RIDGEWOOD, NJ - On a brisk, windy evening which announced that fall had arrived, Eastside High School succumbed to highly ranked Ridgewood at the opponent’s home field Friday. Tenacious play by the Maroons’ defensive line held the potent Ghosts’ offense in check for most of the evening.
While Eastside’s quarterback, senior Michael Jackson, was able to combine pinpoint passing with a nice ability to scramble out of trouble, the senior signal caller was often pressured by oncoming tacklers resulting in a number of Ridgewood sacks for the evening.
The Maroons were able to punch in two early scores to gain a quick 14-0 advantage. With 2:34 left in the first quarter and a first down on their own 30, Ridgewood was again on the march. However, several stonewall stops of runs at the line of scrimmage and excellent pass coverage on an attempted long bomb by Maroons’ senior quarterback Liam Tarleton resulted in an incompletion. Soon thereafter, another aerial failed due to blanket coverage in the secondary by Paterson’s cornerbacks Ashin Jacobs and Isaiah Colon.
One of the most surprising plays of the game then transpired.
In a beautifully executed play, Ridgewood’s Patrick McDermott raced 25-yards down the middle and managed to slip behind any Eastside defender. All alone, Tarleton’s perfect pass found its mark. However the junior receiver (McDermott) failed to look the ball into his hands and began to run down field before securing the pigskin. The dropped pass foiled what would have probably been a touchdown.
The miscue seemed to rally the Ghosts’ defensive as 6’4” 285 pound defensive tackle Antonio Torres stonewalled a Ridgewood runner for no gain. On third down from near midfield, Jacobs turned in nice coverage of a Ridgewood pass receiver. However, the Maroons returned the defensive favor as on Eastside’s next offensive series a stop of a run up the middle was followed by a QB sack delivered by tackle Andrew Messineo.
Ridgewood’s offense then received a boost from the torrid ball carrying of senior running back Gabriel Santiago. A holding call against the Ghosts saw the Maroons advance to the Ghosts’ 35-yard line. With 50 seconds left in the half and a second down on the Ghosts’ 12-yard line, Tarleton, from under center, rolled right and fired a bullet pass. However, the offering was picked off by Jacobs who turned up field for six yards before being tackled. The Ghosts were granted possession on their own 49-yard line with 20 seconds left on the clock.
On a neat, quick-out pass Jackson fired to another brother (of Ashin) Jashin Jacobs, for a first down. However, on the next play, the Ghosts’ QB, from the shotgun, was barraged by a horde of Ridgewood tacklers and forced to cough up the football. An alert Ridgewood defender picked up the ball and jetted 60 yards to pay dirt. The touchdown and successful extra point pushed the score to 21-0 as the first half horn sounded.
Ridgewood mounted a scoring drive on their first offensive possession of the second half to forge ahead 28-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Jacobs (Ashin) had to backpedal to gather in the long kickoff but managed to snag the ball and turn up-field for a return of 20 yards. Jackson then fired over the middle for a completion and first down to Ridgewood’s 44. An interception of a long bomb by the Maroons was nullified by a penalty. With a first down deep in Ridgewood territory, the Ghosts were tagged with a holding penalty and Jackson was sacked for a huge loss. However, the setbacks did not quell the rally as Jackson found his intended receiver, Jashin Jacobs, in the left flat who raced to the Maroon’s one-yard line. A touchdown pass followed resulting in the Knights cashing in on the scoreboard. `
Near the middle of the fourth frame, Eastiside’s senior defensive end Edwin Elony turned in a stellar defensive play by stripping the ball from a Ridgewood runner which resulted in a fumble and an Eastside recovery. Also, in the second half, Colon continued to step up for the Ghosts by effectively patrolling the secondary.
A final Ridgewood score resulted in the home team’s winning tally. The Knights’ record now stands at two wins and two losses for the season.