Ridgewood preps for 8-man state championship game
CAMBRIDGE, Ill. (KWQC) - With the 8-man state championship looming, the Ridgewood Spartans are gearing up for one last battle this season.
“It’ll be great. We’ve been dreaming about this ever since we were freshmen, and two years ago we went 0-9, so it’s just like a comeback,” said Preston Moriarity, a Ridgewood senior. “Man, I’m getting a little emotional. This is awesome.”
The Spartans credit the trust they have in the program for their success.
“Just the chemistry that we have with the coaches and the players. We work well together and we know what to say to each other and get us going before games,” said Ryle Catour, a Ridgewood senior. “I think that’s a big part of getting a lot of wins in this program.”
“We were cautiously optimistic going into the season. We had changed a few things up defensively, but I feel like we’ve grown there, and we had a lot to replace upfront offensively, and so our guys up front have done nothing but steadily improve as the season has gone on,” said Patrick Elder, Ridgewood’s head coach.
Throughout the program, there is a simple motto that spells B.A.G.T, which stands for ‘Be a good teammate.’
“As we were working towards, building towards things, at times when things get rough and you got to stay composed and compete, you need good teammates to help you get along there,” Elder said. “You know, I think that applies to football and life.”
Coach Elder said this year’s team is unique compared to past teams.
“They’ve done what they need to do when they need to do it. Last week we won in a manner that we had not had to win in two years, but they kept their composure, competed, and made enough plays to win,” Elder said
Both the players and coaching staff know they aren’t just playing for themselves.
“The support we’ve gotten from Alpha, Woodhull, and Cambridge has just been phenomenal,” Elder said. “The fact that we get to go represent those communities and hopefully do something positive for them means a lot to me, and I know it does to our kids.”
Ridgewood takes on undefeated Amboy on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. for the state championship. The game will be played at Monmouth College.
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