MILLVILLE — There was no let down by the Riverhawks.
In fact, Ridgeline was more than ready to go Friday night in its Homecoming and Senior Night game against Region 11 rival Logan. The Riverhawks scored the first 45 points and cruised to a 52-22 victory.
“The game of football is awesome and you get 10 games for sure, so every game is important, especially this year,” Ridgeline head coach Travis Cox said. “If you can’t get up to play a football game in high school, you probably shouldn’t be playing. I wasn’t worried about a letdown. We know we can get better.”
The Riverhawks (5-1 overall, 2-1 region) were coming off their first loss of the season — a last-second setback against top-ranked Sky View. Like the coach said, it didn’t seem to matter as Ridgeline bounced back in a big way.
“I think we came in confident, but still hungry because we had lost,” Riverhawk running back Noah White said. “We want to show that we can win and are still capable of winning a region and state championship. This was a statement game.”
There were some shenanigans late in the contest that had the Grizzly coaches and fans upset On the final Ridgeline touchdown, the Riverhawk offensive unit all gathered in the end zone, sat down and acted like they were rowing a boat. The performance drew a slew of yellow flags.
“That was not good on our part,” Cox said. “I felt really bad for Logan. We need to win better and be more classy. ... We will learn from it. We have a bunch of kids in there that have had a rough three years. We haven’t won a lot of games. We are starting to get confidence, but we need to learn how to win a little bit better. I feel bad and it wasn’t the right thing to do.”
Despite being in a deep hole, Logan (3-4, 2-1) did keep playing hard. The Grizzlies dented the scoreboard late in the third quarter and added two more touchdowns in the fourth.
While Logan struggled early on, about everything Ridgeline did worked. Facing third-and-17 late in the second quarter, Riverhawk quarterback Kaden Cox hit a wide open Strat Simmons for a 73-yard TD.
The first play from scrimmage set the tone for the hosts. White had a huge hole open in front of him and was off to the races, gaining 51 yards.
“Shout out to the O-line,” said White, who rushed for 171 yards on 17 carries and also caught four passes for 49 yards. “I just wish I could have broke that first one, but I got caught. ... Our game plan was to run the ball because we felt our O-line could be physical against their D-line. They opened up a bunch of holes for me.”
Following the big run, Jaden Harris went up the middle for a 13-yard TD run. Harris would become very familiar with the end zone Friday night. He got his number called four times and rushed for three TDs. Harris also caught four passes and scored another TD via the air.
“The O-line worked their butts off and were super physical,” said Harris, who had 37 yards rushing and 42 receiving. “Noah got us down there, and it was my job to punch it in. I appreciate him getting me there and the opportunity to do that.”
Both Harris and White praised the offensive line as did coach Cox. The starting Riverhawk line consists of Nate Nixon, Charles Nielsen, Daimien Boehme, Alex Lundahl and Jake Alles.
“The last couple of weeks they (offensive line) have really started to play well together,” coach Cox said. “Every good football team, it starts with that front line. They are playing really well in both the run and pass game. They broke the game open tonight.”
Ridgeline rushed for 201 yards for the game, and Kaden Cox passed for 374 yards on 16 of 23 attempts and three TDs.
“We have a lot of weapons and do our best to utilize them all,” Harris said.
“I felt bad for Noah because he did a lot of hard work and then we have a certain personnel group,” coach Cox said. “I was glad he was able to get in there. He is such a good runner for us. He had an unbelievable game tonight.”
The Riverhawk defense came up with three interceptions and a fumble in the game. Evan Webb, Harris and Simmons each came up with a pick. The Harris interception came just before halftime and ended up setting up White for his lone score of the night.
“I got in trouble for not getting deep enough, coach told me to get deeper,” Harris said. “It was thrown right to me. Good coaching.”
Logan finished with 279 yards of total offense. Quarterback Kody Kirk passed for 205 yards and two TDs. Jaylen Sargent caught five passes for 99 yards and a score. Matthew Mason rushed for 75 yards on 11 carries.
Ridgeline took a 17-0 lead into the second quarter on two Harris TD runs and a 47-yard field goal by Carter Murdock. The Riverhawks went into the break with a 38-0 advantage.
RIVERHAWKS 52, GRIZZLIES 22
Friday at Millville
Logan 0 0 8 14 — 22
Ridgeline 17 21 7 7 — 52
R — Jaden Harris 13 run (Carter Murdock kick), 11:28
R — FG 47 Murdock, 5:47
R — Harris 24 run (Murdock kick), 0:22
R — Harris 1 run (Murdock kick), 5:43
R — Strat Simmons 73 pass from Kaden Cox (Murdock kick), 1:45
R — Noah White 2 run (Murdock kick), 0:07
R — Harris 8 pass from Cox (Murdock kick), 7:21
L — Jaelin Hoth 2 run (Kellen Roper pass from Kody Kirk), 0:57
L — Gage Jenson 10 pass from Kirk (pass intercepted), 5:53
R — Simmons 12 pass from Cox (Murdock kick), 4:28
L — Jaylen Sargent 43 pass from Kirk (Sargent pass from Kirk), 2:17