Sports

Ridley’s Defense Keeps The Green Raiders Winning

From Left to Right: Matt Sinex; Ridley Coach Dennis Decker; Shane Dougherty (Credit: Joe Santoliquito)

From Left to Right: Matt Sinex; Ridley Coach Dennis Decker; Shane Dougherty (Credit: Joe Santoliquito)

Top 10

Week of Oct. 19, 2012

1. St. Joseph’s Prep (Record: 6-0. Previous Week: 1. Weeks Rated: 6.)

2. La Salle (Record: 6-1. Previous Week: 2. Weeks Rated: 8.)

3. Downingtown East (Record: 7-0. Previous Week: 3. Weeks Rated: 8.)

4. Archbishop Wood (Record: 5-2. Previous Week: 5. Weeks Rated: 8.)

5. Imhotep Charter (Record: 7-0. Previous Week: 6. Weeks Rated: 8.)

6. Ridley (Record: 7-0. Previous Week: 7. Weeks Rated: 3.)

7. Coatesville (Record: 5-2. Previous Week: 8. Weeks Rated: 3.)

8. Episcopal Academy (Record: 6-0. Previous Week: 9. Weeks Rated: 3.)

9. Pennridge (Record: 6-1. Previous Week: NR. Weeks Rated: 1.)

10. Central Bucks South (Record: 6-1. Previous Week: 4. Weeks Rated: 7.)

By Joseph Santoliquito

Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — If it were up to Ridley’s football team, they’d rather play in front of no one, against anyone, always on defense, and the Green Raiders would still find a way to win.

Led by head coach Dennis Decker, Ridley continues to have one of the strongest football programs in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The beauty about the Green Raiders is that they don’t care about style points, or how high they’re ranked. It’s only about winning, and that’s what Ridley is doing again this year.

It’s a hardhat, steelmill ethos the Green Raiders have always embraced.

Ridley has two shutouts, and is giving up 10 points a game, with a defense led by senior three-year starting linebacker Shane Dougherty and three-year starting lineman Matt Sinex, along with the steady improvement of junior quarterback Colin Wright.

“I don’t think being undefeated surprises any of us; a good many of us have been playing together since pee-wee football,” Dougherty said. “We’re all just willing to do whatever it takes to win. It doesn’t matter who scores, it just matters that we’re winning. The attitude of this team is if we can keep teams from scoring, we won’t lose. Everyone on this team loves playing defense. We hate giving up points. If they’re not scoring we’re not winning. We know how some people [in District 1] may look at us. I like the underdog role—it’s a better story. But we don’t really pay attention to all of that.”

Ridley also has an x-factor that impacts every game—that’s defensive coordinator Ralph Batty, a true evil scientist when it comes to dialing up schemes.

“I don’t even know how to describe Coach Batty,” Sinez said. “He picks things out on game films that no one else sees. He puts in the game plans and if we execute, we win. We had a really talented team two years ago when I was a sophomore. They didn’t go as far as they could have. This team is together, and it’s something I learned from my sophomore year. We’re the type of team where a guy would rather make a block for us to score than to score himself.”

The offense and scoring is coming—and it could make Ridley a scary team as the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs approach. Wright is admittedly learning the system, and the Green Raiders are working off about 60-percent of their package. There is still plenty they haven’t shown in their arsenal.

“I think once I get more used to the offense, they’ll begin adding more stuff,” said Wright, who’s shown great poise, especially in leading Ridley back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat powerhouse Garnet Valley, 27-17, on October 5. “We’re not using everything. As I get more experience, it’s getting easier. I like it; it’s been a lot of fun—I enjoy it. The game is slowing down for me.”

Game of the Week

Springfield (6-1) at Ridley (7-0), 7 p.m. Friday: This could determine the Central League. Ridley got over one hump in beating Garnet Valley, but Springfield poses a variety of problems, with its offensive and defensive lines anchored by 6-foot-5½, 290-pound Nick Apostolu. Ridley may have a little more firepower than the Cougars. It’s also going to be difficult for Springfield to score. Here’s thinking it could be a two-score game, with Ridley adding some insurance in the end.

Prediction: Ridley 28, Springfield 14

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