Ridley nips Malvern 21-20 in opening day thriller
Pardon Ridley’s starting quarterback Matt Davis for being nervous prior to Friday night’s season opening non league contest against Inter Ac power Malvern Prep. Just how nervous was Davis? “I was so nervous, I felt like I was going to throw up all day,” he said adding that once he arrived at Phil Merion Field the nerves went away. Davis’ completion percentage was not too good as he completed only five of 13 passes but they amassed 234 yards and two touchdowns as the Green Raiders overcame a 20-7 deficit to down the Friars 21-20 in battle of Southeastern PA Heavyweights.
After going three-and-out to open the season the Green Raiders defense seemed to start slow allowing the Friars to drive down to their 25 yardline before toughing up and forcing the Friars to turn the ball over on downs. The first quarter ended with a scoreless tie.
In the second quarter the Green Raiders looked poised to take a 3-0 lead but their field goal was blocked by Northwestern commit Connor Mahoney. Blake Gunther scooped up the loose ball and raced down the Green Raider sideline 88 yards for the touchdown. The lead was short lived however as on the very next play from scrimmage Davis connected with Jalen Randolph on a swing pass and Randolph raced 74 yards to tie things up at 7 at intermission.
Paul Finley gave the Friars the lead in the third quarter with his four-yard touchdown plunge. Shawn Wilson added to the lead in the fourth quarter with a ten yard touchdown run but the extra point failed and the Friars were up 20-7.
Back came the Green Raiders on the ensuing drive with a two play 44 yard drive that resulted in Davis connecting with Mike Smoluk for the touchdown.
Following a three and out the Green Raiders were back on the attack and got a huge play from Mike Crowley who hauled in a pass from Davis and took it 82 yards down to the Malvern eight yard line. On the next play Crowley ran it in for the touchdown. The extra point was good and the Green Raiders had now battled all the way back. The Friars had two chances but ended with a interception by Randolph and a turnover on downs preserving the victory.
Next week the Green Raiders will host the Haverford Fords in the teams Central League opener while Malvern will travel to take on Roman Catholic.
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