Ramapo caps perfect 13-0 season with 42-22 win over Summit in North Group 3 Bowl Game
Ramapo head football coach Drew Gibbs talked about the grind, fighting through, the schedule the team played from the get-go and playing great teams all year and in scrimmages.
After defeating River Dell last Sunday in the North 1, Group 3 sectional final for the eleventh title in program history, the Raiders set their sights on an even bigger prize, the first North Group 3 Bowl Championship Title against Summit (10-2) at MetLife Stadium and cementing an undefeated season.
Ramapo wasted no time taking the lead on the opening possession, marching down the field in 14 plays and 81 yards while chewing five minutes capped off by a six-yard scoring pass from AJ Wingfield to Ty Jaten. However, Summit answered back on their second drive with a 13-play drive including converting two fourth down conversions ending in running back Max Jackson barreling ahead for a two-yard touchdown with 58 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Jackson was not finished catching a two-point pass from quarterback Skyler Schulter.
In the second quarter, Wingfield was right on the money tossing a 41-yard touchdown strike in stride to wide receiver Matt Wingfield putting Ramapo back on top with less than 11 minutes left. The Hilltoppers managed to cool off the Raiders offense forcing a turnover on downs inside the Summit 20-yard line. Jackson and his running back tandem of Joe Lusardi picked up chunks of yardage advancing the ball to the Ramapo 37 only to see Sam Bosa pick off Schulter and return the ball to the Summit 29.
“Our coaches have done an amazing job calling plays all year and we have so many playmakers and we are getting them the ball,” said AJ Wingfield. “They tried to press man on us but we have so many good athletes. Even without Isaiah (Savitt) guys filled in and not many teams’ can guard our receivers and took advantage of it today.”
It just took four plays for Wingfield to cash in on the opportunity throwing his third touchdown of the game, hooking up with wide receiver Max Baker while back-pedaling off his foot making it 20-8 with 3:39 to go. The back and forth action continued as the Hilltoppers offense quickly moved the ball down the field on their ensuing possession with Jackson tallying his second score by breaking clear through the line and untouched into the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown run with 2:19 on the clock. Just when it seemed Summit had recaptured the momentum, Wingfield engineered an eight-play drive finding Baker for a second time on a 22-yarder with 37 seconds left.
“AJ is a senior and last chance to wear the green and white and was not going to not denied,” said Gibbs. “Max is a stud, nobody knew he had not practiced in a month because he has a broken bone in his foot. Great toughness and will and great team guy, there are a lot of great individual guys but as a team unstoppable.”
After forcing Summit to punt on the opening drive in the third quarter, the Raiders offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage allowing the running combination of Luke Ragone (18 carries for 99 yards) and Anthony Sargenti to find open lanes. Wingfield kept the drive alive gaining five yards on a fourth down and four at the Hilltoppers 14. On second and goal at the one, Ragone completed a 15-play, 66-yard drive that ate up almost six minutes of the clock twisting and turning into the end zone.
Surrendering 100 yards to Jackson in the first half, Ramapo’s defense hunkered down permitting him to rush for just 20 yards in the second. Despite Lusardi rushing for 138 yards, 63 of them came on one play. Wingfield capped off his stellar day completing 17 of 25 passes for 238 yards five touchdowns and senior year connecting with Baker (7 catches for 77 yards) for a third on a six-yard pass with less than seven minutes left in the contest. Not only doing it on offense, Bakers shined on defense intercepting two passes.
“We talked a lot about finish and being able to bring it the second half,” Gibbs said. “Our offensive line took over the ball game and made a couple of adjustments at halftime.”
Max Baker on the win, “On offense we have so many weapons and knew we had to come out and do our thing. On defense we knew if we stopped the run we could win the game and exactly what we did. We made a lot of big plays and AJ is the best quarterback in the state and best friend on and off the field and went out champions.”
Wingfield on finishing undefeated and winning the Bowl Championship, “Max and I have been talking about this for so long and to do it on the big stage and make history with him and my best friend.”
Gibbs on the team’s accomplishment, “First team to go 13-0, I couldn’t be more proud of these young men. The standard and bar at Ramapo is very high, we talk about Ramapo tradition all the time and each team writing it’s own page and this group of men are going to leave their mark on this tradition that is Ramapo football.”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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