yards for Trail while junior QB Zach Grafton was 3-of-8 for just 21 yards, all three completions to senior Chase Stillion.
Ridgewood had a 385-178 edge in total yards.
NEXT -- Buckeye Trail returns to action Friday hosting Newcomerstown, with kick-off at the Baker Activity Complex set for 7 p.m. Ridgewood visits Akron Waynedale the same night.