Ridgefield overcomes Woodland

Bend-don’t-break defense, ground game just enough

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

Published:

 

RIDGEFIELD — Woodland was spectacular, but Ridgefield was more efficient Friday.

The result was a 27-20 non-league victory for the Spudders, despite a highlight-reel 80-yard touchdown run by Woodland’s Cy Whitmire.

Ridgefield (2-0) matched that with an offense that rushed for 233 yards and a defense that repeatedly stopped Woodland (1-1) when the Beavers got close to the end zone.

“We knew they would get some yards against us,” Ridgefield coach Matt Martin said. “We just wanted to contain them, and we did. We had five stops inside the 30.”

Two of those came in the final minutes, after a 5-yard touchdown run by Michael Knox with 7:36 to play had given Ridgefield a seven-point lead. Woodland reached the 10-yard line on both drives before the Spudders held.

By that point in the contest, stalwart defense had become the norm for Ridgefield. The Spudders seized momentum in the first quarter, when a Woodland drive covered 81 yards before being halted on a third-and-goal play from the 2-yard line and a fourth-and-goal from the 1.

Ridgefield then put together a 94-yard march — highlighted by a 25-yard run from Clayton Farr — before settling for a field goal for the first points of the game.

“It was huge,” Martin said. “Once we got that stop, that was definitely a momentum turner for us. I was just thinking, ‘Let’s get out to the 30 and punt, but then we drove down the field.”

Ridgefield extended the lead to 17-6 early in the third quarter before Woodland climbed back into the game behind Whitmire’s memorable run.

With the line of scrimmage at the Beavers’ 20, Whitmire took a handoff and headed toward the left side of the line. He reversed field, ran back to the 5-yard line, looked like he wanted to throw the ball, then tucked it in and ran for an 80-yard touchdown that covered about 130 yards.

“I got stopped at the line, so I thought I would try some maneuver,” said Whitmire, who finished with 147 yards on 11 carries. “I thought I was going to pass, then I remembered I couldn’t pass, so I headed upfield. I got some good blocks from the receivers.”

Early in the fourth quarter, a 16-yard touchdown pass from Adam Shoup to Nick Fuller, followed by a 2-point conversion, pulled Woodland into a 20-20 tie.

Ridgefield responded immediately, driving 70 yards in five plays, including a 55-yard run by Knox.

“It was all my linemen,” said Knox, who finished with 117 yards on 20 carries. “I think we have the best blocking in the league.”

In addition to Knox’s performance, the Spudders got 72 yards on 13 carries from Ian Williams, and 30 yards on two carries from Farr.

Quarterback Gunnar Long recovered from a first-quarter interception to finish 4 of 6 for 84 yards, including a 26-yard TD pass to Knox with 39 seconds remaining in the first half.

Woodland 0 6 6 8—20

Ridgefield 0 10 7 10—27

Second Quarter

R — 22 FG Dalton Ries

W — Kyle Hendrix 23 from Adam Shoup (kick failed)

R — Michael Knox 26 from Gunnar Long (Ries kick)

Third Quarter

R — Long 1 run (Ries kick)

W — Cy Whitmire 80 run (pass failed)

Fourth Quarter

R — Ries 33 FG

W — Nick Fuller 16 from Shoup (Whitmire run)

R — Knox 5 run (Ries kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing: Woodland — Cy Whitmire 11-147, Adam Shoup 11-27, Zach Falk 4-14, Eli Whitmire 7-14; Ridgefield — Michael Knox 20-117, Ian Williams 13-72, Clayton Farr 3-30, Tyson Wright 6-8, Gunnar Long 8-6.

Passing: Woodland — Adam Shoup 14-26-141-0. Ridgefield — Gunnar Long 4-6-84-1.

Receiving: Woodland — Cy Whitmire 7-49, Nick Fuller 3-35, Trevor Huddleston 2-27, Kyle Hendrix 1-23, Logan Piper 1-7; Ridgefield — Clayton Farr 2-41, Michael Knox 1-26, John White 1-17.