Running Wild in Ridgefield
Spudders offense doesn’t single out any one player
Friday, September 23, 2011
RIDGEFIELD — Something’s clicking in Ridgefield.
A former lineman in his first season as a fullback has a 100-yard rushing game.
Another player touched the ball two times last week — and scored two touchdowns.
One more standout who technically is not even a starter, a guy who plays two positions, led the region in rushing after the first two weeks of the high school football season.
It is the Ridgefield offense that is clicking, leading the Spudders to a 3-0 start heading into a rivalry game Friday night against La Center.
“Four or five yards would be good for every single play, but when we break it, it’s even better,” said junior Clayton Farr, who had two carries for 33 yards and two touchdowns last week in a 41-7 win over White Salmon.
The fly offense gives opportunities for a lot of different ball carriers, including a receiver, who is often in motion, giving the defense another player to keep track of prior to the snap.
“We have so many good backs,” Farr said. “We can get anyone the ball and have confidence with it. The offense suits our team.”
Ridgefield coach Matt Martin said it is a good problem to have, so many players in a Class 1A program who are capable of making big plays.
“If someone is being keyed on, we have other guys who can step up,” Martin said. “Some of these guys, if they were on any other team, they would be ‘The Man.’ ”
Sophomore Michael Knox rushed for 361 yards in the first two weeks of the season.
“I think I have the best blocking,” Knox said. “I have total trust in them.”
Yet, after those first two weeks, defenses took notice of Knox’s ability. White Salmon did its best to stop Knox last week, which gave more opportunities for Tyson Wright and Ian Williams.
A senior who has been a lineman all his life until he impressed Martin with his speed this summer, Wright made the switch to fullback just a few weeks ago. Last week, he rushed for 119 yards on 12 carries.
“I was never used to carrying it that much,” Wright said. “After we realized the play was working a lot, we used it a lot.”
There is another benefit to gaining so many yards.
“You never get the praise as a lineman,” he said. “Getting my name in the paper felt pretty good.”
True to his lineman roots, though, he wanted to make sure that his big guys in front of him got the credit that they deserve.
Senior Eli Anderson, juniors Ryan Croston and Seth Williams, and sophomores Talon Couch and Garrett Behrman are paving the way for the Spudders.
“Anybody who gets the ball, with those guys, is getting a lot of yards,” Wright said.
Ian Williams, a junior, is averaging 5.6 yards per carry behind those guys.
“I just trust Tyson, my fullback, and my line. I follow right behind them and usually, there is a big, open hole,” Williams said.
There also are openings in other facets of the game. Knox has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season. Knox said he is usually nervous when the ball is in the air, on the way to his arms.
“Then everything goes away and the adrenaline goes up as soon as you get the ball,” he said.
Martin said there are others who are capable of going the distance at any time, too. Dalton Ries is one of the fastest players on the team. Curren Williams is a strong safety but could be a tailback, too.
Many of the playmakers and 80 percent of the starting linemen are juniors or sophomores, meaning the future looks strong, too, for the Spudders.
For now, they just want to make this campaign special.
“My expectation for this season is to get a league title,” Williams said. “That’s my goal. That’s our team’s goal.”
The Spudders do not care who gets them in the end zone, as long as they get in more than their opponents.