Support Local Journalism

MILLVILLE — There is one more game for the Riverhawks.

And their fans let them know that Friday night with a “One More Game” chant. Yes, Ridgeline will be playing for the 4A state championship next Friday.

The Riverhawks will make their first appearance in a title game in football. Ridgeline never trailed in a semifinal against Crimson Cliffs, cruising to a 49-34 victory in the first meeting between these two schools.

“You dream of this as a kid,” Riverhawk running back Noah White said. “The job is not finished. We need to go win one more.”

White had a monster game with 194 yards rushing on 20 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 69 yards and another score.

“Noah was unreal,” Ridgeline head Travis Cox said. “He played really hard. ... Noah made some unreal, individual plays. Our O-line was great, but Noah was amazing.”

While White played a big part, so did many other Riverhawks (12-0) in what started as a shoot out offensively. It was the tightest game in the early going this season for Ridgeline since the season opener. Some adjustments were made defensively, and the Riverhawks were able to get some breathing room.

“They (Mustangs) had a great game plan,” Cox said. “They had us on our heels bad. We had to make some adjustments on the fly with some things we’ve never done. Credit to those kids for executing and sticking together. No one really panicked. We just had to regroup and made a couple of plays.”

It was a one-score game with less than 10 minutes to play, 42-34, when the Mustangs (8-5) scored on a Easton Droubay run. Droubay was a headache most of the game for the Ridgeline D. The running back rushed for 162 yards on 27 carries and scored three TDs.

The Riverhawks did not flinch. They burned more than four minutes off the clock on a 80-yard drive that took 10 plays. White began the march with a 22-yard run.

Jackson Olsen made a great 13-yard catch off a nifty pass from quarterback Kaden Cox on third-and-13. White finished off the drive when Cox found him wide open over the middle. The Riiverhawk did what had all night and eluded the pursuing Mustangs and found the end zone from 29 yards out.

“We game planned and knew the underneath routes were going to be open,” White said. “We were looking for those all night.”

That would be the final points and more than enough for Ridgeline to advance.

Crismon Cliffs turned the ball over on downs as Luke Jacobsen made a nice pass break up on fourth down.

Ridgeline was able to run the final 4:33 off the clock, converting two third-down plays and then going into the victory formation.

“We just tried to stay ahead of the chains, get first downs and keep putting drives together,” White said. “... When we can run the ball, it adds a whole other dimension. You can’t stop us when we are doing both.”

Next up for Ridgeline is a date with Dixie with the 4A state title on the line. The Flyers beat Pine View Friday night in the other semifinal, 42-20. The championship game will be next Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium with kickoff set for 11 a.m.

“We are happy to be going to Salt Lake City,” Cox said. “You always think you have a chance (to make it to the title game), but you have to have some luck along the way and really good kids. Now we are here. We have one more game to go and we will see what happens.”

Kaden Cox had another efficient game, passing for 280 yards on 29 of 41 attempts. The senior had four TDs, with two to Strat Simmons and one each to Jackson Olsen and White. Simmons hauled in seven passes for 44 yards, while Braylon Majors and Olsen each caught six balls for 82 and 70 yards, respectively. Ridgeline had 505 yards of total offense.

“I’m grateful for our offense and what they did,” coach Cox said. “That was the best defense I’ve seen in a long time. They were really tough. Our offense carried us. ... Kaden managed the game great. He threw balls away when he needed too. He put some balls on the money when he needed too. I’m so proud of him.”

Defensively, the Riverhawks were led by Jaxen Hollingsworth with nine tackles. Will Booth made eight stops.

Crimson Cliffs had 333 yards of total offense, but just 99 of those yards came in the second half.

The game started off with a bang as both teams scored on their first two possessions. Ridgeline got the ball first, driving 80 yards in 11 plays. Simmons made a tough catch on a 6-yard pass from Kaden Cox for the opening TD.

Kona Crowell made a circus catch on a pass from Gunner Orr from 23 yards out to make it 7-7 with five minutes left in the opening quarter.

Facing a fourth-and-1 on their own 24, the Riverhawks went for it when the offense pleaded t stay on the field. After a timeout, White got the call and broke loose for a 45-yard gain. Five plays later Cox and Simmons were hooking up again, this time for a 5-yard TD.

“Strat was huge for us early in the game,” coach Cox said. “He made some big-time catches.”

Crimson Cliffs responded with Droubay’s first TD run from a yard out. The extra point was blocked by Dillon May, leaving the hosts in front, 14-13 early in the second quarter.

White made it 22-13 on a jaw-dropping run from 23 yards out as he cut and weaved his way through Mustang defenders. Olsen ran in the 3-point try.

Crowwell returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards to set up another Droubay TD run from a yard out as the Mustangs were hanging tough, down 22-20 with 4:10 before the break.

Olsen then brought the home fans to their feet with a 93-yard kickoff return to the house.

“Jackson had a heck of a game for us,” coach Cox said. “That return kick was huge.”

After a Crimson Cliffs TD, the Riverhawks got the ball on their own 20 with 1:40 left until halftime. They calmly drove to paydirt. A pass interference call on the Mustangs on the final play of the first half gave Ridgeline one more play. The Riverhawks cashed in with a 13-yard TD pass from Cox to Olsen. Ridgeline took a 35-27 lead into the break.

White scored the only points of the third quarter, busting off an 11-yard scoring run with 1:21 left and giving the Riverhawks a 42-27 lead.

“We struggled early, but our O-line got going and opened some holes for me,” White said. “I’m really grateful for them.”

———

RIVERHAWKS 49, MUSTANGS 34

Friday at Millville

Crimson Cliffs    7  20  0  7  —  34

Ridgeline         14  21  7  7  —  49

First Quarter

    R — Strat Simmons 6 pass from Kaden Cox (Aaron Young kick), 8:31

    CC — Kona Crowell 23 pass from Gunner Orr (Ryan Wooley kick), 4:57

    R — Simmons 5 pass from Cox (Young kick), 1:11

Second Quarter

    CC — Easton Droubay 1 run (kick blocked), 11:46

    R — Noah White 23 run (Jackson Olsen run), 4:28

    CC — Droubay 1 run (Wooley kick), 4:10

    R — Olsen 93 kickoff return (kick blocked), 3:57

    CC — Konner Kell 15 pass from Orr (Wooley kick), 1:40

    R — Olsen 13 pass from Cox (Young kick), :00

Third Quarter

    R — White 11 run (Young kick), 1:21

Fourth Quarter

    CC — Droubay 4 run (Young kick), 9:40

    R — White 29 pass from Cox (Young kick), 5:24

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.

Please be aware that Cache Valley Publishing does not endorse, and is not responsible for alleged employment offers in the comments.

Recommended for you