BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- The Ridge football team spent the last two weeks on the road facing undefeated opponents.
The Red Devils (3-1) come home Friday night for, appropriately, their Homecoming game against Franklin (1-4) at 7 p.m.
Ridge lost on the road, 34-28, to unbeaten Phillipsburg in overtime two weeks ago. But the Red Devils actually seemed to use that loss--one in which they rallied from a 14-point deficit to tie the game--as a springboard, and they turned in a strong effort on both sides of the ball last week in a 32-13 road victory over Hillsborough, which, like Phillipsburg, came into the game undefeated.
Franklin, on the other hand, had lost its first four games before beating Hunterdon Central, 35-14, last week. That suggests that the Warriors are not a team to be taken lightly.
Ridge's Wing-T offense has averaged 335 yards a game under the direction of quarterback Brendan Bell, who has passed for seven touchdowns 608 yards and a 60 percent completion rate while throwing just one interception. Bell has also rushed fo 134 yards and two TDs and, on defense, he leads the team in tackles at safety.
Senior fullback Christian Sweeney has rushed for 333 yards and a 5.6 average for the Red Devils, who also utilize halfbacks Jack Perry and Jake Hoffman and wideout Cameron Lloyd frequently in the attack.
Perry is coming off a huge effort against Hillsborough in which he caught a TD pass, returned a fumble on defense for another TD and intercepted a pass in the end zone to snuff out a Hillsborough drive before halftime. Perry plays free safety on defense.
Ridge's defense has been a team effort. In addition to the aforementioned standout play of the two safeties, linebackers Sweeney and Colin Scherzer, end Nolan Murphy and DT Jack Prentiss have been solid, as well. Senior linebacker Daniel Soulas was also off to a good start defensively before suffering an injury a couple of weeks ago.
A victory would help strengthen Ridge's standing in North Jersey, Group 5 with the playoffs less than a month away. Ridge is angling for a seed high enough to get at least one or two home games in the post-season.