RIDGEFIELD – Ridgefield’s season-opening football game took an unexpected turn early in the fourth quarter on Friday.
As the Spudders were trying to rally from 10 points down against W.F. West, the stadium lights went out.
For the next 20 minutes, Ridgefield players tried to stay loose as a cool, stiff wind blew. The student section danced to Michael Jackson and the Village People while shining lights from their phones.
When the lights came back on, Ridgefield couldn’t mount the rally it needed, falling 38-28.
Except for the surprise delay, which fittingly happened on the Ridgefield student section’s “Blackout Night,” Spudders coach Scott Rice got exactly what he expected from a tough early-season District 4 opponent that also reached the Class 2A state playoffs last year.
Ridgefield, which reached last year’s quarterfinals, will face a second tough opponent next week in Class 3A Greater St. Helens League favorite Mountain View.
“That was the point,” Rice said. “We wanted to play two teams in our non-league, one home and then one on the road, that are in the top 10 in the state.”
After Ridgefield scored on its first drive, The Bearcats put on a first-quarter blitz. W.F. West scored 21 points over a five-minute stretch, including two touchdowns in three plays after Ridgefield fumbled a kickoff.
Ridgefield trailed 28-7 when Gage Brumfield broke loose for a 51-yard run with 8:31 left in the second quarter.
“A lot of guys on defense haven’t really played a lot of snaps,” Rice said. “We started three sophomores tonight. The learning curve against a team like that was really high.”
Ridgefield took momentum into halftime after Landon Kelsey’s 15-yard touchdown catch 7.3 seconds before halftime pulled the Spudders within 35-21.
Two juniors, who both started last season, split quarterback duties for the Spudders. Brayden Malella played the first and fourth quarters while Logan DeBeaumont played the second and third.
Malella threw for more yardage while DeBeaumont led three scoring drives.
“They both did some good things,” Rice said. “We’re going to keep that competition open. I’m hoping to dial it down to somebody by Week 3 for Hockinson.”
Halftime adjustments let Ridgefield’s defense stiffen in the second half, holding the Bearcats to three points. The Spudders had just taken over at their 30 yard line with 8:59 to play when the stadium lights cut out.
For the next 20 minutes, players stretched, threw passes and a few even danced to the music to stay warm on a night where a strong wind made it feel much colder than the temperature in the low 60s.
“It feels like October right now,” Rice said. “Sometimes, things don’t go your way. The guys stayed pretty loose and had a good time. It helped having a great student section.”
Starting fast — Ridgefield had its longest gain on the first play from scrimmage. Brayden Malella threw a short pass to Carter Ferber, who took it down the left sideline for 67 yards. Rocco Wright capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run six plays later.
Quick turnaround — W.F. West went from trailing 7-0 to ahead 14-7 in three plays. Quarterback Gavin Fugate scrambled for a 45-yard touchdown to tie the game with 5:47 left in the first quarter. Ridgefield fumbled the kickoff, giving the Bearcats the ball at the 11 yard line. Tucker Land scored a rushing touchdown on the next play.
Stretch it out — Kelsey gave Ridgefield some momentum heading into halftime. The receiver stretched the ball over the goal line to complete a 15-yard touchdown pass from DeBeaumont with 7.3 seconds left in the second quarter. That pulled the Spudders within 35-21.
Rocco Wright — The Ridgefield running back was a workhorse, rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Gavin Fugate — The W.F. West dual-threat QB was tough to contain. He rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, also passing for 166 yards.
Isaiah Cowley — The dynamic Ridgefield receiver had a team-high eight catches for 69 yards despite being limited by cramping in the second half. He also had a 40-yard kickoff return.
W.F. WEST 38, RIDGEFIELD 28
W.F. West 21 14 3 0—38
Ridgefield 7 14 7 0—28
R – Rocco Wright 1 run (Brandon Rogers kick)
WFW – Gavin Fugate 45 run (Ross Kelley kick)
WFW – Tucker Land 11 run (Kelley kick)
WFW – Gage Brumfield 12 pass from Fugate (Kelley kick)
WFW – Brumfield 51 run (Kelley kick)
R – Wright 5 run (Rogers kick)
WFW – Fugate 13 run (Kelley kick)
R – Landon Kelley 15 pass from Logan DeBeaumont (Rogers kick)
R – Isaiah Cowley 12 pass from DeBeaumont (Rogers kick)
WFW – FG, Kelley 26
RUSHING – W.F. West: Tucker Land 14-101, Gavin Fugate 16-141, Evan Stajduhar 2-9. Ridgefield: Rocco Wright 22-79, Brayden Malalla 3-2.
PASSING – W.F. West: Gavin Fugate 14-23-166-0. Ridgefield: Brayden Malella 16-27-235-1; Logan DeBeaumont 6-11-75-0.
RECEIVING – W.F. West: Gage Brumfield 6-63, Evan Stajduhar 2-27, Cameron Amoroso 6-100. Ridgefield: Carter Ferber 6-144, Isaiah Cowley 8-69, Landon Kelsey 6-89, Rocco Wright 1-5.