Wingfield sparks Ramapo’s come-from-behind OT victory against River Dell
A.J. Wingfield threw for 361 yards and five touchdowns as Ramapo defeated River Dell in overtime.
This was Ramapo Raiders (5-0) Head Coach Drew Gibbs’ postgame speech to his players on the football field of Ramapo High School, “Remember this for the rest of your lives. You never give up, you never quit, keep swinging and good things will happen.”
Gibbs said it would have been easy for his squad to fold after River Dell (4-1) running back Dave Fletcher scored with 6:45 remaining in the fourth quarter extending the Golden Hawks advantage to 35-20. Ramapo refused to do that sparked by the arm of quarterback A.J. Wingfield. It took just 1:22 for Wingfield to march the team down the field. The quick drive was capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Max Baker (11 receptions for 90 yards).
Burned by River Dell quarterback Jack Gillies all night (15 of 24, 215 yards four touchdowns), the Raiders defense got a critical defensive stop forcing a quick three and out. Starting with good field position at the 38-yard line, Wingfield quickly went to work through the air by finding a trio of receivers, including Isaiah Savitt for a 36-yard gain down to the River Dell two-yard line.
On second and goal at the six-yard line, Wingfield found a wide-open Anthony Sargenti in the right flat section of the end zone with 1:35 left. Attempting the two-point conversion, Wingfield heaved up the football with Savitt jumping high in the air to make the catch.
“A lot of mental toughness from our quarterback (A.J. Wingfield) tonight, he made some great plays, a couple of missed plays that he missed but mental toughness to keep slinging it back there. I couldn’t be more proud of him and the way he performed tonight,” said Gibbs.
“A good battle. They kept coming at us and our defense was doing its best to stop them but fortunately, we kept rolling and putting points on the board. We lost two senior wide receivers to injury this year, and tonight Isaiah Savitt stepped up and had a huge game. They were doubling Baker in the second half and most of the game. Tommy Pernetti and Luke Robinson ( 5 catches for 82 yards) did an outstanding job.”
Getting the ball back with 1:31 on the clock, River Dell did not sit on the ball, instead going on the offensive as Gillies completed a key four-yard pass on third down to wide receiver Jack Gillies. The connection worked again as Gillies and Racine hooked up for a 23-yard gain moving the ball into Ramapo territory. However, Savitt displayed his skills on defense as well intercepting a Gillies deep pass with six seconds left.
Wingfield worked his magic in overtime, wasting no time firing a 25-yard bullet down the middle to a wide-open Savitt putting Ramapo up for the first time in the contest to cap off a 29 of 43 for 361 yards and five-touchdown performance for Wingfield. Meanwhile, Savitt finished with five catches for 121 yards and tied a school record for the most touchdowns in a game with three.
“The most insane game I have ever played in. We knew we had to play all four quarters, actually five,” said A.J. Wingfield. “We started to get into a groove and kept going at them. Isaiah Savitt, he moved here from Ohio and is so happy he is here. He balled out and played the best game of his life. We had a good play call in OT. As a second-year player, I understand the game so much more and Coach (Gibbs) has done a great job with me. I’m doing a better job of finding guys and have some of the best receivers in the state and they showed it tonight.”
River Dell refused to throw in the white towel. Gillies found his favorite target in Racine for 13 yards advancing the ball down to the Raiders six-yard line. Gillies completed another pass to Fletcher, who was tackled just short of the goal line. With two opportunities to punch the ball into the end zone, Fletcher was denied twice by a smothering Ramapo defense. It included a fourth down stop that set off a jubilant victory celebration at midfield.
“Listen, we have played them eight times in the last four years, they are always great games and we have tremendous respect for their program,” Gibbs said. “They came out early after us, but our kids wouldn’t quit. That’s the key to success in football and a great lesson for our kids to have.”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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