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Ridgefield Stops 8th-Grade Wreckers, 26-13

The eighth-grade Wreckers put on their hardhats the day before Labor Day and started the season with a bang, but ended the day with a disappointing 26-13 loss to Ridgefield Orange. The Wreckers could have turned the tide on a few occasions, but Ridgefield was not to be denied the victory.

The Wreckers' first possession began with some nifty running and receiving by Matty Johnson for first downs. On the fourth play of the game, quarterback Evan Gilland ran for a 60-yard touchdown. But Ridgefield came right back with a series of running plays that ended in a touchdown and the extra point.

The Wreckers' next possession ended in a punt, and Connor Adrian booted the first of his many monster punts deep into enemy territory. Ridgefield had a good return and was soon on the Wreckers' 15-yard line. On first down, defensive tackle Dan Cozzi blasted through to hit their quarterback, disrupting the play. Linebacker Bobby Becker crunched the running back, causing a fumble that was recovered by Jack Zapfel. The Wreckers had the ball on their own 7, but a high snap resulted in a safety to give Ridgefield a 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Wreckers defense stopped Ridgefield with great hitting until Evan Gilland stripped the ball to give the Wreckers a chance to pull ahead. Johnson took over at quarterback and moved the ball quickly with good passing and a leaping catch by Jack Griffin to the Ridgefield 10-yard line. But the Wreckers ran out of downs just before the half ended.

In the second half, an interception by Oliver Bub gave the Wreckers the ball and a chance to score. Gilland then put on an offensive show, catching an amazing one-handed dive from Johnson for 30 yards, another catch for a first down at the 2-yard line, then breaking six tackles to turn a loss of yardage into a 2-yard gain on the next run play. He made the 2-yard scamper into the end zone look easy, and the Wreckers were up again 13-10 at the end of the third quarter.

Ridgefield answered in the fourth with a long run, but the Wreckers had plenty of time for the go-ahead score. Linebackers Jack Zapfel and Connor Adrian pummeled the Ridgefield runners. Then on third down with three minutes in the game, defensive tackle Harry Garber pulled their runner down in the backfield for a loss, forcing them to punt. It looked like the Wreckers run-and-shoot offense could move quickly down field, but a quick interception and score by Ridgefield proved too much to overcome. The Wreckers play Fairfield next.

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