RIDGEFIELD — Still unbeaten, but not done yet.
The Ridgefield Spudders are undefeated through 11 games, but just because they qualified for the Class 2A football state quarterfinals after Saturday’s 27-14 first-round victory over Orting doesn’t mean the goal stopped there.
“The goal isn’t the quarterfinals; the goal is a state title,” said senior linebacker Connor Delamarter.
Ty Snider had a game-best 135 yards on seven catches and a 73-yard kickoff return, Isaiah Cowley had a game-high 116 yards on 18 carries, and the defense shut out Orting in the second half in the home playoff win.
Now, the Spudders (11-0) face Squalicum of Bellingham next weekend, likely at Bellingham’s Civic Stadium in the program’s third state quarterfinal appearance.
In fact, Saturday was the 40-year anniversary of Ridgefield playing — and winning — its first-ever state playoff game. That came in a 26-0 shutout victory over Kalama back in 1981, but Saturday against the Cardinals proved to be a taller order.
That’s because for the first time all season, Ridgefield trailed at halftime. Two big plays on special teams helped Orting (5-4) preserve a 14-13 advantage at the half after blocking a point-after try on Ridgefield’s second score, then a 28-yard field goal attempt to end the first half.
Ridgefield’s defense shutout Orting the final two quarters, including big stops on Orting’s final three possessions. Ridgefield took the lead for good on Snider’s 29-yard third-quarter touchdown for a 21-14 lead, plus an insurance score by Davis Pankow (4-yard touchdown run).
Snider, the 2A Greater St. Helens League’s offensive MVP, dazzled all night. His 135 receiving yards included a 65-yard catch and run, plus a 73-yard kickoff return as part of the team’s first-quarter scoring. Sophomore quarterback Logan DeBeaumont threw for 235 yards on 17 of 28 completions.
Like it has all season, Ridgefield relied on its defense. With Ridgefield’s lead at 27-14, Orting had three possessions in the final 5 minutes, 30 seconds of the game to close the gap. That’s where the Spudders’ defense shined brightest with back-to-back fourth-down stops in plus-territory; the second came at the 12-yard line facing fourth and 6. An interception by Matt Lewis sealed it with 1:46 to play.
Ridgefield’s defense has held opponents to just 7.3 points through 11 wins.
“We’re the best defense in the state,” Delamarter said. “We know it and we believe it. And, yeah make a heck of a lot of mistakes, but we don’t give up points.”
It’s been a steady rise for Ridgefield football under head coach Scott Rice, now in his third season. A number of upperclassmen were part of the program that reached the 2A state playoffs in 2019. Now, the Spudders are league champions and still boosting an unblemished record.
“This feels amazing,” said Cowley, a junior, who had the game’s first score on a 29-yard touchdown run. “I haven’t had this opportunity before and I’m glad I’m out here with my seniors and my (brothers). We’re out here to get it done.”