CLARION, Pa. – D9Sports.com’s Chris Rossetti is taking a look at his the Top 25 stories that impacted District 9 during the 2018-19 school year.
NO. 18: MOVING UP IN CLAS? NO PROBLEM, RIDGWAY FOOTBALL WINS THIRD STRAIGHT D9 TITLE
The Ridgway football team, which is a co-op squad with Johnsonburg, won District 9 Class 1A titles in 2016 and 2017, but a chance at a three-peat seemed like it was going to be a challenge when the Elkers were moved up to Class 2A in the PIAA’s two-year reclassification cycle to start the 2018 season.
But Ridgway just kept right on winning.
First, the Elkers ran through the regular season going 9-1 and winning the first-ever D9 League Large School Division title.
That earned Ridgway a bye into the semifinals of the District 9 Class 2A tournament where the Elkers took on Moniteau.
The Warriors proved to be a tough task and led the Elkers, 7-0, through three quarters while outgaining Ridgway 221-34 at the time.
But Ridgway came alive in the fourth quarter allowing Moniteau to run just six offensive plays in the quarter with two of those being desperation heaves with under 10 seconds to play. The Elkers outgained the Warriors, 137-2, in the quarter and outscored them 15-0 to move into the D9 title game with a 15-7 win.
Gabe Watts’ 7-yard touchdown run followed by Matt Dush’s two-point conversion run on a scramble play out of the extra-point formation gave Ridgway an 8-7 lead with 7:49 to play.
Moniteau then failed to catch the ball on the ensuing kickoff giving Ridgway the ball back, and while the Elkers didn’t score the field position flip led to the Warriors having to go for it from inside their own 10-yard line. After the failed conversion, Jake Wicket scored on a 3-yard run to make it 15-7 with 2:07 to play, and once again Moniteau failed to recover the kickoff allowing Ridgway to nearly run out the clock.
In a Monday title game because of snow against Brockway, a team Ridgway beat 20-7 in September, the Elkers found themselves in a dog fight down 7-0 going to the fourth quarter.
But Ridgway tied the game at seven early in the quarter on a 16-yard Wickett run.
The Elkers then overcame having a touchdown called back on a penalty earlier in the fourth quarter to win the game on a 6-yard Dush run with just 25 seconds to play.
The winning touchdown was set up when Brockway decided to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Ridgway 49-yard line with just under three minutes to play. An incomplete pass gave Ridgway prime field position, and they were able to overcome another penalty to score the game-winning touchdown.
Playing on short rest against a Wilmington team that ended up finishing second in the state, Ridgway was no match falling 56-14 in the opening round of the PIAA tournament.
ROSSETTI’S TOP 25 MOST IMPACTFUL HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS STORIES FROM 2018-19 SCHOOL YEAR
19. ECC Baseball goes from D9 fifth seed to final eight in the state
20. Moniteau Baseball battles back to win D9 title
21. Brookville Wrestling, a D9 Dynasty
22. Chambers steal and miracle Shot
23. Callen nearly unhittable
24. Wruble’s Clutch Hit
25. Ella Marconi’s terrific season caps terrific career