Ridge Football Rallies, but Falls to Westfield, 35-21

Dan Skea Credits: Guy Kipp
Andrew Lusardi catches a TD pass from Aidan Murphy in the second quarter. Credits: Guy Kipp
Westfield QB Philip Martini Credits: Guy Kipp
Aidan Murphy hands off to RJ Milligan Credits: Guy Kipp

WESTFIELD, NJ - Although the Ridge football team outplayed Westfield for good portions of Saturday's game, the Red Devils were unable to overcome Westfield's opening salvos in the first 7:39 of the contest.

Westfield defeated Ridge, 35-21, to extend its winning streak to 15 games. In a losing cause, quarterback Aidan Murphy threw three touchdown passes for Ridge.

Three big plays, each covering 50 yards or more, gave Westfield a 21-point lead less than eight minutes into the game. On the Blue Devils' first possession, set up by a Westfield interception, quarterback Philip Martini connected with wideout Michael Moriarty on a slant pattern on third-and-eight and Moriarty outran Ridge's secondary for a 50-yard TD play.

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On Westfield's next possession, it was Martini-to-Moriarty for another 50-yard TD, but this one was achieved in an entirely different fashion. On second and eight, the Westfield QB executed a play fake into the line and Moriarty broke free down the left sideline, where he caught Martini's bomb in stride and then kicked the extra point to extend Westfield's lead to 14-0 with 6:25 left in the first quarter.

Not even poor field position could deter Westfield on its next possession. On the first play from the 21-yard line, Ismael Glasco took a pitch around the left end, got some key blocks downfield and motored 79 yards down the sideline for a TD that gave the home team a 21-0 lead with 4:21 showing in the opening quarter.

“We feel good about the effort we gave and the comeback that we made, so those are good things to build off,” Ridge head coach Bill Tracy said. “We have to get off to better starts. We have not gotten off to a good start yet in any of our games or scrimmages, so we have to do better with that.”

Ridge executed a sound ball-control attack on an 11-play, 52-yard drive for its first TD to open the second quarter. Murphy completed all three of his passes on the drive, including an 11-yard pass to Andrew Lusardi wide open in the left flat for a touchdown on third-and-six with 6:41 left in the first half.

Martini's 72-yard connection with Jack Shirk in the third quarter extended the Blue Devils' advantage to 28-7. Martini was 10-for-15 for 216 yards passing. But Ridge fought back to throw a legitimate scare into the formidable Union County squad, as Murphy connected with halfback Dan Skea on a 41-yard TD pass play and tight end Matt Rusinak on a 3-yard TD flip to bring the Red Devils within a TD at 28-21 going into the fourth quarter. Murphy finished with 17 completions in 29 attempts for 246 yards.

Glasco's second TD run of the game, this one covering 29 yards in the fourth quarter, enabled Westfield to re-establish its 14-point edge. Glasco finished with 151 yards on 19 carries.

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