WEST LAFAYETTE — A capacity crowd, two undefeated teams and big plays on both sides. Friday night’s Inter-Valley Conference South Division showdown between Ridgewood and Indian Valley had it all.
In the end it was the youthful Generals who put the finishing touches on win number six, a 34-22 over the visiting Braves.
"I don’t think there were many people out there that gave us a chance but what a great effort from our kids," RHS coach John Slusser said. "I know they are banged up a little but that was a big win against a very well-coached football team tonight."
Freshman Gabe Tingle was up to his tricks again,finishing 18-of-29 passing for 230 yards and three touchdowns while also adding a rushing score.
"I haven’t seen a freshman do the things he is doing for us this season in this area," Slusser said of his signal-caller. "He’s really good and he seems to play better the bigger the stage gets."
The first half was a see-saw affair with the Generals getting on the board on their first drive on a three-yard run by Kaden Smith to make it 7-0.
However, the Braves seized the momentum when Cade Williams picked up a bad snap on a punt and found Tanner Myers for a 60-yard score to make it 8-7 with 5:44 left in the opening quarter.
The visitors pushed the lead to 14-7 with 3:47 in the first quarter on an 11-yard run by Williams.
Ridgewood indeed fought back to knot the score at the 3:33 mark of the second quarter when Tingle found Connor Kunze for a 26-yard scoring toss.
After a three-and-out, the Generals executed their two-minute offense to perfection when Tingle hit Koleton Smith from 10-yards out with eight seconds left to make it 21-14 at the half.
Indian Valley took the lead again with 11:32 left in the game when Caleb Hostetler raced 68 yards for a score and another Williams two-point run made it 22-21.
From there, it was all Ridgewood.
"Every time we got down we came right back and responded," Slusser said. "Earlier in the season, I’m not so sure that would have been the case."
The Orange and Black drove 52 yards for a touchdown on a Tingle one-yard keeper that made it 27-22 with 8:21 left in the contest.
Ridgewood iced the game at the 2:50 mark when Tingle found Kunze again from 26 yards out to make it 34-22.
"Other than a couple of big plays, I thought we were really good defensively and Chase and (Isaiah) Lamneck were huge on that side," Slusser said. "Strange things happen when we play at home and we really came out and played tonight."
In addition to the effort from Minet and Lamneck the Generals also had a trio of fumble recoveries on the night and won the turnover battle, 3-0.
The Generals (6-0, 1-0 IVC South), who vaulted all the way to No. 2 in the Division V, Region 19 computer ratings with the win, will have to get right back to work as a road game at unbeaten Garaway looms next week.
"We will enjoy this one tonight but then it’s time to get ready for Garaway," Coach Slusser said.
"They’re a class act football team that is well-coached," Slusser said about Coach Matt Lancaster and the Braves (5-1, 1-0 IVC South), who remained No. 2 in the Division IV, Region 15 computer ratings despite the setback.
NEXT — Both teams are on the road Friday — Indian Valley at Newcomerstown and Ridgewood at Garaway. Kick-off at both sites is at 7 p.m.