Ridgewood Roundup

by Tom Akers correspondent

Titans Top Ridgewood

Entering into their final week, the Ridgewood Spartans played host to the Monmouth Roseville Titans in a Saturday matinee game on March 6th in Woodhull. The visitors had a hot hand from the opening moments jumping to a seven point 19-12 lead after the first quarter, building their lead to twelve at the half.

Monmouth Roseville continued to pull away from the Spartans in the second half to win by twenty one, 61 to 40. Kendall Lewis led the Spartans with thirteen points while Brecken Adamson added eight and Tatum Miller punched in six points for Ridgewood.

The Spartan fresh/soph didn’t fare much better against the Titans, trailing by ten at the half and losing by the final score 52 to 31. Mya Brown led Ridgewood with ten points, Carmen Stahl added nine points, and Heidi Leander put in eight points.

Ridgewood Knocks off Knoxville

Kendall Lewis and Brecken Adamson each had thirteen points to lead the Ridgewood Spartans over the visiting Knoxville Blue Bullets 52 to 47 on Monday, March 9th. Lewis was eleven for fourteen from the free throw line while Adamson dropped in eight of her points in the second half to lead Ridgewood to the non-conference win.

Knoxville took the early lead dropping shots from beyond the arc to pull ahead of the Spartans 19 to 11 after the first quarter. Ridgewood went on a run in the second eight minutes outscoring Knoxville 14 to 5 to take a one point lead into the half.

The Spartans kept Knoxville at bay in the third quarter upping their lead to three points and walked out of the gym with the five point win. Hannah Maher added nine points in the win while Lauren Anderson had eight points for the Spartans.

The fresh/soph fell behind by nineteen points after the opening quarter, losing by the final score 50 to 15. Kyra Messerly led Ridgewood with six points, Brynlee Wirt and Mya Brown had four and three points respectively.

Princeville Pulls Away in Fourth

The Ridgewood Spartans trailed the Princeville Lady Princes by just one point at the end of the third quarter in a non-conference contest on March 10th in Princeville. However, the Spartans were as cold as the Edwards River in January in the fourth quarter only scoring twice as Princeville pulled away in the final eight minutes to win 52 to 42.

Ridgewood trailed by six after the first quarter but outscored the home team 18 to 8 to take a four point lead into the half. Brecken Adamson had the hot hand for the Spartans putting in nine of her game high twenty points in the second quarter alone.

Princeville managed to surpass Ridgewood in the third quarter taking the narrowest of leads into the fourth quarter ahead 38 to 37. The fourth quarter saw the Lady Princes pull away on their way to the ten point win. Brooke Jackson had six points for Ridgewood and Mackenzie Brown and Lauren Anderson each had three points apiece.

Cambridge Vikings Close Out Season

The Cambridge Vikings closed out the final week of their season with a pair of home contests. On Monday, March 8th the Vikings hosted the United Red Storm. The seventh grade trailed at the half 29 to 4 and lost by the final score of 53 to 19. Gavin Franks had nine points, Karter Hays had five points, Blake Janson knocked in one from beyond the arc for three points, and Cameron Stiles added two points.

The eighth grade game was all Cambridge with the Vikings leading 14 to 5 at the half and pulled away to win by sixteen 31 to 15. Ashtin Staley led all scorers with eighteen, Owen Anderson added nine, and Lucas Harrell and Josh Uhlry each had two points in the win.

The Vikings closed out their season on Wednesday, March 10th with a pair of games against the ICS. The Vikings fell behind early in the seventh grade game trailing by thirteen at the half and falling to the visitors 48 to 15. Gavin Franks led the Vikings with ten points, Karter Hays had three points, and Hayden McCleary Larson added two points for Cambridge.

The eighth grade game saw the Vikings take a six point 20 to 14 lead at the half and winning their final junior high game by twelve 40 to 28. Six Vikings invaded the scoring column with Ashtin Staley leading Cambridge with twenty six points, Waylon Tucker had six, Owen Anderson three, Josh Uhlry and Rowdy Beam each added two points, and Lucas Harrell had a free throw for one point in the win.

Ridgewood Loses Battle of the Spartans

The Ridgewood Spartans travelled to Bushnell Prairie City in their final game of this shortened 2021 season. The BPC Spartans held off the Ridgewood Spartans to escape with a 42 to 41 point win Thursday, March 11th.

BPC came out quickly in the first eight minutes of the game outscoring Ridgewood 15 to 8 despite Kendall Lewis scoring four of her six points. Brecken Adamson and Hannah Maher led the Ridgewood counterattack in the second quarter, Adamson put in seven of her team high fourteen points and Maher added six of her nine points as the Ridgewood Spartans caught BPC and took a one point 24 to 23 point lead at the half.

The Ridgewood Spartans pulled away from BPC in the third quarter and led by five 34 to 29. However, the home team refused to go quietly into the starry Illinois evening, BPC came back in the fourth quarter outscoring Ridgewood 13 to 7 to win by the slightest of margins 42 to 41 to hand Ridgewood the loss.

As things should be the seniors led the charge for Ridgewood. In addition to Adamson and Lewis, four other seniors landed in the scoring column. Brooke Jackson had four points, Lauren Anderson had three, Sarya DeLeon-Harreld two, and Mackenzie Brown added one free throw for Ridgewood.

A Long Time Coming for Ridgewood

When the Ridgewood Spartans and the Stark County Rebels take the field on Saturday, March 20th at 1:00 at Stark County it will have been 503 days since the Spartans have played a down on a football field. The last down was played on a blustery Saturday afternoon on November 2nd when the Spartans ended their season in the first round of the 2019 playoffs in Morrisson, Illinois. It has been a very long journey.

Ridgewood, like all the other high school football teams in Illinois will play not one but two seasons in 2021, an abbreviated spring season of six games and all of us hope, a full season in the fall.

A lot of speculation, criticism, and blame can be shared however, all of us can take a collective moment before the opening kickoff and just be thankful that the graduating class of 2021 and the rest of the high school players in Illinois will get to play the game that makes Friday nights and Saturday afternoons so special.

The Spartans bring back a small but tremendously talented group of seniors who have a lot of experience on the field and have been working out for, well, 503 days. The Ridgewood offense will be anchored by a veteran line including Brant Casteel, Victor Snook, Jarrett Lund, and Payton Catour amongst others.

Head coach Bruce Redding will have a buffet of choices in the backfield starting with Colton Stahl at quarterback, Stahl who is replacing Logan Nodine who graduated brings a quickness to the position as well as his arm. The Spartans will feature both power and quickness. The power will come from DJ VanHouten who punishes defenses with his north south attack pounding attack. The speed will come from Stahl and potentially from junior Lucas Kessinger. When the Spartans take to the air Stahl will be looking to hit Kessinger who has one of the best pairs of hands in the LTC. A second option will be tight end Lucas Althaus who will be a challenge for defenses with his size and strength.

Defensively, the Spartans will be solid featuring the same group of players from the offensive side of the ball. Catour, VanHouten, Lund, and Snook will be a solid group of linebackers with Kessinger and Stahl providing deep protection. The defensive line will highlight Althaus who could dominate the battle at the line. Althaus, who is a walk on at the University of Illinois has been good at the defensive end position but this year with a lot of work in the off season should punish any runners who come his way.

The biggest challenge facing the Spartans will be something they have dealt with before, low numbers. A number of key players will be playing both sides of the ball with little breaks. However, this is something that Coach Redding and his staff have dealt with successfully in the past.

The Spartans will play on three separate days during the next six weeks. They open their season Saturday, March 20th at 1:00 at Stark County then turn around and host Mercer County on Friday March 26th. Due to the Easter Holiday the Spartans will take the field against Annawan Wethersfield on Thursday, April 1st at home. On April 9th, Ridgewood will travel to Ottawa to play Ottawa Marquette who is playing in the LTC this year. Friday, April 16th will be senior night for Ridgwood playing Mid County and the Spartans finish their season on April 23rd at United.

All home games will be at Goff Stahl Field and with the exception of the Saturday Stark County game which begins at 1:00 pm, all games will begin at 7:00 pm. The varsity games will also be available online, Spartan fans can watch the action by going to the Cambridge District website www.district227.org.